The Wonders of Freedom
By Jacques Prevert
Between the teeth of a trap
The paw of a white fox
And blood on the snow
The blood of the white fox
And tracks in the snow
The tracks of the white fox
Who escapes on three legs
In the setting sun
With between his own teeth
A hare that is still alive.
Looking up at the space exhibit, which includes models of the International Space Station and Shuttle Discovery and a walk-in capsule.
A model of the shipyards in Boston Harbor of bygone days. The museum also has dinosaurs, an impressive collection of mounted insects and stuffed animals, half a floor devoted to human anatomy and fetal development, a mathematics area that my older son loved, a display of models of everything from how the pyramids were built to how Mount Everest was first climbed, and a section of hands-on science where kids could build and test miniature solar-powered cars.
Spectacularly lit jellyfish at the New England Aquarium, which has a large exhibit on jellies, their habitats and environmental threats.
The aquarium has three species of penguins in large open tanks, including these adorable African penguins...
...the Baby Blue penguins, my younger son's favorite, which inadvertently caused a great crisis as he got one of those flattened pennies with a penguin etched on it which he then promptly lost and cried over...
...and these lovely Rockhoppers that parade around looking quite snooty compared to the other browless swimming folk.
A Mandarin fish, one of the loveliest reef-dwellers I have ever seen, though the other kids were more interested in finding Nemo in the tank.
Much of this trip has felt like a tease, because I couldn't spend nearly enough time in any place to see everything I wanted, and today was particularly so. Our ostensible reasons for visiting both the science museum and the aquarium were fannish -- the LOTR exhibit at the one, Harry Potter on the IMAX at the other -- and both of these were absolutely spectacular, but they necessitated rushing through both exhibit halls. We missed the planetarium entirely and didn't see the sea lion show (not a great loss as we had just seen the one in Mystic), and we spent only a few minutes at displays where on days with more time we would have spent half an hour. The aquarium was particularly frustrating to me because I can stand in front of a large shark and ray tank for hours just watching them swim, even if there's nothing else to see, and I also love spending time at touch tanks and tidepools with anemones and seeing shore birds and this aquarium, which reminded me of the one in Baltimore in many good ways and wasn't as crowded as that one usually is, had everything I love.
The LOTR exhibit was amazing -- this is a terribly inadequate word for it in fact but I am terribly tired and can do no better at the moment. I swear that my heart flipped when I saw Boromir in the boat; I think I knew that he was going to be there, on the assumption that this exhibit would have most of the same items from Toronto and London, but actually coming around a corner from a display of Arwen's costumes and seeing him there...I had chills, and I might have had sniffles were it not for a couple of girls who could have been no more than 18 squealing, "Ohmigod, this is, like, the closest we are ever going to get to SEAN BEAN!" which made me smile. Anytime I saw anything that had to do with Boromir or Gondor, I got squishy -- and I was counting White Trees. Other highlights: the various green-screen and effects demonstrations, the Middle Earth measurement wall (I'm a dwarf, as is my older son; my younger son is a hobbit, and my husband "might be human"), the detail up close in Aragorn and Theoden's costumes, all the armor of the Rohirrim...there was an unfortunate lack of Faramir and Denethor, largely because the exhibit was put together before ROTK I'm sure, and I felt that elven culture was emphasized over that of dwarves and men, but these are tiny quibbles; the experience is quite overwhelming.
Prisoner of Azkaban on the IMAX screen was also amazing...partly because I noticed things in Lupin's office and the Great Hall and Hagrid's hut that I had never been able to see before, and partly just because the experience is so all-encompassing with that kind of sound and scope that it feels less like being in a theater and more like being in the movie -- flying a hippogriff and riding a broom! The show was nearly full, which surprised me given that it's a weeknight and the movie has been out for a long time and the woman selling tickets said that the Spider-Man showings had not been particularly full. Alan Rickman, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman that much larger than life are just irresistible...it's also possible to see vicissitudes of Snape's expressions when Dumbledore introduces Lupin and when they're talking about Black breaking into the castle that are wonderful. This was viewing number six for me, and so perfect that I would say I probably won't see it again in a theater except that because it was so perfect I am of course craving it again. I am also absolutely dying to see M&C on an IMAX screen -- this is the first time I've ever seen a theatrical release as opposed to a documentary in an IMAX theater, and I would love to get used to it.
Tomorrow we are going to the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill and Boston Common (and, if we have time, back to the aquarium for long enough to see if some kind soul will get my younger son another penguin penny if we give them the 51 cents) before having dinner with windsweptaway, a friend of many years' duration whom I have not seen since before she was pregnant with her second son -- we'll meet him in the evening! I'm hoping to get the one of the art museums as well, but am making seeing people a priority and am going to try to hook up with a bunch on Wednesday when we are also taking the kids to Lexington and Concord, so we will see what we see and not worry about the rest!