Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘museums’ Category

I’ve been wanting to bring the kids to the DreamsWorks Animation and The Deep exhibitions at the Art Science Museum for a long time. We tried during the National Day weekend when the entrance fee was waived, but the queue was so ridiculous there was really no point. I had to humbly concede my husband was right (he was against the idea of going down during the busy weekend, but let me try anyway).

Hubby had said he wanted to go for the exibitions, so we waited for him for more than a month. But since the DreamWorks exhibition is ending on Sunday, and since he’s gone on holiday with the friends without us, we decided to go without him! Wahaha!

If you haven’t gone for the exhibition, go!

I have two good reasons for you. First, both exhibitions are so interesting and one ends this Sunday! Second, it’s a great place to hide from the haze!

Penguins from the show Madagascar

Penguins from the show Madagascar

The day we went, the PSI soared above 300. We were happily oblivious to it all since we were wandering about below the concrete lotus.

It makes sense to go for both exhibitions because the price for the DreamWorks exhibition alone is $15 (for local adults) and $10 (for local kids), while the price for both DreamWorks and The Deep is $19.50 and $13.50 respectively. If you, like us, were already planning to catch both exhibitions, this is a good deal provided you have the time to spare. It even comes with a free beverage coupon per ticket, and free tickets to the Singapore Stories exhibition.

Staring in awe at a life-sized model of Toothless

Staring in awe at a life-sized model of Toothless

When I told the boys where we were going that day, they were so excited. Catching a glimpse of Toothless from the foyer above made them literally jump for joy, and they couldn’t wait to go see the model.

By the time we got the tickets it was about 10.30am. The kids usually get hungry between 11 to 11.30am. Knowing we usually take a very long time to get through exhibitions, and having two exhibitions on the same day, I decided that even though the crowd was building up, we should go get some food to fuel the kids. That way, when people headed off for lunch, we could continue to enjoy the place. That’s probably the best tip I can give any parent handling the kids on their own while on an outing there. Bring enough food along. Sometimes it’s worth the detour and delay.

We got sandwiches, bread and bananas from Cold Storage at the basement of MBS, then went back into the museum. True enough, just as we were going to go into the exhibition, Ellery said he was hungry. Score! I felt so pleased with myself.

The Art Science Museum has these lovely big benches outside the exhibition spaces, and it’s perfect as a rest stop. Ellery ate his sandwich, Asher ate a banana, and as I was getting hungry too, I ate my sandwich as well, sharing some with Alyssa. Hungry kids are not happy kids. And happy kids make a happy mummy. So it was time well spent!

Finally all fuelled up and ready to go, we jumped into the DreamWorks Animation exhibition. We have only watched a few DreamWorks cartoons, but the ones we have watched, we love. In particular, the boys are gaga over How to Train Your Dragon. Recently I found a book called How to Train Your Dragon: Incomplete Book of Dragons by Cressida Cowell, the creator of the How to Train Your Dragon Series that served as the inspiration for the movie. The boys have been talking about all kinds different types dragons mentioned in the book and which ones they want as pets. It’s times like those that make me very glad they both enjoy reading, so they can keep up with each other and have someone to talk to about the craze of the moment. They’ve long gone past the stage where I can keep up with their books, so I’m glad they have each other.

The exhibition brings you through the broad stages of creating an animated film. From imagining the character and his traits, developing the world the character lives in and where the story takes place, to story boarding and the animation itself. It was fascinating to see what some famous characters, like Shrek, looked like in the initial stages of development.

The Shrek & Donkey we are familiar with

The Shrek & Donkey we are familiar with. Come to think of it, it would probably have been more interesting to have taken a picture of an early-stage Shrek. Didn’t think of it while I was there – you’ll just have to go see it yourself!

It was also interesting to learn that the main characters from Madagascar were created based on a different shapes.

