Stomp…stomp…CRUNCH!: Make your own Dinos!

21 09 2011

Have you heard a distant rumble? Could it be the footsteps of ancient giants approaching? Get ready because on September 24th, our newest exhibit, Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice opens at the Museum! We are taking a million steps back into the historic world where dinosaurs roamed free.

Here are drawings of a couple of very well known dinosaurs:



These dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Jurassic Period. There has been fossil evidence discovered in the United States to prove that both the Stegosaurus and the Brontosaurus wandered our lands. If you want to learn more about these two dinosaurs go to  Science Kids – they give you a ton of cool facts about the Stegosaurus and Dinosaur Facts will tell you all about the Brontosaurus.

When you come to ACM to see our fall exhibit, there will be three different sections of dinosaur country to explore. We will have the Land of Fire (a warm dinosaur habitat), Land of Ice (a cold dinosaur habitat) and a Field Research station where you will investigate clues about dinosaurs and get to dig for bones. Each area will have games and activities that will be so much fun and you may learn a thing or two about the dinosaurs that you never knew existed.

A few species of dinos were found underneath the land here in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife will tell you about the dinosaurs that lived on our turf.

We found a dinosaur craft from Kids Craft Weekly that was super fun to make, click on the jump to see how to make a dinosaur!

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CowParade Austin 2011

26 08 2011

Have you “herd” the news? Artsy cows are strolling around Austin like they’re right at home. Click here for a map of all the cows roaming the streets of Austin.

Betty the Magnetic Cow in Austin, TX

CowParade’s first event created by Jerry Elbaum was in 1998 in Zurich, Switzerland. He then launched the concept across the ocean to Chicago in 1999 and the event has gone global ever since. After more than 10 years, 75 cities in 30 countries have featured a whopping number of decorated cows as an artistic expression. More than 5000 signature cows have been created by a number of artists, architects, and even celebrity designers.

You may wonder, why cows? Well, the CowParade website tells us that,

“the cow is a universally beloved animal. The cow represents different things to different people around the world-she’s sacred, she’s historical, she connects us to our past-but the common feeling is one of affection. There is something magical about the cow that transcends throughout the world. She simply makes everyone smile.”

There are charitable benefits that come along with this fantastic event. At the end of each CowParade, about 50 of the cows are sold at a live auction where proceeds will go straight to the nonprofit organization with which the CowParade has partnered. The Austin CowParade has paired with the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas to benefit the center as well as the Superhero Kid’s Fund. Throughout the years, CowParade has raised more than $30 million for its nonprofit partner.

The Austin Children’s Museum is lucky enough to have its very own painted cow standing right out front! “Batsy at Twilight” created by Linda Figg and sponsored by Scholotzky’s gazes with pride at the young visitors we have everyday.

Here is a slide show of the process of Batsy stepping off the truck and onto on our sidewalk:

Come to the Museum so you can take a picture with Batsy! Send us your favorite and tell us what you like about art… and cows!


Historic Eruption: Mount Vesuvius

24 08 2011

At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., the peak of Mount Vesuvius erupted.

This photo of Mount Vesuvius was taken in January of 1912. Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland and is expected to erupt again in the near future.

The eruption of 79 A.D. is the most well-known ancient eruption in the world and it buried two cities. The Roman town Pompeii was buried under 14-17 feet of ash and pumice (highly pressurized rock formed when lava and water mix) and Herculaneum laid underneath 60 feet of mud and volcanic material.

In 1748, a farmer found pieces of Pompeii under his vineyard and since then, historians and geologists have been excavating the land to find lost treasures and artifacts. When volcanic ash and lava flowed the streets of these two Roman cities, it seems as if life was frozen where it stood. The way of every day life is understood from the artifacts and skeletons left behind.

Do you know how a volcano erupts?

Volcanoes are land forms that open downward to a pool of molten rock (magma) and they erupt when the pressure builds up.

National Geographic has a really neat video that explains Volcanoes 101.

Would you like to make a color-changing volcano? Roots and Wings Co. has instructions for a really neat one.

Make one and tell us how it exploded!

Heat is not the straw that breaks a camel’s back

22 08 2011

Caravanning around Central Texas is seemingly getting hotter and hotter. The highest temperatures in Austin have been above 100 degrees during the day and moderately humid. Check out the Kids Weather Channel page for more information on the weather in Austin. Ever wish you could keep cool like a camel does?

This is a Bactrian camel.

