Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Death Valley: The Hottest Place on Earth

Temperature reading at Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley
The highest temperature ever recorded in the world was in Death Valley on July 10, 1913 at a whopping 134 degrees. During the late afternoon of our first day in Death Valley National Park, the temperature at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center read 112 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park
There are a few reasons why Death Valley experiences such extreme temperatures. The most obvious reason though is the elevation. On our second day in Death Valley we visited the Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level which is not only the lowest point in the valley but the lowest point in North America. It wasn't 134 degrees on our visit but it was oppressively hot by the time we got there around noon. Signs throughout the park warn agains walking after 10 a.m. and they aren't kidding. 

Salt Flats at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park

Monday, June 19, 2017

Museum of Natural Curiosity

The Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point is probably the most elaborate, amazing kid's museum that I have ever seen. The fact that I didn't see many pictures or a map on the website set me up for quite a surprise during our afternoon visit.

The Rainforest is essentially a giant playground 3 stories high that is robust enough for adults to traverse. 

Above the Rainforest there is a Ropes Course built into the rafter area where I espied this kid going along all by himself which did cause me a certain amount of angst.

Then there is the Kidopolis which is a very elaborate kids town filled with rooms dedicated to different themes: a laundromat, a 2-story library, a magicians shop, and a community theater to name a few. Jonah changed the Kiosk on the theatre to read "LEGO Batman."

There is also a huge Water Works section and many nooks and crannies inside that I did not photograph.

Outside is a huge Discovery Garden complete with faux caves that imitate the nearby Timpanogos Cave National Monument, as well as a goldfish pond and several play areas not pictured.

These pictures do not do this place justice by any means. If you have kids and are in the Salt Lake City area, this place should be high on the priority list. 

With the ASTC Travel Passport Program, we saved $39 on admission. However, I would say this place is worth paying the fee if you plan on staying a few hours. This was our second stop for the day after the Museum of Ancient Life so we only stayed a couple of hours.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point

While tagging along on a a work retreat with daddy, we took advantage of the of the ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers) Travel Passport Program. We are a member of the Orlando Science Center which participates in the program and allows us to visit other participating museums at free or reduced rates. The list of participating museums and science centers is extensive. 

We took advantage of this program more than once during our week in the Salt Lake City area. Our first stop was the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, which happened to be right next door to our hotel. 

Since we saved $39 by not having to pay admission, I decided to pay the $4/student fee for the 12 minute Jr. Paleo Lab where the kids were able to use the same type of drill that scientists use to prepare and clean fossils and on a real fossil. 

The Fossil Lab at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point

Tree Fern fossils among others

Supersaurus skeleton at the Museum of Ancient Life

This is a fossilized dorsal vertebrae of a Supersaurus

Jonah with an Allosaurus skeleton at the Museum of Ancient Life

The museum had a cast skeleton of an Allosaurus. We found a true fossil from this species on the grounds of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry only a few days earlier.

Utahsaurus at the Museum of Ancient Life

T-Rex display at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point

Smallest mounted mammoth skeleton at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point

This baby mammoth was under a year old when it died. It is the smallest mounted mammoth skeleton in existence according to the signage.