Friday, March 3, 2017

A look back at Tampa

Well - life happens, for sure!   In an effort to actually try to keep up with what we've done our first year of homeschooling - I'm going to try to catch up a bit.

Way back at the beginning of October, we took advantage of our flexible schedule and decided to tag along with Tom to a conference he had in Tampa FL.

Poor Tom had to actually work.... so we girls were left to explore on our own!
First up MOSI - The Museum of Science and Industry.  Oh my goodness.... this was so fun and interesting.  ****IF you have a membership to Tellus you can get in for free with the ASTC reciprocal deal!  Totally worth it!  (for just the 3 of us it would've been $70 without our ASTC membership)

 The girls learned all about the body and how our senses work.

We got to sit in on a lesson on electricity!

And one of the most fun things... we got to explore weather!   This is us in the "hurricane tube."  It simulates winds up to 80 mph.  Gracious!

After the hurricane force winds, the girls made a few earthquakes.

Another really cool feature of MOSI is that they have students from local universities come in and set up and lead experiments for the kids.  The day we were there, they were making rockets and learning about what makes a rocket fly straight, and how it's propelled.  For the experiment, they created paper rockets and then put them on launchers.  They had to pump up the pressure and then hit the button to fire it.  If they didn't pump enough the rocket didn't fly.  It was fun watching the trail and error.  Luckily we were the ONLY ONES IN THE LAB so we spent lots of time trying to modify rockets to hit the target.


Megan loved trying to figure out how to get the robots to work in the children's exploration side of the museum.  It's hard to call it a museum, because really - its an amazing science center.

 Nicole was challenged to the maze!

And then the palentologists met up with some dinos.
 It's not a clear picture - but on the srcreen, you are projected and there are dinosaurs with you.
 In the picture above, see that door..... that's the entrance to the space lab! You are in a game where you have to figure out what's wrong on the space lab.  Neat simulator!
 Then a little building....
 And on the way out they have a "life like cadaver".... it wasn't real - but it felt real.  You can see Megan's face when the guy asked if she wanted to touch something.  It was cool and gross all at the same time.
 Our final goodbye to MOSI was with the roller coaster simulator!  I could watch the girls on the screen outside the simulator and could not stop laughing at their faces.  I thought they'd get off and tell me how horrible it was... but no, they loved it!

 Back at our hotel - we did have to finish up some school work.  It was a working trip after all.  :)

We loved being on the bay - and our awesome view!
 Especially when the conference planners shot off fireworks!  It was a great way to end our first full day in Tampa!

Day 2..... The Florida Aquarium
Since we were staying local, we decided to spend the day using the trolley!

 We got there in time to see the penguin waddle!

We had fun interacting with the divers. 

 And the touch tanks.... oh my goodness - we could've spent all day at the various touch tanks!

We stayed for the penguin lecture - they let us get up close and personal.

 Who knew they had lemurs at the Florida Aquarium????

 And that was just inside..... once you go outside - there is a whole other world of fun - of the wet variety!  Thankfully I'd done my research and I was ready for "The Splash Pad!"

And at the end of each day - The girls would gaze out the window waiting for a glimpse of their Dad coming across the bridge from the conference center!
Day 3 - We spent the day at the Glazer Children's Museum.  OH YES - another place we got in for free because of ASTC reciprocal members (Thanks Tellus).
They have a very interesting play structure.  It sort of game me heart palpitations. I realize it's safe since its surrounded by netting, but it is suspended from the ceiling so the fear of heights in me was on overdrive.  Let's say that Nicole takes after here mom in this area - she didn't find it as amusing as Megan did.

 What's interesting is that although you might not be able to visualize it - it's actually a play ground that acts out the water cycle.  Creative!
 Lots of STEM activities - lego challenges included.
 How to build the best aerodynamic airplane!
 Using your bodies to play games!

 Some driving simulation in a firetruck!  They did make it to the fire and put it out!
 Nicole, of course, was drawn to the imaginative play area - like the vet center.
 Megan just wanted to dance!

 The girls loved the giant water play area - where they had to build, then navigate a series of locks - and/or current changes with a toy boat.  I can attest that it was much harder than it looked.

 We were there for them stem afternoon - so the girls learned about coding! The kids coding programs, Scratch Jr and Scratch, were big hits. 

Before we left - my girls made several new friends in the theater.

 We actually closed the place down!  Then end their day with a musical parade.  Nice way to get the kids out.

 Day 4 - Tom's last day of his conference... and our last day of girl's exploration.  When in FL, can you have a trip and not go to the beach?????

 After some beach time - we had to still take advantage of the pool at the hotel.
 And finally..... The work part of the trip is over!
Next up - the family adventures in Tampa!

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