Camels are natives to places with extreme weather such as hot summers or cold winters. A camel keeps itself cool during periods of heat by it’s use of the very recognizable hump or humps on its back. Many people think that camels store water in their hump but actually they have a fatty tissue that can be converted into energy and water when there is need. Camels can survive many warm days and nights without food or water. A camel also keeps itself warm in the winter with its very thick, shaggy coat that protects it from cold temperatures. When summer comes around again a camel sheds its thick fur by molting, so that it will be able to stay cool.

There are two species of camels the Dromedary and the Bactrian and you can tell the difference by the shape of their back. Dromedary camels have one hump and are native to the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Bactrian camels have two humps and are native to Asia and are critically endangered.

The Jungle Store has collected information on camels such as:

  • They are very smart animals with great eyesight and near perfect hearing
  • They are so strong that they are able to carry loads of 900 pounds, but usually carry no more than 450 pounds
  • Baby camels have no hump at birth. They will not develop one until they begin eating solid food
  • A camel is often called the “ship of the desert” because when being ridden they gallop and the person may feel seasick

National Geographic Kids tells us that a very thirsty camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water in only 13 minutes. Did you know that a baby camel is born with a white coat which will eventually turn brown as it grows up? Just like this baby and its mother:

We hope you’ve learned as much about camels as we here at ACM have. Can you answer this question?

Tell us what else you know!

Rockin’ and Rollin’ on a Big Roller Coaster

16 08 2011

The month of August is here and the end of summer vacation is near. Have you enjoyed our Ready, Set, Roll exhibit? There are so many components that allow you to challenge the science of physics with some hands-on experimentation.

A few of the games you can play are the Loop d’ Loop where you send a golf ball on an upside down ride, a Ski Jump where you launch a golf ball attempting a land on another ramp, and there’s also the Big Spiral that will make the ball very, very dizzy. There are a ton of other games to play with that give you the chance to have fun while learning physics.

We also have a Roller Coaster that allows a ball to roll from the top of the track through hills and valleys and to the end. Do you know about the physics of roller coasters?

The higher you start the ball on the Roller Coaster track, the better chance it has making it over the first hill. The higher the ball’s starting point, the greater the energy it has at the bottom. On top of each hill, the amount of energy the ball has is called potential energy. Physics4Kids will teach you about potential energy.

The Humor Writer tells us that “physics is the scientific study of many things, such as motion, force, energy, light and sound. It includes gravity, friction and speed – all things that contribute to the way roller coasters operate”. Humor Writer also teaches us about the history of roller coasters.

This is a picture of the oldest working roller coaster Leap-the-Dips in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it’s 109 years old. Built in 1902 by the E. Joy Morris Company and in 1996 was named a National Historic Landmark. It is also the last known example of a Side Friction Figure Eight roller coaster. That means that it is made up of low flat turns and long straightaways with small dips in the the track. There aren’t many of these roller coasters left but learning about the way they have changed throughout the years is interesting.

Speaking of interesting… did you know that August 16th is Roller Coaster Day? Maybe celebrate by going to a theme park or make your very own roller coaster. Zoom gives instructions on how to make one. Send us a picture or let us know what you like about roller coasters!

Summer Reading Club

8 08 2011

Finding ways to spend your vacation is half the fun of summer. But after many, many days without school sometimes you may find yourself bored. Well, writer Jenny Rosenstrach was taught by her mother that “Only boring people get bored”.

Have you ever thought about the challenge of a summer reading list? Jenny has playfully created a point system to encourage her children to entertain themselves with fabulous books whether it be a picture book, a chapter book or even a comic book. After reading a few books and obtaining a specific number of points, her child will be able to collect prizes. Here is Jenny’s detailed account of her Summer Book Club.

Scholastic gives kids the task of logging the minutes that they read not just how many books that are completed. Scholastic invites kids to Read for the World Record and attempt to have the name of their school placed in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.

If you’d like a list from Scholastic of books for ages 3-5 click here!

Ages 6-7? Click here!

Ages 8-10? Click here!

Ages 10-12? Click here!

Take a look at how we use children’s stories here at the Museum.

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Calling All Super Sleuths: Get a Clue Camp

2 08 2011

The more you have it, the less you see. What is it?

Read this post to find out!

This week, the Museum is holding a Get A Clue camp. During the week kids get the chance to be a real gumshoe by learning about the mystery behind science and science behind the mystery. They have opportunities to explore optical illusions, learn problem solving skills by cracking codes, and even get to solve a real mystery!

Get A Clue campers navigate a "Laser" Alarm System to reach a vital clue!

Have you ever heard of a man named Sherlock Holmes? He is a fictional character famous for his sleuthing and detective skills. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the author of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson. They solved many mysteries together even when given only a small amount of clues. If you’d like to learn more about Sherlock Holmes, click here!

Keep reading this post to discover a list of detective supplies and to find the answer to the riddle!

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