My two favorite field trip destinations as a kid were to the Amish country in Winston-Salem and to the topic of the day, Charlotte’s Discovery Center. I was able to take our girls there yesterday- thanks to the suggestion of Ruhi, who enjoys this stuff as much as we do!

She joined us for day two and gave us the grand tour. I believe the two places Ruhi took us on this visit are now in the girls’ top five places they’ve ever been. You can see our drive through the Lazy 5 back here.)

There is an echo scenario just outside the building, It is the first clue that you’re about to be involved with an educational experience unlike most. You can kind of see the set up behind the girls in the first photo. They spent a good 15 minutes on this and we had to drag the girls indoors when it was time to get tickets.

The first section we came upon allowed you to build using thin blocks. They also had the most incredible displays of monuments made from the same sticks. (not pictured is the Eiffel Tower) – The kid up there had just knocked down a tower of some sort but quickly began cleaning it up. The DC was impeccably clean.

Creating wind and seeing the reactions!

The girls didn’t hesitate to lie on a bed of nails. It looked pretty soothing.

^ using her strength the pull herself up. She did awesome despite sitting in the “harder” seat. I think she wants us to put one of these in our house.

We made it to a viewing of a science experiment involving liquid nitrogen! Mae was quick to volunteer for all the opportunities to do so. She got to help demonstrate what happens when an inflated balloon is submerged in the nitrogen and what occurs when the balloon is released back into the room temperature area. (basically, snuggle then run away)

We also watched a rubber glove break up as though it was a tortilla chip and observe ice cream being made – the girls were able to eat some!

We got admission into the bug exhibit – Ruhi knew our girls are really interested / not grossed out by insects.


I stole this from the sight: Bug Lab was created by New Zealand’s world-renowned museum Te Papa, working with five time Academy Award-winning film studio Weta Workshop. If you have the time and enjoy watching folks creating and building (we do), you should look up Weta Workshop. They had an interesting bit on Adam Savage’s Makers Space Youtube channel.

A n y w a y . . . In the photo above, the girls are climbing onto a slide that makes a ‘certain noise’ as you pass through and you become the spray the bug uses to attack other bugs. We learned that one of the main chemicals in that spray is peroxide.

The coolest rotoscope ^ ^ It looked as though bugs were flying and real frogs were jumping into real water! It was beautiful.

There were several ‘cocoons’ that housed these large displays, some were interactive, some were just lovely to look at, but there were many videos and investigative stations just outside of them.

We (Zack’s help seemed crucial in this ‘we’ I speak of) created some origami butterflies. They had a wind tube you could fly your creations in and the butterfly variety actually seemed to flutter more than soar.

Japanese honeybees are insane! Such a cool creature.

It had a rainforest area! Seriously, this place had it all. It was so humid and had I not worn a wool sweater I would’ve been in heaven.

They had several areas with very cool tropical birds that were free to fly about, but most seemed to be non-flying birds, and the girls were able to pet a large python –  which I hear, “feels like the most disgusting and awesomest thing, all at the same time!” They weren’t even a little nervous!

^ Looking at slivers of a corral. It looks so much like bone.

The girls got to pet a live Chocolate Chip Sea Star (Its official scientific nickname)!

The fish were all gorgeous, but I really enjoyed observing the various corral and enmities. They had so many live varieties.

– and the jellyfish! They were pretty fantastic (and near impossible to photograph with a cell phone!)

The final stop was a water-play area (I didn’t take any photos). If Rae wasn’t so tired, I bet she could’ve stayed there for another hour, but she was sleepy and it was closing time.

Before heading back to Sarah’s, we drove around the city so I could get a good look and soak it all in. It was just the right time of day. Still bright out, but all of the lights were turning on. The lingering Christmas decor was also a plus.

I recognized only that building above and the Discovery Center. I’m pretty sure the last time I did a decent drive through the city was before Y2K, so with good reason, I remembered very little.


Thanks so much for making time for us, Ruhi!!


We set aside our winter break to visit one of my favorite NC friends, Ruhi. Our trips usually solely involve family (we fit plenty of that in, too!), so we needed a trip dedicated to friends. She is a teacher so a big ol’ holiday break worked out nicely!

She and I have kept in touch and we all enjoy seeing her adventures via Instagram (we actually pass the phone around when she posts anything). Surprisingly, it wasn’t weird seeing her after SIXTEEN! years.

She treated us to several days of activities – starting with a drive through the Lazy 5 Ranch!

* You can see when we took two and a half-year-old Mae back here.

Mae’s favorite’s were the llamas. So much so, they are now a favorite alongside her most beloved animals – the panda and the horse and the cat.

The deer! They were so timid. Definitely the sweetest of all the animals.

The ostriches? They seemed a bit entitled. But very very pretty.

Our first impression of the buffalos was – docile. They had a real devil-may-care look about them.

Not the case. They got real beggy real quick.

They grossed us out the most but evened the disgust out with the production of the most laughter. Sure, it was nervous laughter, but I think every giggle counts.

This was my favorite bird ^ They had many lovely birds.

So many rainbows showed up for this photo!

In reality, there was a lot of “Stand here. Hmmm, maybe stand on this step. No, Honey, the cactus won’t poke you, scoot on back.” and so on. Ha.

I am so very glad my girls finally met Ruhi – or as Mae and Rae call her, ‘that girl on your phone that goes on adventures.’