Shapes and characters

Shapes and characters

I liked how there were videos of the creators talking about the films and their development. For How to Train Your Dragon, they adapted the story to make it more suited to a cinematic experience. They created greater tension between the villagers of Berk and the dragons by starting the movie on the context of a war between the humans and the evil dragons. In the original story, everyone has a pet dragon. I liked that the boys understood how the movies may not follow the book exactly, and later on in the car, they were telling me what they liked more from the show and what they liked from the book.

Comparing the number of story boards needed for each film

Comparing the number of story boards needed for each film

I was so excited to see the actual set/prop used for Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit. I love Wallace and Gromit!

Cheeese! *waves hands in air*

Gromit

Gromit among the veggies

There were props and scale models of the sets used in the various films, and I loved looking at how detailed everything was.

Isle of Berk

Isle of Berk

Right down to the little sheep you see appear in the show

Right down to the little sheep you see appear in the show

Far Far Away

Far Far Away

The best thing about the DreamWorks Animation exhibition is that it’s very interactive. The boys enjoyed manipulating the facial features of the Hiccup, and controlling the background lighting for The Croods. Its fascinating to see all the parameters you can choose to control the characters face. Even different parts of the eyebrow were controlled with a different set of parameters. It then dawns upon you just how much time and effort is needed to make the films that we watch. All the expressions, every single one of those quick moments was created painstakingly by someone in the studio. Much less painstaking than it must have been way back when animation first began, but with technology they take everything further and even control things like how much light from fireworks you want reflecting off the character’s skin!

Manipulating facial features

Manipulating facial features

The kids loved the ‘ride’ on Toothless’ back, and it was Ellery’s favourite activity. Sitting in front of a very wide, curved screen, you can imagine sitting on Toothless and flying over Berk. Make sure you sit nearer the screen so that the two ends of the screen are beyond your field of vision. That really helps to immerse you in the experience. Each film was only 3 minutes, and we watched it several times until the kids were satisfied :)

Riding on Toothless!

Riding on Toothless!

Asher’s favourite bit was having a go at animation. There was a room with 5 to 6 animation stations set up. You could create your very own animation from any drawing you wanted. Asher created an animation of toothless bending and flying over another giant dragon, nearly getting eaten in the process. Ellery’s animation showed dragon #1 (there was a name but it was so long I don’t remember ;) ) happily frothing up the sea water when suddenly another dragon (with a name that I also don’t remember) leapt up to eat it.

This was where our eat-before-the-exhibition tactic worked to our advantage. We got to the animation room around noon when most of the crowd had left. The boys still had to wait while others finished up their animation, but there weren’t that many people. When they got their turn they could draw more and create more images to make a longer animation sequence. Later as more and more people came, and with the stares and frowns from hovering parents, everyone had to have a shorter turn.

SONY DSC

Using the animation station

Ellery

Ellery’s dragon

We popped in to ‘ride’ on Toothless one more time before heading out to the common corridor for a quick lunch break before going to The Deep.

Toothless browsing some books

Toothless browsing some books

Lunch!

A quick lunch

Read more on our experience at The Deep soon!

 

———————————————————————-

This post contains affiliate links.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I confess I was a blur Mummy, and didn’t realise that Asher had no school on Thursday until a day before when I heard it from other Mummies! So I felt a bit guilty, but then I was so happy too because we’d have a day to spend together! I decided to let Ellery skip school the next day and that we’d head to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

I’ve been looking forward to it’s opening since it was first mentioned in the news a few years back. And when the announcement came that it was opened to the public, I was a bit wistful that the earliest we could go was in June. Asher’s in the afternoon session, so there really isn’t any opportunity to go on weekdays, and weekends are out cos the hubby isn’t so interested to venture there. So I was so happy and the boys were very excited about being able to head there to see the dinosaur fossils. My mum decided to tag along too since she had not been there either.

The place isn’t very big, but there are so many interesting exhibits to see. They estimate that it would take 1.5hrs to go through the museum. For kids, double that. We easily spent 3 hours there, and even then there were parts that we didn’t look at in such great detail. There are too many interesting things to elaborate upon here, it’s best you go see for yourself!

There’s no denying that the fossils were majestic, but I felt that they looked a little bit cramped in that space. However, knowing the background to the building and the museum, it’s amazing that we even have them in Singapore at all!

