Friday, March 19, 2010

Exploring Simon's Town.

As I mentioned in a previous post we've been doing a bit of exploring lately....

Exploring museums may seem like something for older children but I feel that the more rich and varied information I expose our children to the more I am likely to discover their interests, increase their vocabulary and general knowledge and learn about our immediate world in a very relaxed way.

my princess teaching her bunny to count

Our first stop was the Simon's Town Museum. This is a heritage museum. It's a small museum, but it has a wealth of information. It covers a lot of early Cape history with many pictures, information and genuine articles all over the museum. There's a bit of wildlife, education, war, politics, shipwrecks and day to day living covered as you walk from room to room. Jenna loved the little doll's house, old children's toys and old school desk and abacus. While Michael enjoyed everything to do with guns, ships and shipwrecks. Of course I didn't have much time to read the wealth of information on the walls as each time the children excitedly discovered something new we moved on very quickly! I learnt that if I was going to share any new information with them I'd have to read and then call them back to share a brief summary of the info :-)

the beautiful doll's house

The Just Nuisance posters and parafenalia captured Jenna's attention for the longest. She wanted to know all about this special Great Dane who had become a member of the Navy and rode on the trains with the Navy men.
When we had finished touring the museum it was fun to look through the telescope which looks over Simon's Town harbour. For me this was a lovely, small, interesting museum to visit. The assistants are very eager to help and they obviously enjoy their job!

what a big gun!

please take a photo of me and bunny with the ship's wheel mom

Jen, it's my turn now.

We needed a place to eat lunch so we made our way to the jetty which is alongside the yacht club. On the way we passed the Just Nuisance statue and got our first look at *cannon guns*(these have become a highlight to most of our Simon's Town visits.) Unfortunately lunch was cut short as it was rather difficult to hold onto in the wind! The car became the ideal picnic spot in the end.

Just Nuisance

my first cannon gun ride

For our second expedition I decided to take a train to Simon's Town. Dad takes a train to work almost everyday and the children are always asking for a trip. But when we arrived at the station we discovered that the train line from Fish Hoek to Simon's Town is being worked on, so no trains are traveling that way! Plan B!!! Take the bus to Simon's Town-something else we've also always wanted to do. So we happily boarded our bus to take us along the beautiful coastline for our outing. This time we explored the Navy Museum. After a walk up the hill to the museum-which took a lot of effort on Michael's behalf and even more encouragement from mom-we arrived at the museum.

two very excited kiddies wait for the bus to leave

more cannon guns

This museum has lots of little nooks and crannies to explore. If you don't go looking around the corners and up the stairs you may just miss something really interesting! Like the clock tower. The steep stairs were very thrilling for the kids to navigate!

ooooh mommy, this is scary!

this is what we saw at the top of those steep stairs

Besides lots of navy equipment there's also old fire station tools and transport. Amazing what they used to use-how did they manage to successfully put out fires with these old things? Or did they?!
Here we also had a look into a submarine and saw a large variety of guns.

old fire wagon

helicopter-another love of Michael's

inside a model submarine

The following trip was a great follow up to the Navy Museum. Every year the Navy pulls out all stops to put on a week-end display of their ships, submarines, helicopters etc. and the public is welcome to board most of what's on display.

some impressive marching skills and gun "tricks"

The submarine

Unfortunately I didn't think through things very well! After standing in a queue to get on board a submarine for a good 30 minutes I realised that Michael's busy little body would find it quite a challenge to walk across the top of a sub, stand on top in a queue and then climb down stairs and stay within an enclosed space for a further 30 minutes! At the last minute I had to tell him mommy had made a mistake, I didn't think it would be safe for him! He handled it quite well..... that is until he saw his sister coming out the sub with friends of ours! That was too much to handle :-( for my little man. Although most of the outing was fun, I learnt that I really need to think about my children's different personalities when choosing what activities to do! On the other hand Jenna did amazingly well. My little girl is really growing up-she handled leaving us on the quay side to go with a friend into an unknown territory! And that's after standing in the queue saying: mommy I feel a little scared to do this! I was really proud of her confidence to go it "alone".

exiting the submarine: so proud of herself!

I'm learning little things about my children as we go on these expeditions and it's adding to my understanding of their own uniqueness. Jenna seems to absorb all the information and lets out little gems of information at the strangest times-often when something has sparked her memory of something we saw. This can be a few days or even weeks later! It seems like she needs time to ponder before she shares.
Michael on the other hand has really surprised me with what he is able to remember! He willingly shares what he has experienced with his daddy at supper time when we are chatting about our day. His vocabulary is definitely growing-one of his favourite requests is "Mommy can we go to the museum?" Yes, my special little man, we'll go back again soon!