Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our Hurrication: South Carolina State Museum

For our second day of our hurrication in Columbia, we spent the day exploring the state museum.  First, we saw a show at the planetarium about ancient sea monsters...nice and scary for the kids.  Haha!  Then, we immersed ourselves in good southern history exploring the museum.  The SC museum building is actually as historically impressive as the content within as it exists in a refurbished beautiful old factory building on the Congaree River.  Although this museum was a fun experience, I will say that it is not as impressive as North Carolina's museums.  For one, it is not free as both large NC state museums are...I do think that is quite a rarity though.  North Carolina has large and impressive separate history and science museums, but I know North Carolina also has a larger population with a higher tax revenue.  North Carolina's museums also boast some pretty spectacular exhibits like the real dinosaur fossil specimens.  Most museums just have casts of dinosaur bones because exhibiting the real ones is very costly.  North Carolina also has several other museums spread across the state while South Carolina's is all in one building.  Besides that, I think this museum is well worth the visit if you are ever in the area and want to immerse yourself in some good southern history and culture.

Evan with the map of South Carolina and Brody checking out the center of the earth.  Apparently, South Carolina had a volcanic history. 

Evan has a true fascination with sharks and loves the idea of megalodon, the ancient monster of the sea.  Petrified wood is a pretty interesting process of naturally converting wood into stone. 

Evan and Brody loved the replica of the wooly mammoth.  One of their favorite movie series are the Ice Age movie so I imagine they think every mammoth has the voice of Ray Romano.  There is also a history of a major earthquake in the Charleston area, and since we live pretty close to that area, I am a little concerned. 

I guess giant beavers used to live in the state.  Grayson thought the big bear was funny. 

Although these dinosaur bones were only casts of other bones, the boys still love seeing dinosaurs. 

Albertosaurus is a smaller version of a T-Rex that used to live in the area. 

They all wanted to be paleontologists cleaning bones and fossils. 

I enjoyed the more recent history sections of the museum.  

We have been to Fort Moultrie, and Eddie and I saw the Hunley in Charleston.  The real one was still submerged in a solution to keep it from further deteriorating, but Eddie sat in the replica that was used in a movie.  It was so small inside even though it was larger than the real one.  It is pretty cool to think of all those men inside underwater. 

A little Civil War history. 

Evan checked out some scenes from modern day South Carolina.  We definitely love SC beaches.  Brody liked the older rural South Carolina structures like this old house. 

The old schoolhouse was pretty neat, and the boys got to go inside and pretend to be in school. 

The old general store was pretty neat too.  It was well stocked with everything a family could need.  The old men at the back were playing a game by the fire and talking.  You could hear their conversation.  They reminded me of some little old country stores that still existed in the town where I grew up.  My dad would take me to see friends and get a treat. 

Brody was fascinated with the old outhouse.  Haha! 

The early days of automobile travel and gasoline. 

Some World War I history reminded us just how ridiculous the causes of the war were and so many lives lost for basically nothing. 

I loved the Old South architecture, and Brody enjoyed sitting on a park bench taking in the sights. 

Inside the Southern plantation building was a whole area about SC's first astronaut from the Apollo Missions.  The remake of the moon with the astronaut footprints on it had a photograph that the astronaut took with him to the moon and photographed the picture of his family on the moon since they couldn't go with him. 

Of course, Brody and Mattox really loved the old train.  

Taking a ride on the South Carolina Railroad. 

We also liked the old town and vehicles and buildings. 

But our favorite part and the most impressive to us was a huge section dedicated to forestry.  NC's museums in Raleigh don't have a forestry section which I had hoped Eddie's work with the NC Forestry Association would eventually change.  NC did have a separate forestry museum, but it was so far away from where most people live and visit in a very rural area of Southeastern NC so it rarely got many visitors.  Forestry is a huge industry for states like NC, SC, and Georgia.  I thought SC did a great job of recognizing this in their museum.  Foresters really do so many things that most people don't even realize. 

Eddie has done almost all of these things in his work with the Forest Service and with the NCFA.  Urban Forestry was so important in Charlotte, and he even surveyed major tree damage after hurricanes in northeastern NC.  His specialty though was the highly technical area of GIS mapping.  He had become an expert at using GIS mapping software to create extensive maps of entire regions of NC for everyone in the state to use.  These maps are important for many other industries and agencies in the state such as fire control and first responders.  He had wanted to get his masters in this area and still may do so to pursue future professional opportunities. He will need to utilize this expertise in his current job as well because they have no up-to-date maps of the 50,000 plus acres under their management.  He is just waiting for them to buy the expensive software and GIS equipment.  

Education of students and loggers, controlled burning, thinning trees, and procurement forestry were also important aspects of his job.  He hopes to one day become more of a private consulting forester when he retires from government work. 

So many products that we use daily come from trees.  And remember, trees are a "renewable" resource if used and replanted responsibly.  They are also a clean biodegradeable resource unlike products like plastic made from fossil fuels.

This section of the museum was really beautiful with wood everywhere. 

The wood floors were original to the factory building.  

