Friday, February 10, 2012

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Once, last year, I was asked where a good date place is in Ann Arbor. I didn't know, so I asked my coworkers and they all agreed on the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum located in an old firehouse on the edge of Kerry Town. Mostly aimed at kids, the four floors of the Hands-On actually have a lot to offer to keep everyone entertained. I could have spent many more hours here than we did. 

The first thing we found was a musical staircase, which lead to the first floor with a water thing that I could not find the point for, but I enjoyed splashing in it and sending little plastic boasts down the little waterfall. There was also a mostly full sized model house with cut-aways so you could see how a house is built, layer by layer. There were a few tables where you could design and decorate a house, which is probably where Kimmy would have camped out had she been with us.
After the house was a giant room with countless red foam blocks begging to be used to build something. I ended up making a red wall that almost cut the room in half. If you look at the picture, you can see my boyfriend Greg hiding behind the wall. 

After that, there were a few sciencey tricks, like the mini tornado that I am pretty sure every hands-on museum must have, and two mirrors set at a 90 degree angle so you can pose and make it look like you're floating. 

There is another section devoted to learning about the human body where you get to see how weak you really are and how little stamina and energy you have. In the same section is also a full-size ambulance that occasionally emits siren sounds. That got a little confusing because at times, a real ambulance would zoom by the window also emitting siren sounds. 

Near the back of the body exhibit was a bike next to a darkened glass case. Greg got on the bike and started peddling and suddenly the case lit up and there was a skeleton looking at him also on a bike and peddling with him. It was a little creepy. (So of course I took a picture.)

On the second floor I was supposed to learn how the internet worked, but I'm not sure I actually did, though I did learn how a traffic light functions, and that was fairly interesting. We also wandered through a Michigan Nature Room where I discovered what a deer sounds like (I had no idea they actually made noises), played around with magnets, and failed to get the giant bubble makers to actually make bubbles, though the children in the room had far better luck for some reason. (Magic child bubble powers?)

The third and fourth floors had light, optics, and media exhibits. It was sort of like starring in an 80s music video, so interesting, but a little eerie. 

In conclusion, yes, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is a good date spot in addition to being a fantastic place to bring kids! Hopefully in the next few months my brother and his family can come out and we can all go together.

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