Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's "Snow" Much Fun to Learn

The snow outside may have melted, but our Backpack Explorers (ages three and four) are learning about it and even making some in this special program that happens again tomorrow (Friday) at 10 a.m.

In a hands-on way of discovering how things freeze, our intrepid explorers made ice cream with baggies filled with ingredients inside a larger baggie filled with ice. In this photo, Nicolas Oncken, 4, of Sisters, tossed his ice-cream "snowball" to his mom, Akiko Oncken.

Parents and grandparents join their preschoolers in doing do fun, educational activities such as this with new themes on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Upcoming themes are:
February 3-4
The Bone Zone
Almost everybody has bones. Birds, bears,
and bobcats do. What about you? Let’s
look at the different types of bones and
why our bones are important.
February 10-11
The Call of the Wild
Animals use many different sounds to talk to each
other. Let’s listen to the call of the wild and discover
animal sounds together. Bring your howl!
member opening
February 17-18
Chinese Lantern Festival
It’s Chinese New Year. Let’s celebrate with lanterns, a
dragon parade, and other fun activities.
February 24-25
Biscuits n’ Butter
Let’s make old-time butter and biscuits and visit the
1880 Homestead cabin with its warm stove and
friendly pioneers.

The Museum created this program because play is a an important factor in learning at this age. Backpack Explorers gives children the opportunity to play while learning about nature, science, culture and themselves.

Program fee: Members, $10; Non-Members, $15 plus accompanying adult admission.

Friday, January 21, 2011

When Free Day is More Than Just That

Tomorrow’s admission-free day, Mid Oregon Credit Union Free Family Saturday, is much more than people getting something (something great, that is) for nothing. Many will discover that this Museum is alive and filled with fun, even though they are learning so much. Getting close to live, wild animals, meeting homesteaders from the 1880s High Desert frontier (portrayed) live, and learning all about the region’s cultural and natural history packs a big, lifelong-learning punch.

This Museum continually proves wrong the notion that Museums are dead and boring. Our members tell us that their children grew up to become museum-goers because their earliest impressions of museums were formed here.

For others, tomorrow’s free day is a chance to do something they otherwise couldn’t afford. We hear from families that our family membership of $75 for unlimited annual admission is the best value around. Yet when about 4,000 people arrive for each free day, it suggests that for some, admission is an issue, especially if they don’t live close enough to visit weekly or monthly.

And, it is Mid Oregon Credit Union’s generous support that helps make possible this free day and the one on Feb. 26. This organization clearly agrees that everyone should be able to share in the Museum’s singular experience.

One important note: please take our free shuttles to avoid parking lot traffic snarls. Go directly to Morning Star Christian School at 19741 Baker Road, just off Highway 97 at the Baker Road exit. Free van service is available from the school courtesy of the Museum and Wanderlust Tours throughout Museum hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both free days. Once the Museum lot is full, bottlenecks occur. And remember, parking on Highway 97 is illegal.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Attracts Butterflies?

Butterflies are drawn to people in our live Butterflies exhibit. We can't be certain why they might land on a particular person, but entomologist Dr. Ralph Berry knows all about why local plants attract butterflies. Tomorrow at 2 pm, he'll explain why butterflies depend on aspen, willows, juniper and other plants for survival.

Dr. Berry (he'll probably let you call him Ralph) led summer nature walks here and collected specimens of these host plants that influence the biology of butterflies and moths. He's had snowbrush, rabbitbrush, ponderosa pine and other plant specimens in a refrigerator here so he can use them during his talk tomorrow.

"I have to see what condition they are in," he said.

We hope no one mistook them for a snack.

He'll also have his collection of butterflies for reference. Dr. Berry, a professor emeritus in entomology at Oregon State University is also the co-creator of our live Butterflies exhibit. After talking with him, you can explore the exhibit and see if one of our vibrant Peleides blue morpho butterflies chooses to land on you, just as one did on one of our Museum staff recently.

January 8: High Desert Perspectives: Butterflies and Moths of the High Desert at the High Desert Museum, 2 pm