After the beautiful forestry section, the kids really liked the model train replica of a South Carolina town.  I can't remember what town it was though.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Our Hurrication: A Day at the Zoo

Since our area of Georgia was evacuated due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Irma in mid-September, we decided to take no chances and leave town.  I was mostly afraid of the flooding that would occur in our area if we did suffer a direct hit from a major hurricane.  Even though the hurricane did take a drastic turn to the west and went over central and northwestern Georgia, our area still saw some major flooding from the rain and some downed trees from the winds.  I can only imagine what a major hurricane would do to this low lying area.  Our backyard already stays wet most of the year.  I am glad that our house sits a little higher off the ground. 

We still see the evidence of a pretty significant hurricane event from Matthew last year.  We made a smart choice to head up to Columbia, SC to stay with Eddie's Aunt who lives alone now that her children are all grown and moved away to other parts of the country so we enjoyed getting to spend some time with her.  She went way beyond her necessary hostess duties and cooked some yummy meals for us.  I had brought some food for us so we wouldn't be an inconvenience, but she had stocked up on a lot of goodies to feed us.  She also provided us with some entertainment for the two days we spent in Columbia while she was working.  She had purchased yearly passes to the Riverbanks Zoo for when her children and grandchildren visit, and her office had passes to the South Carolina Museum. We spent two very full days enjoying these South Carolina treasures. 

The Riverbanks Zoo is a very nice zoo with lots of interesting animals with nice habitats.  I really do love going to visit the zoo because it gives my children and I a chance to learn about and see many animal species we would never see otherwise.  Zoos are also a way for humans to help protect and conserve species that are on the verge of extinction while allowing people to see them and appreciate them and help fund their care.  I just happened to finally watch The Zookeeper's Wife movie based on the bestselling book, and I just cried and cried both over the human loss and the animal loss that was shown in the movie.  So much senseless violence and tragedy occurred during the Holocaust and World War II and is still occuring in parts of our world today.  Sigh.  Okay, I will try to move on to happier events like our zoo trip.

The must have picture in front of the zoo.  Daddy didn't want to be included. 

My sweet Mattox was ready to head off and explore. 

He and Brody lead the way. 

The first stop was to see the otters who were all snuggled up in a tight ball sleeping. 

Then, we saw the big bears. 

Ignoring us and scavenging around for food. 

One of the bears finally came closer to the windows to get a drink of water. Daddy compares his hand to a bear's paw. 

The baboons are always entertaining in their fun habitat. Mostly, they were picking bugs off one another. 

The majestic lions.  Only the females were visible...or maybe that was a young male?  

The Siberian tiger was hidden way up in the fartherest corner of his exhibit. 

Next, we saw some adorable sleeping koalas.  Apparently, koalas sleep a lot because they only eat eucalyptus leaves which don't give them much energy.  I really wanted to give them an energy bar.  Ha! 

Sweet baby Grayson with the close as he could get anyway. 

The large komodo dragon was a little hard to photograph because he was camouflaged with his surroundings.   And ewe to that green tree python.  I do not want to encounter him in the wild. 

We got to feed some lovely birds.  

Brody and Mattox loved feeding the birds. 

Mattox's happy face is the best!

Look at that cute little hand holding out the food.  He was not afraid a bit. 

He didn't want to let Brody have a turn. 

If only you could hear his laughter in these pictures. 

We loved this beautiful carousel with the gorgeous painted animals.  

Evan decided to skip the ostrich this time and picked the black panther.  

I just loved all of the animals. 
Daddy and his boys on the carousel. 
The pink flamingos are always so bright and colorful even on a cloudy day. 

They are really funny looking when they stick their heads into the water sideways to eat.  

Very pretty and unique birds. 

The boys loved the giant tortoises. 

The giraffes are always my favorite zoo animal.  I love how those top two look like they are kissing. 

Brody was fascinated by the giant tortoises. 

Ostriches, crocodiles, and zebras too. 

One of the zebras finally came closer.  Evan is such a good big brother. 

I do have a special place in my heart for the elephants, especially the mommies and babies. 

We sat and rested and watched the sealions swim. 

Mattox and Brody were tired.  We got many "compliments" on our unusual stroller.  Eddie didn't think we needed the double stroller on this trip and left it at home because we had a full car with the dog, and he didn't want to have to put it on top.  He forgot that we would be spending the day at the zoo.  They do have these strollers to rent, but they aren't made for infants.  We strapped the carseat onto it with the seatbelt straps so it was secure, and Mattox could happily climb on and off by himself. 

Stopping for an ice cream treat. 

One of the best exhibits is probably the penguins.  I mean, who doesn't love penguins right.  "Cute and cuddly."  Haha!  That is from our favorite Madagascar movies. 

The boys enjoyed this little viewing tunnel. 

Mattox was just running around being silly. 

Trying to get a picture of us with the penquins swimming by was pretty hard because they swim by so fast. 

There were other pretty birds in the aviary exhibit too. 

Gorilla butt!  Haha! 

Brody and Mattox got a little personal interaction with the gorillas. 

Evan and I decided to attempt the high tree climber again.  Our last experience was in Myrtle beach several years ago, and we both failed.  Evan was much more brave this time and would have gone to the top.  I, on the other hand, still battled with much anxiety and fear of heights. 

We had just enough tickets left for Brody to ride the train.  He still loves a train. 

There he goes.  

He is getting so big.  Sniff. 

We also always think of the Madagascar movies when we see lemurs.  

The last exhibit we saw at zoo closing was the chimps who were being fed.  They turned their backs to us and ignored us.  I do love that quote on the sign which just summarizes how I feel about zoos. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails