Museum Visit

So, no singing today, as between work and a fun visit this morning I haven’t had time to record another video. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite things at the Public Museum here in Grand Rapids.

We’ll start with the new Wildlife Explorer exhibit. It’s a National Geographic exhibit, that’s only visiting for a few months before it travels to the next town. Usually these smaller traveling exhibits aren’t that great, kind of small, and kid based, not something I’m often too interested in, but I have to admit that this particular exhibit was pretty cool.

It featured a dog sled (pulled here by my little sister’s porcupine Pricilla) and a scuba diver:

And a giant polar bear, who my sister was approached in trepidation at first:

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But they were fast friends after that:
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It was a pretty great exhibit, and a cool learning opportunity for kids like my sister who love animals and all the special things that make them amazing.

The rest of the trip was spent visiting some old haunts. I’ve been to this particular museum a hundred times, and I know most of the exhibits’ little quirks and secrets. My two favorites are the Spillman Carousel, and “Old Grand Rapids.”

The Spillman Carousel was built in 1928 and is still in working order. In fact, its music still plays music from the original Wurlitzer Band Organ!

 

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Not the best picture…but there were about 40 screaming children getting off the carousel at the time…best I could do.

The main carousel is made up of 44 hand carved horses, with real horse hair tails. They’re all painted in bright colors and dressed to the nines in their jeweled saddles and bridles. There are also two chariots, and, besides the horses, a whale, a tiger, a giraffe, a deer, a goat, and a camel.

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This guy was my riding companion today. Pretty handsome, don’t you think? 😉

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Rides are only a dollar, and if you’re a museum member, they’re free, as many times as you want to ride. 🙂 Little sister and I have taken advantage of that fact many, many times.

My very favorite part of the museum though, is “Old Grand Rapids.” A cobblestoned and historically accurate blast from the past, this exhibit hosts many different venues, often manned by museum volunteers in period (turn of the century) costume.

There’s a grocer, which is packed to the brim with both real and fake goods. For example, the boxes of cereal and other goods of that kind, are all real. However, the wonderful looking cherry pie on the counter? Not so much.

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There’s the print shop, which wasn’t manned today, but usually has a volunteer making museum bookmarks on their pedal powered printing press.

There’s also Rudell Drug Store, which is not just a replica. This is the actual store, that was transplanted “as is” to the museum after it closed. There’s an old school soda fountain, a crazy cool cash register, and my favorite bit, all the old medicine’s and perfume bottles. They all still have the original liquids and medicines in them!

Of course, a trip to Turn of the Century GR wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Herpolsheimer’s. Those of you in the know concerning the literature world, will know that this store was featured in Chris Van Allsberg’s famous Polar Express. The museum has recreated the iconic storefront, and filled it with items left over from the store’s glory years.

Of course, the surrounding streets are just as exciting. There’s an antique car, the train station at the entrance, a horse drawn street car, and an old fashioned bicycle that you can actually ride, and much more!

That’s only a small taste of what we visited and revisited today, there are so many more exhibits to see, and so much more to interact with. It’s hardly ever boring, and with a multitude of events year round, the museum is keeping it’s patrons busy and interested.

Hopefully I’ll have another video for you guys in the next few days, but for now…

Love to all, as always,

Mae

 

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