The Carnegie Science Center has a promotion that if you bring a snowball in on the first day of summer, they give you free admission.  Although this was the first year I'd heard of it, everyone else in Pittsburgh
knew about it, too.

We'd planned on getting there when it opened, but as is often the case, we were rather late.  This was a disaster, as half the rest of the population of Pittsburgh was trying to get there at the same time.  It took us an hour to traverse the last half mile because the main converging intersection near the center was jammed.

It would have taken us 50 minutes if Noah hadn't been screaming hungry.  I pulled off to the side with enough room for people to pass me so I could nurse him.  When he was done enough to be distracted from nursing, he still was unhappy to go back into the carseat, but I held his hand until he fell asleep.  Once he was asleep, it wasn't too bad waiting, and we listened to our Sing Along Dance Along mp3s.

But I was thankful for Jon that he had decided not to come because he had been wondering if he had too much work to do to take off.  He definitely had too much work to do to sit in traffic for an hour!

The center itself was jam-packed with people.  After losing track of Jonathan once, I remembered the good idea from Idlewild and wrote my cell phone number on his wristband.  They had a blast playing up in the smaller kids' area, mostly with the water.  Everyone else decided it was lunch time, but Noah was quite disappointed to have to leave the water.

We took our picnic lunches outside and that was nice - to get away from loud, echoing walls and be out in the open.  Ahhh.  There we met a lady who (how it came up I don't remember) was impressed to find out that I was the "lady nursing her baby on the highway."   A nice thing to be famous for, I guess!

After lunch we went to the submarine, which was really neat and would be nice to go explore on a less crowded day when you can get the real tour and ask more questions instead of being herded through like manatees.*

It was a state of the art, brand new machine at the end of WWII.  There's a torpedo in it, yikes it was big!  Jonathan really liked the submarine and it sparked a lot of discussion.  It's hard to explain war to a three year old.  It more concretely reminded me how horrible war is, having to explain it.  Right now, swords and guns are fun for him to play with and he doesn't really know what real war fighting or killing is.  Example: He had to clarify with me that the torpedo was going to explode on other boats and not the one that was shooting it.

He asked why they made submarines and I went all the way back to swords and spears and David and Goliath, then added arrows, then guns, etc.  Sailing warships, submarines.  More and better and stealthier technology to try to kill the enemy.  Why?  Because different countries disagree with each other. 

His great grandparents were in WWII.  He asked if we were in a war now.  I said yes, but they don't really affect us the way the world wars did.  I am fuzzy on the details of wars since WWII, but it seems to me that we at home can go merrily along our way without thinking too much about what's going on "over there."  Maybe that's a way to consider if we as a country should be involved in a war or not.  If the whole country can rally together against an enemy and all work together to defeat it... But can Americans agree on anything these days?  Do we have to have an enemy as widely spread as Hitler's regime for people to agree it's evil?  Do Americans believe in evil anymore?  Was Hussein bad enough?  Why are we still in Iraq, is it helpful to the people, is it working?  I certainly don't know enough to make those decisions.  I started writing that maybe an enemy should affect us before we get involved.  But one the one hand that seems heartless to those who are affected but helpless.  Then I remembered, we were affected on 9/11.  But how much have we forgotten that, now?  Boy am I glad I'm not the president.  I don't think these are easy questions at all. 

So there are some of my rambling thoughts after touring a WWII submarine and trying to explain war to a three year old.

Back to the science center.  Another highlight from the submarine was that we got to throw snowballs into the river from the deck. We saw a whole bunch of people we knew, from our old church and new, and some other friends in Pittsburgh.  Jonathan enjoyed folding paper to put in a wind tunnel, he did that for a long time.  Then we saw the model trains and circled the exhibit three times.  Jonathan wanted to see more but it was time to go home.

It is a neat place and I'd like to visit again sometime when there aren't so many people there.  Then we'll have time to really explore without being rushed, to read the information and learn the science behind the activity and explore to heart's content.

*Underwater cows, get it? d: 

Posted by Heather Daley on June 22, 2007, 7:38 am | Read 4340 times
Category General: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

What I want to know is, how did your snowball survive the wait? Or did you not bother because yo are members? I can envision all those people showing up at the door with dripping bags of water....

Posted by SursumCorda on June 22, 2007, 9:23 am

What's Idlewild? Other than the old name for JFK airport in New York?

Posted by SursumCorda on June 22, 2007, 9:29 am

The snowballs (surprisingly) lasted quite well - I noticed them the other day, and they didn't turn to ice, like snowballs did when we saved them as kids. Maybe having a dedicated freezer is better than the top of the fridge models - or defrosting cycles or something.

Idlewild is a roller coaster and water park.

Posted by jondaley on June 22, 2007, 10:17 am

we saved three snowballs and totally forgot about the free admission. oh well...i guess i can take them out of our freezer now. :)

Posted by ~liz on June 22, 2007, 11:02 am

For the trip to the science center, we had the snowballs in our lunch cooler. Even so, they were kind of melty when we "paid" our admission.

Next year, we'll save a bunch of snowballs even if we don't go to the science center. Jonathan wanted to play with some after he got the chance to throw them off the submarine.

Posted by joyful on June 22, 2007, 11:12 am

it was really great to see you guys yesterday, despite the very crowded conditions! i was also thinking how much fun jonathan would have exploring the science center - i bet he'd stay for days and days if you'd let him!

you know, the science center would make an excellent home school field trip someday...but i'm sure you already thought of that!

Posted by jill on June 22, 2007, 1:01 pm

I did not know about this snowball admission thing. Note to self for next year!

But the crowds--they don't sound so fun, after all.

We went into the science center and submarine during RADical days last fall, I think. Amazing, how small and compact everything was! I think I was there alone, with Elly in a sling. It was a bit difficult to help Maya climb through the doors while still keeping Elly's head from getting bonked!

Posted by serina on June 22, 2007, 1:41 pm
Add Comment
Add comment
E-mail me when comments occur on this article