How do you entertain four boys under the age of ten for several hours without resorting to bribes, bodily function contests or sticking them in from of a screen? This was the question I had the pleasure of answering recently when school was out, my husband was working and I had four energetic boys on my hands. “Quick, kids. Get in the car we are going somewhere super fun!”… and just like that we were off to the South Florida Science Center in West Palm Beach. We were off to check out a dinosaur exhibit that is out of this world: Dinosaurs Around The World! (Our family received free admission into the South Florida Science Center, but the opinions are mine and my children’s.)
We had been to the South Florida Science Center recently for Jacob’s 9th birthday. He chose to spend the day at the museum to check out their STEM-related exhibits. However, on this day their exhibit was Dinosaurs Around the World, Passport to Pangea. (The exhibit is there until April 16, 2016.) It just so happens that in addition to being a LEGO-loving household, we are also home to four budding paleontologists. Imagine the kids’ surprise, excitement and squeals when we pulled up to the South Florida Science Center and were greeted by a GIANT dinosaur outside.
Jacob is the family’s ringleader when it comes to anything dinosaur-related, and his three younger brothers blindly follow his lead. He was our unofficial tour guide throughout the exhibit and it is my completely unbiased opinion (as his mother) that my kid knows A LOT about dinosaurs.
I am going to cut to the chase here. Warning! Spoiler alert: We LOVED the Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit at the South Florida Science Center. There, I said it! The kids wanted to rush through it because the excitement of seeing “what was around the next corner” was just too much for them. The impressive animatronics, lighting effects and realistic sound effects made the experience one for all the senses.
A sweet museum volunteer walked through the exhibit and shared trivia and dinosaur knowledge with the guests. She carried an extensive conversation with Jacob about the dinosaur’s close relationship with birds and their egg-laying/ protecting abilities. Watching the interaction between this woman and Jacob was so heart warming. She spent a considerable amount of time with us and she answered all the kids’ questions, which would have been a daunting task to me. However, I was thankful for the attention and education we all got.
Throughout the exhibit there are several opportunities to connect with the items on display through hands-on activities. The children were fully engrossed in the dinosaur experience. I noticed afterwards that so many of the educational and informative tidbits stuck with them long after. I firmly believe that this can be attributed to a successfully executed exhibit that ignites learning through sight, sound AND touch. They didn’t have anything that smelled like dinosaurs, but that’s probably just a good thing.
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The kids learned about the world of Pangea and what caused the different continents to develop. They learned how the various dinosaurs had adapted to their individual climates, geographic environments and the food available. This Educator Guide of the exhibit is a valuable resource for parents, teachers and homeschooling groups: click here for the guide.
Our kids loved every opportunity they had for hands-on learning. They touched real fossils and of course the dinosaur poop was a great hit, as expected. The various museum employees who were available throughout the exhibit were a great resource of information. When you plan your visit to the newly updated South Florida Science Center, remember to leave plenty of time to see the permanent exhibits they have on display. There is simply no way to rush through the Center, so carve out an entire morning or afternoon for innovative and educational fun for the whole family.
We are going back to see the South Florida Science Center’s Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit in a few weeks, when school is out again. The kids are excited and talk about their favorite dinosaurs and displays – and I look forward to scoring MAJOR mom-points for engaging them in activities that are as much fun as they are educational!
Don’t miss our four boys’ favorite dinosaur books and fun activities!