Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Noah's Ark at the Skirball

This week is Ray's long-planned vacation. We didn't think it was wise to spend the money to go out of town somewhere, so we had planned on staying home, eating out a lot, going to local attractions, spending time in the pool and going to the beach. We had not planned on having our floors ripped out and our furniture piled in a corner underneath drop cloths. Nevertheless, the flood gives us additional motivation to get out of the house so yesterday we took the kids to the new Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The exhibit is comprised of a practically life-size ark and all the animals you could imagine. What makes it phenomenal for kids, however, is that the entire exhibit is interactive. There are buttons they can push to create the storm and the ensuing flood. They can load the animals on the ark, two by two, of course. There are puzzles, lights, stories and all kinds of things for them to play with and discover. The animals have been created out of everyday objects, like our friend the hedgehog, above. There is a zebra with a piano mane, tire crocodiles, and a polar bear whose body is an overflowing bathtub. And much, much more.

Everything has been designed with kids' exploration in mind and you never have to say "Don't touch!" On the contrary, they are encouraged to touch, and peek, and poke, and play, and climb. That's right, climb! There is a climbing room where kids (and parents....and grandparents) can go up rope ladders to explore the ark and make the elephant move his trunk and trumpet. While it took Ethan 3 tries to finally muster up the courage to go all the way up the ladder (having come back down after climbing halfway up the first two times) there were other kids who were able to get up but then were scared to come down. Luckily, the gallery security guard is a good sport and climbed up to get each of the little ones who would otherwise have been stuck up there indefinitely. When the kids have had their fill of climbing and searching, there is a rainbow room where they can relax and color their own set of animal cards. The down time is great after the excitement of the ark.

Reservations are recommended, but we got in without one after a long wait, which we spent having lunch. If you go, you might consider bringing your own snacks because the snack bar pickings are a little slim (decent salads and sandwiches but nothing other than PB&J for the kids) and the snack bar doesn't take credit cards.

My older kids both expressed their delight at the exhibit and have already asked to go back. Brady was just excited to be out of his stroller with so many new things to explore. I was thrilled to find out that this exhibition is now permanent. We will definitely return with our kids and I look forward to showing out of town guests one of the newest things L.A. has to offer.


tannaz said...

how fun! your account, while slightly more coherent than your daughter's, is equally enthusiastic. i'm so excited that you guys had so much fun, and stoked that it's permament -- i wanna play too!

OneScrappyChick said...

how cool !!!!!

Anonymous said...

I've not heard of that, but it sounds fabu!


Tara O'Rourke said...

This sounds absolutely fantastic.....I wanna come let my kids play too

Jodi said...

That sounds like alot of fun and great for the kids!
Wished we had something liket aht around here.