The museum is so much more than just the fossils though. The plants, the insects, the mammals, the reptiles…wow! So many specimens! I remember seeing some of the specimens in the old Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, and though it was small it already so interesting. What more this place where more of the collection can be unveiled. And I love looking at the names of the different creatures because sometimes they have such funny names, like the Old Woman Octopus!

We would have stayed longer if our bellies didn’t demand that we left. We had come in the morning at 1030, and our stomachs were calling out for food. I’m sure we’ll come back again.

Welcomed by a kaleidoscope of specimens

Welcomed by a kaleidoscope of specimens

Mmmmuuaaak. We love you dino!

Mmmmuuaaak. I love you dino!

UUUUMMMMM! I'm a T-Rex and I WANT TO EAT YOU!!!

UUUUMMMMM! I’m a T-Rex and I WANT TO EAT YOU!!!

The fossils of the three sauropods

The fossils of the three sauropods. There’s a light display every 30 mins.

Nice views of the fossils from the second floor

Nice views of the fossils from the second floor

The real fossil of the head still buried in the rock. The scientists were afraid that excavating it could compromise the specimen. So the ones on display are casts of the real thing.

The real fossil of the head still buried in the rock. The scientists were afraid that excavating it could compromise the specimen. So the ones on display are casts of the real thing.

Pretending to be the bittern

Pretending to be the Bittern

I never realised how big frigate birds were!

I never realised how big frigate birds were!

This is the most hilarious mating display ever. He puffs up into a flat plate!

This is the most hilarious mating display ever. He puffs up into a flat plate!

Croc looking scary...

Croc looking scary…

...Until you look at this eyes and he seems a bit goofy :)

…Until you look at this eyes and he seems a bit goofy :) “duh…”

Amazed how the size of the triceretops' leg.

Amazed how the size of the triceretops’ leg

 The Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthopod, and can reach 3.8m end to end! 

The Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthopod, and can reach 3.8m end to end!

Compare it with the Coral Spider Crab which is one of the smallest crabs in the world. They seldom exceed 2mm in length!

Compare it with the Coral Spider Crab which is one of the smallest crabs in the world. They seldom exceed 2mm in length!

The most boring specimen in the museum. The Boring Giant Clam.

The most boring specimen in the museum.
The Boring Giant Clam.

Old Woman Octopus

The wrinkly Old Woman Octopus. 

Beautiful colours on the nymph!

Beautiful colours on the nymph!

Pterosaurs!

Pterosaurs! Ellery was sooo excited to see them!

Funny flattened specimens. Probably because people wanted to find an easy way to transport them.

Funny flattened specimens. Probably because people wanted to find an easy way to transport them in the past.

Most of the bird specimens were preserved with their legs and wings tucked in, and it seemed quite normal. But I couldn't help laughing when I saw this Barred Eagle-Owl. The expression on his face made me think of a superhero diving to save some innocent people from baddies! "I'm coming!"

Most of the bird specimens were preserved with their legs and wings tucked in, and it seemed quite normal. But I couldn’t help laughing when I saw this Barred Eagle-Owl. The expression on his face made me think of a superhero diving to save some innocent people from baddies! “Here I come to save the day!”

Do take note that you need to purchase tickets from SISTIC before you go down to the museum. They do not sell tickets at the museum itself. This is done to ensure that the museum doesn’t get over-crowded. There are 6 visitor sessions each day that you can choose from when purchasing your tickets, and entry is strictly by session timings only.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Faculty of Science
National University of Singapore
2 Conservatory Drive
Singapore 117377

Read Full Post »

Asher took part in his first art exhibition. I was thrilled to learn it would be held at the Arts House because it’s such a beautiful building, and so historically significant.

He painted a fish and called it ‘Fish in the Sea’. It took several lessons to finish this piece, and he was happy with the final outcome. There were times when he was starting to lose steam in the process, especially when doing the collage bits because he found it tedious to tear and stick the little pieces of paper. I like how it turned out though, and he’s happy with it too.

