An Aquarium exhibit from Down Under

My husband was just trying to convince me that our next big trip should be to Australia (not that I need convincing), saying that for animal lovers (i.e. me and the girls), it’s a continent that offers a whole different array of species than we’re used to. And then I came across this article on the National Aquarium blog.

So don’t get me wrong – I’m still up for going to Australia, but until that happens, I’ll be satisfied going to the “Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes” exhibit at the National Museum in Baltimore, which happens to be right near where we live and not thousands of miles away and is actually one of my favorite places to visit  in Maryland, Washington, DC area.  (Not counting the Arundel Mills Mall Maryland, of course.)

And it won the award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the best exhibit!

Meanwhile, on another blog that I like to read , I came across another top 10 list for the best aquariums for kids. It’s very similar to my recent top 10 aquarium list, but adds one more that I know nothing about: the Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, New York.  I like that area for my Long Island Romantic Getaways, but anyone ever been to the aquarium?
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Free things to do in LA

I’ve got some college buddies staying with me for the week. Two are unemployed, one is engaged, and the other is just a cheapskate, and they’ve never been to Los Angeles before. So they want a complete tour of LA…for free. Fortunately, they’ve got me as their guide and I know the ins and outs of the city and how to have packed days without spending a dime.

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Happy Thanksgiving Month!

In my classroom, November is Turkey Month. Why celebrate a fun and meaningful holiday for only one day when you can celebrate all month long? Besides spending a lot of time focusing on what we are thankful for, collecting charity for those less fortunate than we are, and learning about (and cooking) traditional American and Native American food, we spend a lot of time talking about the first settlers, American history, and early American geography. I simulate a Mayflower journey to America and we travel around the East Coast delving into all these subjects. Here are the highlights from our historical journey through New England. Ask your kids—they should be able to tell you the early significance of all these places (that is, if they have a teacher as good as I am!):

Happy Turkey Month!
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New York City Field Trips

The school year has finally begun and with it, curriculum finalizations and field trip bookings. Teaching in New York City should be every teacher’s dream—while one does need to be careful about crowds, the field trip possibilities are truly endless and the entire city becomes an extended classroom.

So for all you teachers out there (or just if you’re visiting NYC with kids), here is a list of great field trip locations in New York City:

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think parents are excited when they’re kids end up in my class because they know it’ll be a year on the go, both because of the “simulated U.S. travel itinerary” and the actual New York City traveling that goes on during the year. Looking forward to another great school year!
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A Kid’s Guide to L.A.

It’s been a while since I’ve put in my two cents on the California scene, and when my sister and her two little kids came for a visit, it inspired me to do a little research. So here’s a list of fun activities for kids in the Los Angeles area. Some are more obvious and some are a bit more obscure. Feel free to add to the list!

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The Parsons are in Minneapolis!

And we are having a blast! We only got here yesterday and have already explored the area around our hotel (we walked all over Downtown Minneapolis), went to the Walker Art Center, and out for a nice family dinner. Today Rick started his slew of business meetings and the girls and I spent the entire day at the Mall of America, which was just thrilling—what a world in there! The girls particularly liked the Park at Mall of America, but I was a big fan of the shopping part of the Mall of America. Not it’s after midnight and I should really be getting to bed because I know the girls are going to wake up early and make me take them down to breakfast…

In store for tomorrow is the Science Museum of Minnesota or the Water Park of America. And then also in the next week we’ll visit the Como Zoo. For our last two days, we’ll be staying near Itasca State Park, which is Minnesota’s oldest state park with over 100 lakes. and hopefully the weather will be nice because the Parsons are going to try something new and exciting—we’re going to be camping out! We borrowed a whole slew of gear that we brought with us and we’ll be renting a car, parking it, and then will hike and camp for two days. The girls are really excited—in fact is was their idea (I guess it’s obvious that it wasn’t mine or Rick’s idea…).
Wish us luck!!

Daytime visits to Washington, D.C.

Homeschooling the kids for the year was a success, though I do have to admit, having them in day camp for the summer is making me reconsider. For one, I have the whole day to myself, free to run errands and work on some freelance editing work that I’m very behind on. Also, the girls seem to be having fun. Not that they don’t have fun learning at home, and not that they don’t get plenty of social time, with the “homeschool school” and other group activities and playdates that they’re always busy with. I guess before I make any drastic decisions (the plan is to homeschool for one more year) I should remember that camp is always more fun than school, right? Anyways, the nicest thing about summer so far is that I’m free to go into Washington, D.C. and meet Rick for lunch. I’ve actually been going almost everyday, bringing some work with me so I can sit away from the distractions of home and focus, and visiting some museums while I’m in the area. I’ve been enjoying the alone time, but I do miss my girls!

My Washington, D.C. travels so far have brought me to museum classics like:
National Gallery of Art
National Portrait Gallery
National Building Museum
Phillips Collection
Folger Shakespeare Library
Library of Congress
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

I’ve been to all of these before, but usually with other people and it’s nice to go at my own pace.

Rick has only two business trips planned this summer. One to San Antonio, Texas that I think we (the girls and I) may skip (I’m not sure I can deal with the heat down there), and one to Minneapolis, which coincides perfectly with the end of camp. So, more about that later!