Yesterday we had our first adventure together, us Transplants and Locals.
The day began, as any sluggish Saturday, with coffee. Meeting at Mean Cup’s new location, we were welcomed with open arms and warm cuppas.
After our meet and greet, we made our way down to The North Museum, Lancaster’s very own museum of Natural History & Science. It may be deceiving in appearance, but it’s a fantastic collection with a humble beginning:
“In the latter part of the 19th century, when amateur collecting of natural specimens was at the height of its popularity, Lancaster County was home to an active group of naturalist-collectors called the Linnaean Society. In time, this organization’s rich and varied collections that include everything from archaeology to zoology were entrusted to Franklin and Marshall College. In 1953, with the assistance of funds from the estate of Hugh North, a local banker, the College erected the existing three-story museum on the F&M campus to hold these important natural history collections. The exhibits surround south-central Pennsylvania’s largest planetarium.” – North Museum Website
The first floor hosts a children’s Discovery Room, a collection of live reptiles, amphibians, insects and one fuzzy arachnid. The main exhibit, entitled “Great Balls of Fire,” allowed us adults to slip into a learn and play mentality. Flying spaceships, exploring space rocks and probably learning something as well. My personal highlight was the opportunity to create a solar system on a large, touch-screen display. Tap to add a planet here, touch to create some space junk, swing planets in and out of orbit. The best moment was having the entire group creating their own solar system together. Even if it eventually collapsed in on itself.
After the creation of the Universe came the dinosaurs, then upstairs to view the history of the museum and Susquehanna Valley. The most enchanting part of the entire museum was the collection of birds of all shapes and sizes. Display cases filled with birds of prey, water fowl, nests and eggs, surround you as you enter the lower level. Move towards the back and you find your way into a gem den. Rows, upon rows, upon rows of all the earth has to offer. Top that off with stacks of other preserved animals, ranging from some sort of creepy shrimp to a two-headed calf. Completely unexpected.
I encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to visit this lively museum. It’s small and manageable, and just right for short attention spans. We were happy to support a local fixture of the Lancaster community and have the opportunity to learn and play together.