Earlier this week, Raspberry was derailed by a cold. Lucas thinks she caught it at Finnish school last weekend, but I think she got it from not being adequately dressed as the weather’s getting cooler. Either way, she doesn’t get sick very often and when she does, it takes a lot out of her. We spent Wednesday inside, even though a rare gorgeous autumn sun was out in the afternoon (you know, when everything looks all goldeny-orange and like the 1960s) and I was dying to get out, never mind that it was fairly windy and I had a sick kid. But she was feeling way better the following day, save for a drippy nose, and decided she’d like a museum day. So to the World Museum we went.

During most of the winter and spring, the World Museum was a staple in our routine. We used to go as frequently as a few times a week, often enough that the staff recognized us (we would chat with them and ask lots of questions too). I will admit that this museum’s my favourite, because it has a natural history collection and we’re all biology buffs here. It also helps that it’s a twenty minute walk from our apartment. We avoided the museum for most of the summer, except for select days when there were crafts happening. But we’d just go for the crafts and not really look at their collection. Crowds, especially summer vacation crowds, aren’t my thing, you see, and I don’t think Raspberry’s a big fan either.

Our visit to the museum on Thursday was the first in quite a long while, and it was a great thing as Raspberry was more engaged with the exhibits than she has been in a while. It was also really nice that it was quiet. There weren’t many other kids around. In fact, most of the other visitors seemed to be university-aged, which I like since I feel most at home around students (ha!). I dislike being at family-friendly activities, as for one, they’re often tacky and secondly, they’re always teeming with children. I can handle my kid, but when there’s hundreds of them, it’s another story. But I’m veering off on a tangent.

We started off at the aquarium, where she tracked a marbled mountain catfish (or as she calls it, a leopard fish), declaring it to be her favourite. It happened to be feeding time for the fish in a couple of tanks, and as the staff were leaving the room, Raspberry went up to them to ask them what exactly they feed the fish. We’ve always encouraged her to talk to and ask other adults questions if she didn’t know something. I know when I was her age (and through much of my teenaged and early adult life), I was always afraid to talk to adults or strangers, let alone ask them questions. But it comes easily to her and she’s always willing to go up to someone to find out an answer. Anyway, she found out the fish are fed fish flakes, and I asked about what happened to the cuttlefish (they’ve got short lifespans) and got into a brief discussion about the lifespans of cephalopods. We looked quite closely at the rockpool tanks, trying to identify the various organisms within, and wondered why the wolffish’s tank had gone all dark. I don’t think Raspberry has ever been that interested in the rockpool tank, and I’ve never really given it more than a cursory glance myself, so it was nice to really look at it for a change.

We hit up the bug house after. That’s Raspberry’s favourite part of the museum, so obviously we had to go. We didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the actual bugs themselves, as that’s what we always do. Most of the insects are the same ones we see all the time anyway, except for the domino cockroach. Honestly, despite the fact that it’s a cockroach, it looks rather adorable (this is me equating spotty things with cuteness). Of course, I also say this with the cockroaches in a glass tank. If they were crawling around on the ground, I might change my tune. We were also in the natural history centre, as I don’t recall the last time we were in there really engaging with the specimens. This visit saw us opening drawers and checking out all the different snail shells. I actually had no idea that snails live in the giant conchs that one might often see on display at a marine tourist shop. The thought of a snail that large is simultaneously mind-blowing and creepy. It’d be so cool to see one in real life. Raspberry did the animal/vegetable/mineral sorting activity for the millionth time, this time with new specimens, like a fox’s vertebrae and scapula and a few different pinecones, and we looked at the large animal skulls. I have a boner for bones of all kinds and it’d totally make my day if I found a real animal bone (one that didn’t come from an animal that was consumed). I’m not sure what it is exactly about the bones that draws me to them, maybe the striking similarities of the bones across so many different species, but they’re what I enjoy most at the museums. That said, I’m glad I have a partner and a child who share my appreciation of bones, among other natural phenomena.

I’d initially thought our visit to the museum was going to be short, but I guess I should’ve expected that Raspberry would be more into the exhibits since it’s been such a long time since we were there. We were there until about ten minutes from closing; Raspberry always wants to be the absolute last one to leave the museum but this time she didn’t mind not staying until the very end. I’m not sure when the next visit will be or how that’ll go compared to this one, but I think we’ll be there less this fall and winter. The museums don’t change up their permanent collections very often and more importantly, there are other places to explore. We’ll probably start branching out to other cities very soon. Gotta make good use of that rail pass and our time here! Ever the wanderluster, I’m looking forward to it.

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