We celebrated Earth Day at the Museum of Nature, as they were offering free admission! Next month the renovations will be complete and many new exhibits are coming online, so I wanted to go one last time before everything changes. The museum is still extremely inaccessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Apparently this is not going to change in the near future. Maybe next year, said one security guard. I get that the renovations were pretty involved with wiring and plumbing and other behind the wall items but it's a bit disgraceful that wheelchair users will still need help to open the doors to the washrooms after millions of dollars and more than five years. Speaking of security guards, I felt they were creepily attentive on this visit. One guy even repeatedly walked in and out of the nursing area. I think they were probably just bored but it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
Elizabeth actually already visited this museum this year with her Auntie Janice, but it's been just under a year since I last visited. I was surprised by how little has changed in that time. The bird sanctuary play area has more plastic containers to play with, but the stethoscopes have disappeared, as has the exhibit that compared your weight to that of a hummingbird or a turkey. The mammal dress-up area is down to two and a half costumes. There's a new special exhibit about Canada's native plants.
We spent ages playing in the bird sanctuary area, but eventually I got tired of rescuing Elizabeth from the clutches of other kids. Many were determined to snatch anything she picked up as they felt that Elizabeth was not rescuing the birds correctly. Elizabeth was happily pouring air from jug to plastic bowl, then taking eggs out of the incubator, putting them into the bowl and stirring vigourously, so they may have had a point.
The parents were annoying too. "Watch out for the little boy, he's just a baby dear" called one mom after a particularly aggressive eight year old nearly crushed Elizabeth's fingers in the rescue carrier. Another mom told her daughter to kiss the frog on Elizabeth's shirt. "Then he might turn into your prince." So we moved on to a less crowded area of the museum.
In the mammal area, Elizabeth was still frightened of the fake ice and polar bear exhibit, but this time she was happy to pet the polar bear fur. She liked dressing up and playing with the puppets. She liked scanning food for the growling bear. The special exhibit was great too with a lot of little doors asking questions that you could open to see the answer on the other side. Elizabeth really loved opening and closing these, and sliding the Canadian flag up and down to see what it would have looked like if we'd chosen a different native plant as the central symbol. I took a picture of the one that asked us to identify the type of maple leaf found on our pennies. Can you figure it out?