Monday, 3 February 2014

The Ontario Science Centre

            "LOOK WITH YOUR EYES, NOT WITH YOUR HANDS!"  These are the words I say so often when I have my kids out, that even I hate hearing myself say them.   The problem is that kids love to touch.  Touching and manipulating things helps their brains to learn.  That's all well and good, but not a great idea at a museum... ordinarily.  At the Ontario Science Centre, kids are encouraged to touch everything... what a novel idea.

    Over the last couple of years, Christopher and I have been trying to give the kids experiences more so than "things" for Christmas.  If I think back to my childhood there may be one or two gifts that I recall receiving, but I recall events.  With that thought in mind Christopher suggested a family membership to the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto as a family gift.  The price was right and so I thought it was a great idea, the gift that keeps on giving, because membership allowed us as many visits as we wanted.

    It turns out that membership is really the smart way to go.  Our family membership cost us $130.00.  That entitled us to as many visits as we desired to take to the science centre.  It got us half price parking and half price Imax movies.  It also entitled us to 20% off of the restaurants and stores.  Not too shabby, most especially when you begin to do the math.
    The PA day in January we took the kids to the Science Centre.  They were buzzing with excitement.   Our entire day, not including our lunch cost us $36.00, not including our membership.  If you include our $130.00 membership, our day cost $166.00.  To break that down it's ....
$130.00 membership
$5.00 parking (try finding $5.00 parking anywhere else in Toronto)
$13.00 for Christopher and I both to see the Imax movie
$18.00 for all four kids to see the Imax movie.

That was a one time cost.  Every other time it will just cost us $36.00.

  Here is what our day would have cost without the membership...
Adult Admission (18-64) $22.00 just admission, $13.00 for Imax , $28.00 for a combined admission
Youth (13 - 17)                $16.00 just admission, $ 9.00 for Imax ,  $22.00 for a combined admission
Child (3 - 12)                   $13.00 just admission, $ 9.00 for Imax ,   $19.00 for a combined admission
Parking $10.00

That is what it will cost every time.

See what I mean?

    The very first thing that we did upon entering the building was to look at the Imax movie selections and their times.  We did not want to miss an opportunity to see a movie.  It was good that we decided to do it this way, because otherwise we would not have been able to watch "Flight of the Butterfly".  It was an amazing look at the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly and it's unthinkable migration pattern.  As we were exiting the theatre, Riley asked if we could plant a butterfly garden this summer.  The funny thing was that I was going to ask the kids what they thought of the idea.

    The next order of business was to see the newest children's exhibit "Sesame Street Presents: The Human Body".  The big kids loved it even more than Elly.  It showed the human body in a really neat, kid friendly way.  My guys especially enjoyed the "Poop" songs.

    It was a great hands on way for the kids to learn about their bodies.  Being the nerd that I am, when we got to the heart, I showed Riley where her Pulmonary Stenosis is. She just rolled her eyes at me as I used my finger to mimic the flap of tissue that sits in her pulmonary valve.

    Not to disappoint Grace I also showed her on the skeleton what bones that she had broken in her feet and leg... this time instead of the eye roll, I got a head shake.

    I really liked the race course that they had set up.  It raced a child walking, biking and in a wheel chair.  What I especially liked about this was how it taught children to be inclusive.  All of my kids walked away from the wheelchair stating that "it was harder than it looked".  Without knowing that they had learned anything, they had learned first hand how difficult it can be to have a disability (walk a mile in their shoes, or more accurately Wheel a mile in their chair).

    After we had our fill of the Sesame Street exhibit, we wandered over to The Human Edge.  There was so much to see and touch and do, that we didn't even scratch the surface.  It really was fascinating.

Grace got to give an ultrasound to a pregnant display

    We were unable to look at the full exhibit because the Science Centre is only open from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. week days.  We had not arrived until 12:00 p.m.  The kids really wanted to visit the Science Arcade, and so we had to leave the Human Edge.

    The first thing that the kids saw in this new area was the "Touch a Tornado" exhibit.   They LOVED it.  Each one fought to touch the mini tornado.

    Before we knew it, there was an announcement over the PA system, telling us that the Science Centre was closing in 15 minutes, could we please make our way to the exit.  This was met with a chorus of disappointed "awwww but we were just having fun!"  We had barely scratched the surface with all of the exhibits.  As we walked to the car with sad little children they all begged to come back to the Science Centre.  It was nice to be able to tell them that we can come back as many times as we would like to.  

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