Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Поезд (Poezd)

Shlomik loves trains. Whenever he sees a train in a book, on TV or the above-ground subway, he points and happily says "Поезд!" (poezd, train in Russian). Every day, when I take him to day care, we pass under the Q train. That has quickly become the main attraction of our short walk. Starting from a block behind and until a block after, he's looking for the train and saying "поезд." If we're really lucky, there will be two trains passing at the same time and maybe another one in thirty seconds.

Shlomik's love of trains gave me a great idea, to take him to the New York Transit Museum. We realized that idea this Sunday. The museum is located underground and the entrance is made to look exactly like the subway entrance. The first floor houses the gift shop and the main part of the museum, including attractions for kids. The basement is a real train station with two trains on each side which are made up of different passenger cars from different years. One of the trains is terminated by a yellow work car on one end and a locomotive on the other. You can enter and walk around all of the cars, except for the locomotive. There's also a floor display of the drive system.

On the main floor, there are photographic and video presentations. There are decommissioned turn-styles, money counting machines, money changing machines, a control unit for raising and lowering a bridge, model trains and much more. For kids, there are interactive exhibits showing how different engines work, an exhibit letting kids "refuel" a bus, operational traffic lights and even an MTA trashcan which is topped by a fiberglass cover in case visitors decide it's a trashcan instead of an exhibit. The main attraction for kids are the front parts of two buses and and a train where a driver sits. They can sit in the driver's seat, spin the wheel, turn on and off lights and windshield wipers and flip switches and press buttons. Shlomik had a grand time pretending to drive a bus and a train.

On the way out, we visited the gift shop. The gift shop is surprisingly cheap and stocked with merchandise for both kids and adults. We bought Shlomik a metal locomotive, t-shirt, train whistle and a children's book about trains. Next to the store, Shlomik almost got into a fight with the museum's feline mascot. He loves cats and now he finally met a trained cat that didn't run away from him. He cornered the cat and one of them was about to go into offensive before we dragged him away.

We all enjoyed the trip. One part of the trip that I didn't at all enjoy, though, was dragging the big heavy carriage. They should really make the train and museums more carriage and wheelchair accessible.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

At the zoo

This Sunday we went to Prospect Park Zoo. The main reason to go there on chol chamoed Sukkot is tashlich. There's a pond with fish in the World of Animals exhibit that's perfect for saying tashlich.

This time, we went with Shlomik. We went to the zoo a little late and didn't have enough time to see all of the exhibits. We did, however, have enough time to visits the red pandas, meerkats and the petting zoo. Shlomik absolutely loved the red pandas and was especially happy when one of them walked near the glass, right in front of him. The meerkats were also a great source of enjoyment for him.

The most hilarious part of the trip was at the petting zoo. Initially, Shlomik was very happy to get acquainted with the goat and the sheep. He was even trying to stick his hands inside, through the fence. The friendliness, however, quickly turned to displeasure over a very crucial item, food. My mother went to get some animal feed pellets and started feeding the sheep. Shlomik was very much enjoying the show and even wanted to feed them himself, or so we thought. After giving him a single pellet, he immediately attempted to put it in his mouth. After I snatched it away, he started acting as if the sheep were taking away his food. He started trying to hit my mother for feeding them and trying to hit them for eating his food. I think he was also saying no. From the side, it was very funny.

Inside, there was a cow and two llamas. The cow, Shlomik's favorite animal, was unfortunately too busy eating hay and was standing with her back to us. Trying to bribe her with animal feed didn't work. The llamas, on the other hand, were very happy to get their pellets. Shlomik was at first somewhat afraid of touching the llamas, but after I took his hand petted the llamas, he became brave enough to do it himself.

Altogether, it was a nice trip. We all enjoyed it very much and are planning on coming there again soon. First, I have to renew my membership online or at the aquarium. Unfortunately, no such option at the zoo.