In my elementary school years, the Durham Museum of Life and Science was always one of my favorite places. Whether I was visiting with my third grade class or my reluctant parents, running from the spaceship to the playground to the petting zoo never got old.
About a week ago, I decided it was time to pay the old museum a visit. Three other Leesville students and I boarded the car and made the thirty minute drive to Durham. As we made the trip, we all had the same question in mind—would the museum hold the same appeal that it did in our younger years, or provide nothing but disappointment?
When we first arrived, we began to believe the latter. The rocket ship outside didn’t seem as majestic as it used to but rather a superfluous ornament. Our hopes remained low as we entered the museum amongst a group of stroller-ridden toddlers and their mothers. The museum was obviously made for a younger set.
It wasn’t until we entered the first room of the museum that our hopes began to rise. The room featured five or six little tables and each table contained a mound of small wooden blocks. It didn’t take long for my two male companions to begin building extravagant towers. I watched in amazement as my two friends immersed themselves in an epic competition, racing to see who could build the highest tower before all the blocks toppled to the museum’s colorfully carpeted floor.
Eventually, the boys grew bored with their blocks. With lifted spirits, we ran into the next room, where I was delighted to see the same interactive exhibits that I remembered from my childhood. I played with the steam flowing from the mock cloud exhibit, climbed into the seemingly tiny model spaceship and hit the hanging pots and pans with a wooden stick.
While childish, I found these activities surprisingly gratifying, but for entirely different reasons than those applicable from my childhood. I was no longer amazed and puzzled by the exhibits, but I was enchanted nonetheless. The fact that I understood the science behind the exhibits didn’t take away from the magic, but added an additional layer of appreciation.
Once I got past the idea that I was too cool for the childish museum, I was able to truly enjoy myself and embrace every aspect that the museum had to offer.
Overall, my trip to the museum was fun– the happy, go-lucky kind of fun that high school students rarely get to experience. In high school, where homework is assigned by the book-full and gossip is unavoidable, trips reminiscent of childhood fun are refreshing and necessary.
I advise everyone to relive a little bit of childhood fun every once and a while. Whether it be a trip to Frankie’s or skating at Jellybeans, that dose of refreshing fun is usually only a car ride away.