Dh had to go to Durham for work and like last year, we tagged along. Unlike last year, we added another destination – Winston Salem to see his brother and wife. I like to keep the dc busy while on these trips so I planned our day and I also overpacked other activities like library books, books on cd, educational videos and the like to make the car ride more enjoyable for the adults. 🙂

While in Durham, we visited the Museum of Life and Science. We went to this museum last year but were a bit rushed so this time around the goal was spend all day and take our time. My mom accompanied us on this trip so we started off going to Wal-mart Supercenter (oh, how I wish there was one of these near me 😦 ). After purchases of lunch products and other items it was off to the museum.

If you are ever in Durham, you must check this place out. They have a butterfly conservatory that my dc have talked about for a year and they were quite excited to go back. We started off with a train ride and here is the princess next to the train.

Of course, we went to check out the insects which are in the building with the butterflies. Here is an African Horned beetle – he was huge!

For some reason, maybe it is just because he is 3 and a boy, ds was in his usual ornery mood.

Magic Wings – the butterfly house – is just great. Here is a beautiful butterfly that when he is in flight, his wings are a brilliant turquoise blue and a picture of one of the little birdies running around…this one bumped into my feet.
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The museum has added a small nature park that has bears, wolves, and lemurs.
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We were only able to get these pictures once the school groups went away as the kids were way to loud to encourage the animals to come close so I was so thankful that I was not on a schedule. 🙂

They are in the process of adding 2 more exhibits that look really cool. One is about wind and how it makes things moves and the other is on dinosaurs. Overall, we were totally pleased with our time there and the kids had a great time.

We journeyed to Winston-Salem and while dh played golf with his brother and SIL went to work we were left to our own devices. Based on some recommendations, we ventured to SciWorks. Once again, lunch was packed so we were ready for a visit that could last all day. Once again, the school children were present as it was raining in Winston-Salem but I can outlast them so I endured them until 1 p.m. and then just like magic they all vanished. I have nothing against school children, my issue is with the chaperones who think their job is something besides the children.

Anyhoo, SciWorks was a new experience for all of us but it was fun. A lot of different exhibits ranging from North Carolina wetlands, the human body, energy, sound, animals, and more. The princess took a picture with one of the stuffed animals, in this case a cheetah.

One of the most exciting places for the children (and my mom and I) was the folk toys area. There was a track set up where the kids had to exert energy by swivel action of the handlebars on these little carts and my dc took to it and had the track to themselves and I even got out there and was Jeff Gordon and won. 🙂 Other kids joined in and there were only a few crashes. The wooden toys really captivated my attention especially when I saw the joy the kids (mine and others) had from playing with them. The key to these toys is their simplicity. I took some pictures and I am actually toying with the idea of making some myself.
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We had a great time and it was hands-on school as we didn’t fit in much more *formal* schooling while we were away so next week should prove interesting.