Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shark Weekend Part 1: Nauticus

Last weekend was Elena's Daisy Troop trip to Nauticus! The Daisies were going to earn their "courageous and brave" petal, by facing their collective fear of sharks--by feeding them lunch! We had been preparing for this by watching old Shark Week videos. Elena's reaction: "I think if you are going to be in the water with sharks, you should be in that cage."

As with every trip to a new place, I try to plan ahead...where will we park? How will E get around? Will she get too tired? What is the terrain like? Nauticus has 5 handicap parking spaces, all of which get filled up. There is no parking lot...and I wasn't sure if Elena wanted to be in a stroller. I asked Nauticus if there was a shuttle, or a hotel nearby that might provide transportation. There was, and the Norfolk Sheraton is in walking distance to Nauticus--but not Elena walking distance. So, I decided to make a weekend of it. We would stay at the Sheraton and try to get a parking space, and if not, I'd drop off the family and walk to the museum to meet them.

When we arrive at the Sheraton, I was disappointed to find out that there was no parking lot--only valet, b/c the parking garage was two blocks away. So handicapped patrons have to pay extra to park, while able bodied peers do not? I was pissed off. (It wasn't on my bill when I checked out. Maybe that's a typical policy for those with HC plates/placards?)

We spent Friday eve with a friend of mine and his family. My girls learned all about Lightning McQueen and race cars (he has two boys). The evening was wonderful, big thanks to the O family!!

Saturday it was off to Nauticus. We got a h-cap spot outside, and since I had both E and Vivian, I took the sit n' stand. Good thing--the museum ended up being WAY to much walking for Elena, so she rode during the long parts.

Viv outside, doing her "smile face"


At the "Shark Workshop"--how they move, what their skin feels like, how big they are, and the big shark jaw!

E in the Shark Cage

How E measures up to a Great White Shark

Petting a horseshoe crab

The second big workshop was "Robotics". Basically, an overview of how submarines and other submersibles move around underwater. So, the challenge was for the Daisies (working in small groups) to create a submersible robot out of PVC pipe and three motors (taped to PVC pipe). Buoys were strapped to the structures so they would float on the surface.

Elena was EXCITED! Working in groups, problem-solving, and building together isn't easy for 5-7 year old girls. Immediately, the girls started assembling pieces individually (if they could reach some), without regard to the task at hand. With some open-ended prompting by myself and the other parents, the girls were able to work together. They shouted out ideas, construction plans, and how they expected their creation to move. I was VERY proud of E and her group! They were the only ones to have a more "freeform" shape. I think our group of girls had less input from adults/demo models, so this was entirely their creation. They were very excited that it floated, and each Daisy had the chance to drive it using the motor switches. Elena did a great job piloting her robot!

After that, some of the girls headed to the Labyrinth. It was in another building, and was a "hunt-or-Atlantis" themed maze, with legends, ocean conservation, mythology, and art throughout. It was really amazing, and the kids loved it. I only am showing a few pictures--of Elena moving around on her own (mostly running).

The Turtle Race Room

The Playground Room--E could navigate this whole structure (except the straight green slide, too fast)

Resting at the hotel--what a day!


Tracy said...

I tell you, you had WAY more patience for that boat building activity than I did. I gave my 5 minutes, pulled out my hair and walked away. Ok, I ran away.

Without a doubt though it was obvious you were in your element. I can't wait to see E's science fair projects when the day comes.

AZ Chapman said...

looks like fun