It was good to see all the other art pieces on display as well, and especially interesting to see how one theme was interpreted by people in so many different ways.

Art is one of the things that really makes Asher happy. I wonder how far he’ll take it :)

All of us with his art work

All of us with his art work

On the wall with other sea creature art works

On the wall with other sea creature art works

He likes art!

He liked the other art pieces he saw there too

Outside the Arts House & Ellery photobombing the pic

Outside the Arts House & Ellery photobombing the pic

Being boys

Being boys

Ellery so pleased that he could climb up on his own

Ellery so pleased that he could climb up on his own

Read Full Post »

With the September school holidays now over I decided to bring the kids to check out Sensorium 360° – Contemporary Art and the Sensed World. I generally avoid going to such places during the school holidays because it’s usually extremely crowded. When we went, there was just the right amount of people to create some buzz without it feeling packed.

Sensorium 360° is an exhibition of Southeast Asian and Asian contemporary art that explores the senses and its complexities. It’s not a dedicated children’s exhibition like the Children’s Festival, but there is plenty to fascinate little ones, and quite a few interactive installations that are suitable for kids.

The first installation we went to was The Overview Installation by Eugene Soh. Using a pair of goggles with screens embedded inside, you have a third-person experience of the self. You see yourself through the eyes of a CCTV camera and try to navigate your way through a maze that, without the goggles, would have been very easy to go through. In that state of augmented reality, a simple maze is not so simple anymore. It was amusing to see people ‘walking through’ walls as they struggled to make sense of their spatial position. It’s easy to tell who has better spatial awareness, and it doesn’t appear to be gender related.

Asher trying to go through the maze

Asher trying to go through the maze

What he sees on the screen in the goggles

What he sees on the screen in the goggles

The kids had a great time playing among…breasts! Haha! In noon-nom by Pinaree Sanpitak, the room is filled with cushions shaped like breasts (or Chinese baos, I thought). The artist wanted the reassert the significance of the female breast as a natural form the symbolises nourishment and comfort, as well as signifying the potency of the sensuous and spiritual feminine body. To touch, and be touched. Despite what the cushions were supposed to be, the boys had a great time pretending they were strange creatures living in a swamp.

The only one who fully got what it meant and was happy to just chill out and lie on the warm, soft, comforting breast was the still-being-breastfed Alyssa haha!

Jumping from cushion to cushion

Wheeeee!

Alyssa chilling on a large boob

Alyssa chilling on a large boob

I was surprised by how much I liked Chicken Rice in the Border by Bui Cong Khanh. When I read about it while the boys were jumping around noon-nom I didn’t think much of it. But when we actually went to see the installation I found myself being very intrigued by this concept of food representing your mixed heritage. I wondered what would be the boy’s Hoi-An Chicken Rice – the dish that represented the artist’s Vietnamese-Chinese heritage. With their Hokkien-Teochew-Malayali-touch-of-Peranakan heritage, I’d be hard-pressed to find a dish that represents them. Maybe we can invent something!

Beautiful watercolours on this sheet describing the ingredients that go into Hoi An Chicken Rice

Beautiful watercolours on this sheet describing the ingredients that go into Hoi An Chicken Rice

There were other installations that the boys really liked like Cage (a room full of lasers à la Matrix, very cool) and Twinning Machine 4.0 (a time-delayed projection of your image and movements). I also liked There is a tree in the heart of death and how the scents reflected the music, especially for La Paloma. It would be interesting if a dance performance incorporated this element of scent with each dance having a different scent blend.

If there was one criticism I have it would be that it is not clear how interactive the exhibition seeks to be, and how welcomed or unwelcomed young children are. The museum staff, full of good intentions, kept telling the kids not to do this and not to do that, even when they hadn’t gone overboard on anything, in my view. It could be a paranoia over young kids. The boys were told not to run in The Cage when they weren’t running, yet older teenagers who were running were not stopped. The boys were told not to linger among the hanging ropes, but adults were not stopped. The boys were asked (nicely) not to be to jump around too much at noon-nom when they were mainly crawling about, but there were teenagers who were literally running all over the place, racing from one end of the room over the cushions to another in a fairly dangerous manner that were not stopped too. It was a bit of a killjoy at times. If there was one thing the boys could have done better on, it was to speak more softly – something I’ll have to work on with them.

