It’s hot down South. Nope. It’s not just hot, it’s “I just sweated off my deodorant, walking ten feet to my car” hot. It’s so hot that I can’t even bring myself to take my kiddos to our neighborhood pool because there is no shade. They may be able to get in the pool and cool off, but I’m exhausting myself keeping sunscreen on them, making sure their little feet don’t get blistered on the hot concrete (they REFUSE their water shoes), and trying to keep myself from burning to a crisp.
Fortunately, for the past two weeks, we’ve been in Rochester, NY where for the most part days there have felt like college football weather down here. The mornings were crisp, light, and refreshing, with the occasional breeze wisping over your skin. The nights were cool enough to sleep with a fan and window open, reminding me of the cooler summers of my youth when we would spend the night with my grandma who had NO air conditioning. So, my boys and I have been spoiled for two weeks. They’ve been outside a lot, minimal television and iPad usage, and exploring what’s around. Now that we’re back home, well, it’s just too hot to be outside.
Today, I thought we could remedy that by going to the Roper Mountain Science Center for the last day of their Butterfly Adventure. I knew a big portion of the exhibit was inside, so we would be cool (when not in the simulated rainforest perfect for the living conditions of the butterflies), and the opportunities to explore and learn would be immeasurable.
I’d head a lot about the exhibit before we left for NY. Between packing and Vacation Bible School at our church, I didn’t have the opportunity to take the boys. I decided that once we got back in town, I would take them before it ended.
We go to the Roper Mountain Science Center at Christmas for the lights and easily the best Santa around, but outside of that I haven’t been to the center since my college days when I was in their planetarium for an astronomy class. I’ve considered going on numerous occasions, but truthfully Henry is just exhausting and he seems to make things unenjoyable for Davey (and well me at times, too).
I’m an early riser, so we left as soon as we were ready and made it just after the gates opened at 9 am. The lines were not that long, perhaps a 15 minute wait, and the boys were able to pass their time cooling off in the water misters and drawing their own butterflies on the sidewalk with the chalk provided. Davey continually asked questions since he had developed a fascination with butterflies thanks to this past school year where they watched a caterpillar become a butterfly. Henry? He didn’t care. He was just along for the ride and eager to terrorize.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what we experienced wasn’t it. We didn’t get to just see butterflies, but we also got to touch them, and even entice them over to us with our nectar wands, easily the greatest thing for Davey. The butterfly adventure, was short, sweet, and to the point, but since you’re paying good money to get in, the center encourages you to check out the rest of what’s available which included a marine lab, an ecology lab, and a wildlife lab, which just happened to have a corn snake ready to be petted. Davey took one look at the snake and said, “no way”, while Henry wanted to hug, and squeeze it and take it home. Henry couldn’t possibly get this from my side, this must come from his father’s side of the family (wink wink), snakes are not my thing.
We spent the remainder of our morning “milking” a cow, which I found to be humorous for today’s kids who are completely clueless with the appropriate way to milk a cow. Thank God for this country girl to show ’em a thing or two. We toured backwoods homes, school houses that mirrored the one from Little House on the Prairie, and a farm. We petted sheep, goats, chickens, and cows. The boys washed their clothing the way my grandmother used to…an old washing board. They thought they were to take the rags and clean the board, not that the board was to clean the rags. Kids these days.
While I’m sure we could have seen and experienced more, this oppressive heat just seems to be taking it out of us. It’s difficult during the dog days of summer to find things to keep the kiddos busy, but today was definitely an adventure for the books.