Friday, May 24, 2013

A Night at the Museum

Back in March, I posted about the awesome Cowboy Days program at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum. We all had so much fun, I got online the next day to see what other big programs they had coming up. When their May event popped up, I literally gasped.
C's second-favorite movie after Ghostbusters is Night at the Museum,  and here they were with a program of the same name, scheduled for the evening of the last day of school. I immediately knew I had his birthday present. Adding to the excitement, I decided we would stay in a hotel overnight, just us - S. got to stay in one with Daddy a while back, and he was a bit jealous. I didn't relish the idea of driving 2 hours home in the wee hours, myself. We even had a gift card for a restaurant he likes, so hotel and gas were the only expense (the museum was a whopping $3 for adults and FREE FOR KIDS!)
When I told him about it at his birthday party, he rolled his eyes back and planted himself on the carpet, face-first (In C-speak, that means he's happy). I'm glad I didn't tell him earlier, because he bugged me almost non-stop then about how much longer it would be! The day finally came, I picked him up after school, we grabbed Sonic drinks at the bottom of the mountain, and we were on our way.
Man, can that kid talk. I let him sit up front (still in booster seat), so I could hear him, and almost regretted that. How does the car make air conditioning? Can whales eat sharks? Can sharks eat whales? What makes a volcano explode? Why did that guy in that movie (which I haven't seen) do what he did? It is fun to have him by himself, but he didn't understand why I started laughing every fifth question. 
We checked into the hotel, and immediately ran into friends from our town. C. was fascinated with the in-room refrigerator and microwave, and disappointed we had nothing to put in them. After a thorough inspection, we went to eat - giant stack of pancakes for supper, why not? And we even had leftovers to put in the refrigerator! Quick stop back at the hotel, then on to the museum.
They did a fantastic job! A dozen or so employees were dressed in black, with "security guard" t-shirts and hats. They greeted us as "security trainees", and gave us badges that put us into groups:
While each group waited to be called up, there was a commentary of the movie, "Night at the Museum", showing on a huge screen. We checked that out, looked at some of the artwork, and visited the gift shop to buy little souvenirs for S. and L.
Finally, our turn for instructions!

Follow your checklist, and don't let anything in or out of the museum. We were then passed on through a security gate to this guard, who called us all "Hopscotch" and "Cupcake" (starting to sound familiar?) He repeated the above directions, and added that we would be given a key soon, and we absolutely must not lose it. he also showed us a picture of a street scene, and complained that the little girl playing checkers had escaped again.

The next security guard, Bob, gave us our key, and stressed again that we shouldn't lose it, then our training began.
This gentleman came to the museum with the old car. He spends his evening trying to fix it up, but the museum staff keeps draining the fluids out again! He offered to polish our key for us, but we wouldn't hand it over.

We found the checker-playing girl at mercantile. As you can see, she moves like a blur, so we couldn't quite catch her. She tried to get our key, too - she was hoping to pry open the jars of penny candy with it.

She had to settle for a game of checkers.

After a stop at the post office, we met this very enteraining gentleman at the chuck wagon. he complained about being put next to the sheep herders - they were nice enough, he said, but the little girls kept rearranging his wagon when he was out.

Could you believe that of these sweet faces? Good thing I wasn't holding the key, I would have handed it over to the little one without being asked.

He confided in us that he and the young man at the old car liked to get it cranked up and drive it around the museum at night. Sometimes they get into trouble for knocking things over. etting in a little trouble can get you sent to storage, which is bad enough, but if the museum folk get REALLY mad, you can be sent back to a department store - who wants to stand around and watch people shop all day?!

This is Lozen, an Apache warrior. She took an immediate shine to C., and was pleased to discover he is Apache, too.

This woman was so engaging, I could have listened to her all night. She portrayed Cathay Williams, a female buffalo soldier. I had never heard of her, and had to look her up the next day. Fascinating! She told the story so personally, it was hard to believe she wasn't making half of it up.

This couple made another attempt at our key, trying to convince us it would start their tractor.

And, here, we learned the difference between horses, donkeys, and mules.
There were several other stops - 14 in all, each very informative and interesting. Stops were just a few minutes long, moved along by a voice on the loudspeaker announcing, "The Museum is secure". We made it through with key intact, and after a notherlook around, headed back to the hotel. Well done, Farm and Ranch folks!
Back at the hotel, I handed the TV remote to C. We haven't had cable in years, and I was cracking up at how little he 'got' TV. He would spend ten minutes watching a Spanish soap opera, then ask, "Mom, can I skip this?" I am quite happy with this gap in his 'education'.
All in all, a fun trip, and a great way to spend time with my big 7yo:)

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