Norman's Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has three things that I look for in a good family outing—it has a high awesome factor (have you checked out Sauroposeidon proteles, the world's tallest dinosaur, whose 40-foot-long neck and skull peek into the museum's Great Hall? How about the dinovators, which take you to the museum's second floor to get eye-to-eye with a huge Apatosaurus?), it has something for the kids (a hands-on, interactive Discovery Room complete with fossil dig) and it's inexpensive (admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 and up, kids 5 and under are free!).
And did I mention how much there is to learn during your visit? The Hall of Ancient Life (a.k.a. the "cool dinosaur area" to my kids), the Hall of Natural Wonders (a.k.a. "cool crawl-through cave area") and the Hall of the People of Oklahoma (a.k.a. "cool canoe" area) are all packed full of ways to learn about Oklahoma's natural history—not to mention the mueum's year-round schedule of special exhibitions. And the current exhibition is one my dinosaur-crazy kids did not want to miss—Chinasaurs: Dinosaur Discoveries from China is on display through September 16.
Where to Go:
Huge and exotic dinosaurs from China are visiting to the museum's Fred and Enid Brown Special Exhibition Gallery in an impressive exhibit that also includes fossil dinosaur eggs, video presentations and information about these impressive skeletal displays. From the frightening Yangchuanosaurus, the 30-foot-long king of the Asian Jurrasic dinosaurs, to the little Jurassic Park movie star Velociraptor, a dozen rare dinosaurs are featured in this Mesozoic menagerie of mysterious dinosaurs. An added bonus for my family is that the exhibit is relatively small—it took us about 15 minutes to go through it—which is great for younger kids who enjoy the "wow" but don't have the attention spans for a more lengthy display.
What to Do:
At the museum's front desk, you can pick up a seven question scavenger hunt that asks fun and thought-provoking questions tied to the Chinasaurs exhibit and the museum's Discovery Room. Complete the scavenger hunt and present it to the Discovery Room staff for a fun prize!
While you are in the Discovery Room, be sure to check out the museum's FLIP Kits, full of themed books and crafts for kids of different ages. The FLIP Kits are part of the Family Literacy Involvement Program, a partnership between the Sam Noble Museum and the Pioneer Library System. You can select a Flip Kit that is appropriate for your child's age and interests, check it out to continue your learning experience at home and then return it to the Sam Noble Museum when you are finished. How easy is that?
The Discovery Room also offers Discovery Time every Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. These programs are geared for preschool and elementary-age children and include hands-on activities, stories, crafts and more. On Saturdays at 11:30am, stop by the Discovery Room for It's Feeding Time, where museum staff will share information about the care and feeding of local reptiles, amphibians and fish. All Discovery Room programs are free with museum admission.
How to Save:
Print MetroFamily's exlusive Kids Pass for a free child’s admission with purchase of an adult admission. Also, the museum offers free admission on the first Monday of every month, so that is a great time to visit all the great things this museum has to offer.
Whether your family loves dinosaurs, learning about our great state, or just the opportunity to tour a world-class museum, I hope the Sam Noble is a great outing for your family, too! For more information about the exhibit or the Sam Noble Museum, call 405-325-4712 or visit www.snomnh.ou.edu.
Look for another fun post from Sara next week!