Friday, February 17, 2012

Henry Ford Museum

This year is a non-adoption year for us (we think! ;) so Eric doesn't have to save up the 6 weeks of vacation he gets. Which means more family fun days!

So, last Friday, Eric took the day off and we all went out to the Henry Ford Museum! We thought our train and car loving son would enjoy seeing the real life trains and cars, and they would all enjoy the big open spaces to run around.

The night before, I packed lunches for everyone. My dream is to someday be an awesome, adorable bento maker. Not that I'll ever be this good, but I can dream!

Anyway... in the morning, we headed out! We knew we would get a membership, because adult tickets plus parking are kind of high. And the membership covers the museum and Greenfield Village in the spring/summer. They're all still a little young to appreciate the history of it all, but there are cars and trains and Greenfield Village has a real train you can ride (for a little extra money). We're pretty excited! When we were signing up for the membership, the woman asked what kind of membership we wanted, and I said "just a regular family membership, unless there are other options." She asked how old the kids are and it turns out kids get in free until their 5th birthday! Since Jebriel won't be 5 until the end of September, we ended up going with the membership for one adult plus a guest. That way Eric can be the guest if he takes a day off, or I can bring a friend who also has kids under 5 and we can all get in free. And it's a way cheaper membership, I was so glad she brought it up! When he turns 5, we can pay the extra to upgrade, but probably won't do that until we need to, if Eric has a day off and we all want to go.

We headed right for the cars first, and had only been in the museum for about 5 minutes when I heard Eric call my name. I turned around and saw this:

That's right, Vivi saw a gap in the gate, stuck her head in, and couldn't get it back out. And yes, I took a picture before I tried to get her out ;) We attracted a small crowd as we twisted and turned her to get her out. I climbed over the gate and we eventually pulled her all the way through because her head was not going back the way it came. Good thing she has a skinny body! Impressively, she didn't panic, probably in part because Eric and I were cracking up.

After we got her out, we decided to find a different exhibit with less fencing. He really liked climbing on the trains, until he saw out the engine window a giant miniature train display with a bunch of different trains going around the track. He was mesmerized! We watched that for a loong time, and then they had a hands-on area that they had up around Christmas but it was so popular, they hadn't taken it down yet. It had train tables and legos with wheels so you could build your own trains.

Now that we have both genders of children, we really get to see the difference between boys and girls. Here you'll see that Journey made a lego baby, and was rocking it and carrying it around:

Vivi used a piece with wheels to make a baby stroller, and a little lego block was the baby. She took her baby for rides up and down the floor.

And Jebriel spent the entire time very seriously driving the trains around the track, sometimes with sound effects.

They spent a looong time with the trains:

They also had a group talking and singing songs for Black History Month, the kids enjoyed dancing and clapping their hands. During a particularly lively song about the protests, they had passed out picket signs to a lot of the kids that said things like 'equality for all', and between verses of the song, everyone was chanting "Freedom! Now! Freedom! Now!". Vivi chose that moment to get away from me and climb up on the stage. As I hopped up the stage to go after her, I realized what an ironic scene we were making, a white woman chasing a little black girl in front of the whole crowd as the crowd chanted "Freedom! Now!" while waving picket signs, and couldn't help but laugh. Luckily my laughing made Vivi laugh as I caught up to her, so I didn't have to carry a kicking and screaming little black girl off the stage as they chanted "Freedom! Now!" It also made me a little bit reflective-what a difference a few decades has made! A few decades ago our family would not have been allowed to look like this.

She made up for it during the last song by dancing with one of the performers, who showed her how to take a bow at the end. We had a nice conversation with him after the show, and all the kids got little pins to wear that say 'henceforward shall be free!'.

And then we got some family shots with the Weinermobile before heading home:

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