It was a beautiful crisp sunny day Saturday when my crew of five ventured over to the Robot Zoo exhibit at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The website said it would show the biomechanics of complex animal robots, so what does that mean, and more importantly would the kiddos like it?
I highly recommend checking out this latest addition to the Space & Rocket Center. But hurry, it’s there until September 13th – after that they pack it up and move it to its next destination.
Um, the kids LOVED it! I have three: a 9-year-old boy, a 6-year-old boy, and a 6-month-old girl and honestly this visit could have gone either way between meltdowns and tantrums, but it was really good. I knew I would love it, I find beauty in large industrial machines, bridges, and even concrete blends (I know, I’m a geek for sure), and I wasn’t disappointed with the exhibit. There were seven HUGE robotic animals: a giraffe, platypus, house fly, grasshopper, bat, giant squid, and a rhinoceros. I wanted to just stop and look for hours at the magnificent creatures.
I could, and want to, wax poetically about the beauty of the robots and seeing the mechanical marvels in action (I mean you can even see the “skeletons” and “inner workings” of the animals… so cool… and the head turns, wing flaps, pincers on the grasshopper… SO COOL!), but I know you want me to get down to the review already.
So What’s In A Robot Zoo?
The kids raced from interactive exhibit to interactive exhibit, this isn’t just stand and look at the cool robots, this is get in there and time how long you can hang like a bat, camouflage yourself like a chameleon and watch yourself disappear on the tv screen. Chameleon kids can play with the “tongue gun”, and help squids swim through jet propulsion (that was the boys’ favorite)! You get to move the giant chameleon’s head, body, eyes, tongue, and even help it change color. Even the baby stayed entertained with all the activity and the moving “animals”. I was surprised, but all of the “littles” I saw were equally intrigued. I really liked this exhibit and the boys and hubby all gave it two thumbs up as well.
All in all we spent about an hour in the exhibit the first time, then we went around and traveled through the rest of the Space & Rocket Center. I always forget how much fun and neat this place is. The boys went rock climbing, and the older one had a fun time playing with the virtual reality Mars flyer simulator. We walked through the Army and Space exhibits which always make me misty-eyed and think about my grandpa who loved space exploration – and then we went outside. My husband had a lot of fun showing the boys all of the old rockets, missiles, and aircraft that are housed in the yard. After we looked around the rest of the museum, we went back and looked and played with the exhibits in the Robot Zoo. I suggest experiencing it again if time allows because there is just so much to see and do and let sink in.
A word of warning to diaper-wearing babies, there were no baby changing tables in the restrooms – at least not the one we experienced – so you may need to get creative regarding diaper change. We were lucky and didn’t need to do that..but just a heads up from one mom to the next! Also, for my homeschooling moms & dads here’s a cool link to a teacher’s guide. I’m thinking a seriously cool field trip combining biology and physics!
Don’t let Robot Zoo pass you by, swing by and check it out!
Robot Zoo Details
Katie Mullins Demirjian is a mom of 2 boys and a newly added baby girl, a wife, and a banker by day. She loves all aspects of food: eating it, cooking it, and baking it! She is frugal, but likes to splurge occasionally. She resides in Madison with her brood, back from a recent 3 year stay in London.