Yesterday, we ventured to the Natural History Museum. In the car to the Metro station her friend and I discussed why we were making this trip. I suggested that young children, even first graders, can grasp concepts like evolution and she fully agreed that her little sister, a first grader, could understand the basic evolution concepts.
My daughter was getting a bit of pre-adolescent attitude about my insistence that she understand evolution. She was ready to whine and fuss, when her friend started playing with the exhibit interactives and suddenly she realized that it was okay to have fun. They watched the video clips, had their faces transformed into Neanderthal features, examined skeletons, tried to match up hand prints on the cave walls with their own. What really caught my daughter's attention (as she told me in the car on the way home) was the full skull of a Homo Sapien, that fell into two pieces when she touched it(she shrieked thinking that she had broken it). It exposed the brain underneath, so that the folds of the brain could be seen. Once she realized that it was supposed to open up, she relaxed and studied for a bit.
Her friend's favorite part was in the mammal section, the lion attacking a large ungulate, I don't remember which species. They both agreed that the massive crystals in the Rocks and Minerals exhibit were really cool.
Lunch was a bit of a challenge, I'm allergic to milk, cheese, most bread products (because they contain milk) and try to avoid simple carbs...guess what are the only things her friend eats...cheese and simple carbs. Pizza was out for me, burgers and any other meat and all veggies were out for her. Sigh. We walked up and down and around several blocks until we found a spot that could feed us both.
What I usually find the most interesting of these trips is that a few weeks after the trip something will come up in conversation that usually shows that my daughter was paying closer attention to details than I had originally believed. I'll have to be patient to see what surfaces.