Nature Sleepovers - Museum Memories for the win!

Kids in the Capital is pleased to welcome back Antonia Cetin to the blog. Antonia is an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern. She returns with a special post about the new Nature Sleepovers program offered by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

How do you spend quality time with family? Our family lives can easily become a race from one organized activity to another, a series of ticks on a list of things to do. We won’t remember the activities as much as the effort it took to get there. That’s why it’s so important to have family time to do simple ordinary things: reading together, playing a board game together, cooking, making a snowman, relaxing at home. Those are the times that will leave a lasting impression of what home feels like cozy, warm and comfortable.

We also want to create special memories that we can look back on as adventures or markers of special events. Those will be the instances we talk about as, “remember the time...” conversations.

The Canadian Museum of Nature now offers families a memorable evening that we can reminisce about with our kids: a sleepover with the dinosaurs!  

Gotta say when I suggested this activity to my family, I was surprised at the enthusiasm: WE GET TO SLEEP WITH THE DINOSAURS? And, that was just the co-parent! I was actually afraid that the program wouldn’t live up to our expectations because they were so high. However, there was nothing to worry about: the museum did not disappoint. The whole evening was so well organized everything went off without a hitch.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature

There were people welcoming us, guiding us, and even staying over in case we needed them during the night. We enjoyed a guided flashlight tour of the dinosaurs in the dark - who knew they were even more fascinating in the dark! We got to examine and hold some pretty cool insects including stick insects who walked across our hands. I drew the line at the huge cockroach, but you know, that’s just me. We also did scavenger hunts in the mammal area that got us moving around before we got a private viewing of a 3D movie about a night at the museum! So cool. By the way, when your name is Kaz, falling asleep in your sleeping bag with a view of the Kazmasaurus can’t be beat! And, when your name isn’t Kaz, it’s fun to look up and see the dinosaur watching over you as you drift off.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Dinosaurs

The whole experience was amazing and super well orchestrated by the friendly and informative staff. They really had everything covered - even snack time and breakfast. And, thank goodness for coffee in the morning at the museum because when the museum doors opened to the public, we had time to explore on our own.  

When I asked my family members how they enjoyed the visit, they each had a special memory to share. And, then they asked if we could do it again next month! Memorable moment success! Thanks Canadian Museum of Nature.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Sleeping with Dinosaurs

Check out the Canadian Museum of Nature website for other memorable experiences including their sleepovers, themed birthdays and special events such as Butterflies in Flight and Survival of the Slowest. If you’re looking for an adult getaway activity, they have Nature Nocturne (a night of science and dancing), Nature tastes (cider and whiskey) and an Escape room. Go and create some great memories!

The New Canada Science and Technology Museum

After three years the Canada Science and Technology Museum reopened its doors in November offering new exhibits and an updated look. If you’re wondering what you can expect from the newly built museum and how to make the most out of your visit there, here’s what we noticed on our recent visit:

What’s familiar

The Crazy Kitchen

The Crazy Kitchen is back and looks just like it did prior to the museum having to shut its doors. It’s located toward the back of the museum and still has a computer screen where you can watch visitors challenged by the entertaining illusion that is the Crazy Kitchen. The kids still love it as much as they always did too!

The Trains

Trains - Canada Science and Technology Museum

The steam locomotives are back in the museum’s new “Steam: A World in Motion” gallery. Visitors can still walk through them and sit in one of them. The sheer massive sizes of the locomotives will make young children stare in awe, and will be difficult to keep the older kids from climbing on.

The layout

If you recall how the original museum was laid out, the new Canada Science and Technology Museum is laid out in a similar manner with the admission desk at the very front, bathrooms to the left and the gift shop to the right – with a wide open entrance to the museum exhibits. There is also a café, but there is ample seating around the museum, which makes snack time with little ones easy.

