Sunday, June 10, 2012

Australian Museum

 For our fourth excursioner Sunday family outing we chose to visit the Australian Museum in the CBD for a total of $40 ($24 museum + $6 ferry ride + $10 lunch). We took the Mosman ferry to Circular Quay followed by a short train ride.  The Sea Shepherd was parked just in front of the Quay restaurant in full camouflage offering free tours. We hopped off the train at the Queen Victoria building since I had yet to see the lavish interior. It reminded me a lot of the GUM shopping plaza in Russia's Red Square. The high end retail boasted Aboriginal galleries, high heel Uggs, and two hanging clocks. We happened to walk by the one above just as the hourly show began. We stepped outside to hear the nearby church bells ringing at St. Mary's Cathedral and continued on to the museum.

The Australian Museum is the equivalent of The Museum of Natural History in NYC with with a few differences. We started at the top and made our way to the bottom. Much of the museums exhibits are designed for child interaction, and indeed they were the most crowded. Paul really enjoyed the fact that the taxidermy animals in the Kids Space were available for up close inspection and petting. Who doesn't love cuddling up to a wombat? In fact there were drawers full of insect specimens, shells, stuffed wings, beaks, claws, jarred ocean oddities, all available for you to touch and handle. From the perspective, the AM felt much more intimate than the AMNH with less display cases and more interaction. There was kids research section (aside from research floor below us dedicated to members) with computers, videos, and volumes of books covering all sciences. Ana entered a butterfly in the insect drawing competition and we departed for the floor below us.

This level covered Australian geology and various skeletons on display. Ana hopped on a bicycle showing a human skeleton also riding a bicycle (video below). The rare minerals and meteorites collection gave me childhood flashbacks to fifth grade. My rock collection had swelled to three drawers cuing my mother to enrolled me into an after school geology class. Here you could polish your own stones and of course buy an assortment from the store it was held in. None of them compared to the ones on the museum display case, and I dreamed of having a 3d wall poster replica of the display for Ana's room. Ok, maybe for my room.

Our final stop was the Surviving Australia and Dinosaur exhibit for Nolan. Here I learned of the 120,000 annual deaths in Australia, on average less than 5 are from crocks, snakes, and sharks. The adjacent display of course read that 20 of the 25 most poisonous snakes live in Australia, but hopefully you didn't skip the previous display case. The extinct Thylacine and marsupial lion each had display cases, making them the last of the large predators in Australia. It was explained to me early on from one of Ana's former school teachers that the wildlife in Australia is friendly for lack of large predators on the entire continent. That didn't sit well with me as I passed the large crocodile and shark jaw display. Nolan didn't seem to mind! The shot above reminds me of red ridding hood t-rex style: "Come a little closer my dear, I am deaf in one ear."

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