Last week, I went with Peter on his first traditional school field trip. It was also my first traditional field trip as a parent chaperon. We went to the Bean Museum. Yeah, yeah, everybody (including me) makes the same jokes about that. It was not a museum showcasing the many varieties of beans that exist. It is, more officially, the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. And by “life science,” they seem to mean “dead animals.” At least, that’s primarily what the museum consists of. It’s kind of a glorified taxidermy display. That being said, we did spend a good chunk of our time in an auditorium learning about taxonomy. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and the presenter brought out a few live animals: a tarantula, a frog, and finally a python. The kids were allowed to pet the python on their way out of the auditorium. My little group of four kids was the first to exit the auditorium, so we got to pet the least germy version of the snake. Bonus.
After the presentation, we were allowed to roam the museum for 30–40 minutes. That was ample time for the modest-sized museum. Fortunately, there were a couple of things that kept the kids’ attention for several minutes and helped to pass the time. First, there was a fake tree that the kids could climb in and then slide out of. It was a baby-sized slide, but these 6– and 7-year-olds were all over it. Next up was a system of mock ant tunnels. There were no ants, but there were little magnetic tokens inside that could be moved around with little magnetic wands available to museum patrons. You could try your hand at maneuvering a token through the intricate tunnel system. The kids liked that quite a bit.
After the museum, the buses took us to Discovery Park in nearby Pleasant Grove. We ate lunch, and then the kids were allowed to play on the playground equipment. The playground resembled a fort built entirely of Lincoln Logs. There were some “secret passages” in and around the fort (as I’m calling it), and Peter loves that sort of thing. He really enjoyed himself. I listened to podcasts on my mp3 player for what seemed only a brief time before we were all called back to the bus. I had a hard time finding Peter, but eventually took my other three kids back to the bus, only to find that Peter was already there (as I had come to hope and expect). We then drove back to the school, arriving an hour before school would end. I gave Peter the choice of going home with me right then or sticking around with his class. He chose to go home. Good call.
I’ve taken some photos, which I’ll share here. You can tell Peter was enjoying himself because he adopts a pose of victorious jubilee in many of the photos. If you’re really interested in seeing more of the museum, you can do so at their website (linked above). There’s even a photo of the tree slide, if you’re particularly excited about that.
On the bus. Bean Museum, here we come!
My favorite display: a butterfly made out of real (but dead) butterflies.
At the park, a playful Peter peers in proximity to his peers.
A wider view of the park. You can still see Peter if you look closely.