Canada Science and Technology Museum

What’s new

The new LED canopy entrance to the museum is eye-catching and is a great way to get ready for the museum’s many new science and technology exhibits. Parking is in the same location as it always was, but there is also a secondary parking lot up by the lighthouse (and the museum was busy enough on the day we were there that both lots were very full!) These are just a few of the highlights:

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Zooom: Zooom is a hands-on area where children, ages 0-8, can create, imagine, test and play with technology. It’s an immersive space that is a popular spot for kids! They can put together puzzles, climb the rock wall, or build a race car and then test it out on different tracks. This is a great place to sit and let the kids explore and play once they've gotten tired (just my kids?) of the more traditional exhibits.

Wearable Tech: This area reminds me of just how much technology has changed, even in the three years since the museum was last opened. The Wearable Tech gallery displays innovative technologies for the body – and not just for human beings!

Sound by Design at the Canada Science and Technology Museum

Sound by Design: This is an interactive experience that invites visitors to take a spin as DJ on an oversized turntable and dance to motion-activated sound. It’s a fun hands-on area visitors of any age will enjoy! There is also a Quiet Cube, which explores the sound of silence – a great place to visit on busy days at the museum ;)

Artifacts: Everywhere you look (up, down and all around) you will find historical artefacts. From bicycles to telephones, to printing presses and more; you may find yourself asking, “What is that?” more than once during your visit to the museum. You may also find yourself pointing out all the things in the museum your kids have never seen, but that you had when you were young. Thanks for dating us museum!

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Video game special exhibit: This is one of the reasons we need to make it back to the museum SOON - it was so busy that the kids weren't able to play all the of the "old-timey" video games (the lines were SO long to try Space Invaders and the original Donkey Kong, and no amount of promises that they could play them at home would convince them they weren't worth waiting in line for ;) 

What’s gone

We noticed that the fibre optic tunnel with slides is gone, as is the space exhibit with the Canada Arm. The museum is more focused on science and technology now than it previously was – as evident by the large displays of how appliances, gadgets, and technology have changed, developed and improved over the years.

What you need to know

Artefacts - Canada Science and Technology Museum

Admission is $17 per adult and $11 a child BUT it’s $43 for family admission – and that covers two adults and 4 kids – handy if you’re two friends visiting with your kids.

Parking is now $3 an hour or $8 for the day, but there is a flat rate $5 parking lot next to the lighthouse.

There is a coat room, which is handy for those bulky winter coats as well as a cafe and lounge area.

There are many new hands-on activities, interactive experiences and interesting facts at the new Canada Science and Technology Museum. The museum is a great place to educate kids on how far technology has come and how modern gadgets and technologies shape many aspects of our lives – including in the great outdoors! There is so much for visitors (of all ages) to see and do that you will need more than just a couple of hours to do it all!

We've definitely missed having this museum open and are excited to have it back - we're probably going to be buying a membership this year in fact.

Have you been to the newly reopened Canada Science and Technology Museum? If so, leave us a comment with your favourite exhibits and must-do activities!

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Minecraft Workshops at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Minecraft Workshops!

My eight year old loves Minecraft - can't get enough of it!  So when a friend told me that the Canada Aviation and Space Museum was having 3 hour Minecraft workshops in March, I signed him right up for one on Sunday morning.

As expected, he had a blast.  I sat down with him to get him to tell me a bit about the workshop from his point of view. Here's what we came up with together:

If you like Minecraft you should go to this workshop because you can work together with other people to build one big rocket ship. You go mining to get material and climb mountains to get quartz. 

The teachers will take a picture of the rocket ship with the players on it and they will put it on Facebook to compare other people’s rocket ships from when they did the workshop. (note from Lara: I went to their Facebook page and didn't see this but maybe they're coming. UPDATE:  here they are!

It was fun to play with other players to build something.  It’s fun to see other people’s ideas and build something giant together to make something really creative, more creative than I could make alone. 

You can also make your own Golems which protect you.  Most of the kids at the workshop were great but some can be destructive and might destroy some of your work on the rocket and kill your Golems.  That part isn’t as fun.

I think this is a good workshop for anyone who likes Minecraft.  

Check out their web site - I know my son would be happy to attend again any time!

Here's a promo video from their web site if you want to see a bit more of what the workshop is like.