We visited the Creepy Crawly section first. This is a life-sixed model of a spider crab. I would not like to meet one of these!There were volunteer explainers with specimens we were allowed to handle. My daughter was fascinated by the silky cocoon of a Hawk Moth, my son by the scorpions. Me, I loved the story that it is possible to put a sea sponge in a blender, blend it to a mush and pour it out and it will reassemble itself! Even better, if you do this to two sea sponges, they will sort themselves out of the mush and become two individual sea sponges again! (I'm sure this was discovered doing very important and worthy research.) I thought this was awesome!We spent quite a bit of time watching the leaf-cutter ant colony. An overly optimistic ant had taken a very large leaf along the specially built bridge, got stuck and nearly lost it over the edge. As we watched, a group of about six or seven ants joined in the effort to haul this massive leaf back to safety. The leaf had a sharp corner which had got stuck on the branch that made the bridge and they were unable to right it. Instead, they turned their attention to dragging it along. Finally, one of them got the bright idea to use his leaf-cutting skills to cut a bit off the leaf and he hot-footeded it back to the nest. The others struggled on and when we checked on them after lunch they were still engaged in the heroic effort to get this leaf back to the hive. Hats off for persisitence but I couldn't help wondering how much more leaf matter they could have transported in that time if they had been willing to let it go!
My daughter was very keen to do the "Bookasaurus again", for the third time. It is a textile book with velcro sticky bits to arrange in response to various exhibits, perfect for pre-readers. She thoroughly enjoyed it.
We visited the Earth Galleries and saw the precious stones and minerals and paid an obligatory visit to the dinosaurs and the life-sized moving model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
I wrote most of this post last night but I couldn't come up with a witty one-liner to end with. When the best I could think of was, "a good time was had by all," I knew it was time to switch off and head for bed. The truth is I was witch-mother all day. I was in the world's foulest mood and I personally met all those Home Ed Critics' arguments that my children won't learn how to handle bullying if they don't go to school and I knew I had lost it when I queue-jumped some nursery school girls in the Ladies because they were dithering!