Saturday, 7 January 2017

The day we went to space and still got home in time for tea

With the boys being at different stages of schooling Blue Bear went back to nursery a day earlier than Brown Bear went back to school. I decided that we could take advantage of this 'bonus day' and we went into London. I gave Brown Bear the choice of either going to the London Transport Museum (which he loves) or to the Science Museum in South Kensington. He opted for the latter as it's not one we go to often and I don't think he remembers when we've been before. 

The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V & A are all close together and are free, but they do suggest a donation amount. On this visit we found there were queues to get in as there are now desks where you go through security, make a donation and can buy a guide book or map. I guess the voluntary donation system didn't work so well and this is how they ensure better financial returns. The cloakroom is also chargeable with a per item cost and if you want to take part in some activities such as watching an imax movie you have to buy a ticket. Otherwise the general museum is still free - as it always was - and my boy really loved seeing the spacecraft and the suit that Helen Sharman wore. We also went ooh and aah at the transport exhibits such as Puffing Billy and Stephenson's Rocket. I was very conscious of the time so we went to the 3rd floor to explore some of the interactive exhibits. Brown Bear particularly enjoyed designing a space rover and testing it on tough terrain to see if it would survive on the lunar surface. It took quite a few tweaks to the design for it to work, but it was interesting to see how he learned from trying different shapes and wheel placement. 

Designing a space rover

I remember going to the Science Museum with my friend Neil years ago - before children - and we spent a whole day there and only managed to really explore one floor and maybe a bit of another. I was optimistic thinking we'd see much in only a few hours. Also, Hubbie works right next door so we had arranged to meet him for lunch and that was even more exciting for Brown Bear.  

I've always thought we're so lucky to live close to London and to have all the fantastic museums practically on our doorstep. Now that Brown Bear is older I can take him to the places that I've loved so much from my own childhood. As we walked back to the station we passed the ice rink in the grounds of the Natural History Museum and I reminded him that we went there a couple of years ago for a skating session and hot chococlate and he used a penguin to help him get round the rink. "I don't need one now Mummy, I can do it myself." I agreed with him. 

We passed a busker playing Get Lucky on the saxaphone and he said, "That's my song Mummy." I took his hand and said, "Yes it is." and thought how lucky I was to get this special extra day with my boy.