Monday, June 22, 2009

Noah's Ark: We almost missed the boat

Well, we're just gonna have to go back.

The plan on Friday was to navigate our way west on the 10 and north on the 405 to visit the Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center. Unfortunately, an accident on the freeway left us in a virtual parking lot for more than two hours, and we arrived only 30 minutes before closing time. Bummer.

But, let me tell you, my 2-year-old firecracker packed in at least an hour's worth of racing around the super kid-friendly exhibit and unleashed some, if not all, of the pent-up energy she had saved up while stuck in the backseat.

Noah's Ark is a huge, hands-on exhibit that allows kids to explore by touching, climbing and witnessing the visual wonder of animal puppets -- and the towering ark itself -- created from recycled materials and everyday objects.

In addition to climbing on the wooden horses that welcomed visitors out front, CC pumped her heart out on a wind machine that had leaves blowing around a plastic tube and scaled her way through a rope-encased maze (right). (It took a special kind of coaxing to get her out of there.)

She also pretended to cook up a meal fit for Noah and his passengers with the plastic fruits and veggies left on a galley table. It was too late for us, but kids can also craft art projects in an adjacent room that mirrors the great outdoors.

Like I said, we'll have to go back. It took an extra-special kind of coaxing to get CC to leave the premises. (No, not security, but close.) The attentive staff was always on hand to answer a question or give life to a hand puppet. The open nature of the exhibit allows kids to run free but also engages them with various hands-on activities.

I'm so happy that it's now on permanent display, because it truly is a must-see.

Remember, though, it's best to purchase your tickets in advance (which we did, but it's not required) to lock in a specific time for your visit. They offer tickets at 30-minute intervals, but you can stay longer than that. That way, you'll only have to share your Ark time with a set number of other visitors -- and you'll avoid being overcrowded.

So, when you go, allow for traffic. Allow for possible accidents to slow you down. But also allow for a wondrous time with your little ones.

Now for giveaway time!

The Noah's Ark winner (picked randomly out of an L.A. ball cap) is ... Mike from Franklin Avenue!

And the ZAP! POW! BAM! winner (also picked from the famous ball cap) is ... Prue from Spectagirl 365!

Congrats! And thanks to everyone for reading the blog and leaving a comment and/or tweet!

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

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