Cranbrook Educational Community along Woodward Avenue in the suburban Detroit city of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan this science center and museum houses a collection of more than 150,000 historically and scientifically relevant items ranging from meteoroids to mastodon tusks. It features a state-of-the-art planetarium, a space observatory, and over a dozen galleries that cover topics including archeology, anthropology, astronomy, biology, geology, and physics.
Three of the most popular displays at the Cranbook Institute of Science are a fossil cast of the "Black Beauty" T-Rex, its "Hezy" mastodon recreation & the "Steggy" statue that welcomes visitors near the entrance of the museum.
One of the most well preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils ever found called Black Beauty is on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada near where it was excavated in 1980. It was given this name because during fossilisation the minerals in the ground where it was found transformed the dinosaur's bones a shiny dark color. Black Beauty is considered one of the most complete T Rex skeletons ever found. From castings made of the original Black Beauty fossils, visitors to Cranbrook Institute of Science can get a close up view of an accurate replica of this amazing dinosaur skeleton rather than having to venture to Canada to get a peek at it.
Knowing that a multitude of local school districts were going to be off for Spring Break the same week as our visit, the museum brought in a variety of partners to provide interactive, informational activities for kids that were provided at no additional charge to the Cranbrook Institute of Science's regular admission price. Activities taking place during this "Spring Into Science" special event ranged from learning about bird watching to checking out a Chevy Volt. My kids really enjoyed making some jewelry from recycled materials and learning how to paddle a kayak during our visit.
They also got a close up look at a live Sea Lamprey, called the vampire of the Great Lakes, which feeds by attaching a mouth full of teeth to a fish and draining it of its blood. As part of this presentation by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, my kids learned how invasive plants and animals are damaging our local environment.
Additionally, Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services had a nice setup that let kids pretend to fish with a pole that had a magnet at the end of its line. Kids could compare the laminated cardboard fish they caught to a chart listing species found in local lakes and rivers. Plus they provided information on which fish were the safest to eat and how often it is appropriate for people to consume local fish based upon the pollution of our waterways.
TUTANKHAMUN: "Wonderful Things" from the Pharaoh's Tomb, which will be on display through September 3, 2017. It features more than 100 detailed replicas of items that archeologist Howard Carter found during his 1922 discovery and exploration of Egyptian Pharaoh King Tut's tomb. The exhibition provided my kids with an eye opening look at how life was before way before the technological conveniences they enjoy today. They were also spooked out a bit by some of the mummies and statues being exhibited so you may want to be conscious about the "scary factor" when considering taking children to this special exhibit. The TUTANKHAMUN display will be replaced by one focused on CHOCOLATE in September. It promises to explore the plant, products, history, and culture of chocolate through the lenses of botany, ecology, anthropology, economics, conservation, and popular culture.
My kids and I really enjoyed our visit to the Cranbrook Institute of Science. For more information about planning your own visit, please visit science.cranbrook.edu.