Our adventures in Phoenix

Here’s a recap of our excursions in Phoenix last weekend.  Chicka Roo calls them all “field trips.”  Poor kid is so excited to homeschool, every place we go is a field trip.  🙂

We started off Friday evening at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  I was not entirely sure that this was going to be a great place to go with kids, but as our next biome unit is about the desert, I figured we should give it a shot.  It wasn’t too bad, as it turned out.  The kids were a tad bored by the zillions of different types of cacti.  Chicka Roo refuses to accept that you’re supposed to say “cacti” instead of  “cactuses.”  She said it sounds silly.  I agree.  The kids did like all of the random desert animals roaming around, though.  If you ever go, I advise going at dusk.  Not only does it help you avoid the 115 degree weather, but the animals also get really active around that time of day.  We even saw a family of rabbits- two big ones, followed by 4 tiny bunnies, which is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen in my whole life.  We also enjoyed the Sonoran Peoples trail, which highlighted some of the ways that people native to Arizona used plants as tools and supplies their lives.

Roundhouse grass hut

Grinding mesquite beans into flour.  Chicka Roo insists that she wants to start making our bread this way.  I disagree.  The Tohono O’odham certainly have my respect… tough stuff.

The next day was our chaos day.  We started off with the Phoenix Children’s museum.  This place is great.  We have seen quite a few children’s museums, and this one is definitely at the top of the list.  They have a huge Schuff-Perini climber.  I’m pretty sure that’s museum-ese for “Huge structure made out of cool recycled stuff that my kids could play on    for days on end.”

The rest of the children’s museum is your standard kids museum variety.  They had a blast.  Buddy Roo especially liked helping to paint the giant rocket in the craft center.

After the children’s museum is where the real fun began.  We went out walking in downtown Phoenix, in search of lunch.  Apparently, there is no food in downtown Phoenix during a weekend day.  We walked over a mile in 115 degree heat until we finally found a Panera.  Yay!  Unfortunately, the Panera was on the top floor of a multi level building, and for reasons I can’t comprehend, there was no elevator, and no staircase.  Only an escalator.

Now, normally, I would have just gone somewhere else.  But my kids were whiny, hot, and very hungry.  So I decided to fold up the stroller and take the escalator.  Buddy Roo has had successful assisted escalator trips before- no problem, right?

It didn’t go that way this time.  About halfway up, he wobbled and his hand slipped out of mine.  He fell.  Try to imagine someone falling “up” an escalator.   He basically fell in place, over and over.  If it wasn’t so scary, it would have been hilarious.  We got to the top, and and we all recouperated from our tramatic experience.  We went around the corner to the Panera…. and it was closed.  Just… wow.  

We eventually found some food, and made our way back, this time to the science museum. This science museum is great- lots of good stuff geared towards kids.  Mine especially liked the weather room, where we learned about rock metamorphosis, and weather patterns, and got to experience different types of storms in a simulator.  It really fit in well to our desert unit.  They also had a great water/physics exhibit, which they LOVED playing in.  

The next thing on our docket was unplanned, but we couldn’t pass it up.  The Phoenix Zoo had a “Prowl and Play” night event that sounded like so much fun.  It was.  Camel rides, playing with an African rhythm group, Disney radio (Chicka loved the dance contest and games), hands-on exhibits, and Chicka’s favorite, a “real live” mermaid.

The next morning, day 3, we went back to the zoo.  Most of the animals had been inside the night before, so we headed back for a regular zoo visit.  Now, I had planned ahead for this.  I printed out a scavenger hunt for each kid, and a fun printable game from the zoo’s website, with directed questions by trail.  I will link them here in a minute, in case anyone is interested.  However…. this was a learning experience for me.  It is very difficult to homeschool in any structured way at the zoo.  I know that sounds kind of, well, duh.  But I really thought for some reason that we’d be able to knock out a few questions while we walked.  Nope.  They did, of course, learn a lot.  But next time, I’ll ditch the cards and printables and just enjoy it more 🙂

If you want them, though (they ARE really cute), here they are:

http://icanteachmychild.com/zoohunt.pdf Easy scavenger hunt for Buddy Roo.

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/PlanYourVisit/activitysheets.cfm this has a few, and I printed the one about habitats for Chicka Roo.

and here’s the cards for the Phoenix Zoo game (one set could easily be used at other zoos) http://edventures.phoenixzoo.org/kNatExCards.html

That was basically the end of our trip.  I was incredibly wiped out by that point, and we were ready to get home.  After a little rest, I’m sure I’ll be ready to find our next adventure.

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