Clare soon joined us on these regular excursions to the Natural History Museum. We were beyond excited when we found Smithsonian lab coats on sale at the the museum store. They immediately became dress up favorites (and can be seen in the first picture above). In fact, we still have the lab coats (six years later) and all the girls still use them. Our friend Nicole and I took Meg and Clare to the Natural History Museum to celebrate Meg's first day of preschool. When we moved to a new home, Nicole returned with the girls to the museum to distract them and give them a sense of the familiar during the move (the middle picture above is from that trip).
We have long dreamed of doing a sleepover at this second home of ours and we finally got our chance! You may recall that Meg and I participated in a Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum last year. You can read about that here. We thoroughly enjoyed that sleepover, but I am glad we saved the Natural History Museum sleepover for when Clare could join us.
The Smithsonian Sleepovers are coordinated by the Smithsonian Associates. They do a wonderful job. Each child is given a booklet that contains the various activities to be completed throughout the night. We also received a bag (to hold all the projects), a flashlight/pen and an awesome Indiana Jones-style foam hat.
Our night began in Ocean Hall, where we learned about bioluminescent fish--sea creatures that make their own light. "Bioluminescent" has become one of our favorite words to say and the girls later chose to sleep in the bioluminescent display area because they became so fond of these creatures. We were able to make our own bioluminescent animal using a small plastic water bottle. We filled the bottle with tissue paper, placed cute eye stickers on the bottle and then placed a light stick in the bottle.
The volunteers in the Egyptian section were wonderful about walking us through the various mummies (both human and animal) on display. We had been in this section many times in the past, but had missed so much. We were particularly fond of the mummified bull (pictured below). One of the great benefits of the sleepover activities is that they make you look carefully at the exhibits and see them in a new way.
After all this serious scientific hypothesizing, it was time to eat like a T-Rex. After choosing between a huge marshmallow and a few pretzels, we were challenged to make our arms short (like a T-Rex) and try to eat. This was not pretty (see below).
We set up our air mattresses in Ocean Hall. We had a beautiful view of Phoenix the Whale just above our heads. As you can tell from the smiles on their tired faces, the girls had a wonderful time. Clare cuddled with a stuffed bunny that she had once lost at the museum when she was 2 years old. She thought it was only appropriate that he return to the museum.