Still, Sensorium 360° is interesting and worth a visit. It is on at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) until 22 October 2014, and is free for Singaporeans and PRs.

The Cage

The Cage

The boys discovered their bottles would light up if they used it to interrupt the lasers

The boys discovered their bottles would light up if they used it to interrupt the lasers

Zapping Alyssa's foot

Zapping Alyssa’s foot

Ellery checking out photographs of the other exhibits. I think the artist was taking pictures, and might in time put up a photograph of people looking at pictures of pictures from the exhibit. Picture in a picture in a picture!

Ellery checking out photographs of the other exhibits in Transcendence. I think the artist was taking pictures, and might in time put up a photograph of people looking at pictures of pictures from the exhibit. Picture in a picture in a picture!

Trying to identify the different smells

Trying to identify different smells

Smelling Ocean Mist!

Smelling Ocean Mist!

Twinning Machine 4.0

Monkeying around in Twinning Machine 4.0

Me & my babies!

The kids & I

Read Full Post »

Another overdue post.

Last month I squeezed in 2 short visits to the National Museum with the boys to check out the Masak Masak: My Childhood exhibition. There was barely enough time on both days as we only reached at 515pm and the exhibits close at 6pm.

The first day we only managed to check out 3 zones. The boys enjoyed the Larger-than-Life games which was a super-sized version of our traditional childhood games like pick-up-sticks, marbles, and five stones. I had to drag them away to the Come and Play exhibit as we were running out of time. Come and Play was a room full of cardboard structures that the children were invited to explore, and there was a station where you could create your own structure too. The thing with these types of exhibits is that rather than recycling used cardboard, they always get new cardboard. I think it would be much more meaningful to used recycled cardboard. Anyway, Asher asked to do the activity, but it was quite rushed and he didn’t get much time to fill in the details he wanted. Ellery was happy running from house to house.

Cute cardboard people

Cute cardboard people

The last exhibit we caught was Rouleaux by Anastassia Elis. Ah! This was so inspiring! So beautiful! The artist worked with used toilet roll cores to make wonderful, intricate dioramas to the theme of “what I want to be when I grow up”. The boys and I had a great time running from peep-hole to peep-hole, exclaiming at the scene we saw inside. What patience, and what creativity!

Looks like just a wall with holes...

Looks like just a wall with holes…

But peep inside and...

But peep inside and…

Be amazed!

Be amazed! Dragon dance troupe

Love this ballet one

Love this ballet one

Le Paris!

Le Paris!

"Dinosaurs!" The boys loudly exclaimed

“Dinosaurs!” The boys loudly exclaimed

Sky diving!

Sky diving!

Day 2, we managed only to explore Sculpture Scribble by Guixot de 8. Another clever exhibit using recycled materials to make games of varying difficulty. Most were really quite challenging! I wasn’t able to accomplish quite a few of them. Even though the boys had difficulty too, they were happy to fiddle with the different stations and see what they could do. I liked that there was a guide on hand to tell us what certain stations were about because it wasn’t always immediately apparent.

Trying to slot the pipe onto the metal rod while looking only at the reflection of what he was doing

Slotting the pipe onto the metal rod while looking only at the reflection of what he was doing

Trying to roll the ball into the bag

Trying to roll the ball into the bag

Putting the finger into the nose!! Haha

Putting the finger into the nose!! Haha!!

Getting the ball to roll through the gap into the containers below

Getting the ball to roll through the gap into the containers below

Guide teaching the boys how to play the game

Guide teaching the boys how to play the game

When it closed the boys hurried over to catch another look at Rouleaux before we left. They declared Rouleaux their favourite still. Me too!

Read Full Post »

I was intrigued by the concept when I first heard about the Human Body Experience at the Science Centre and was very keen to bring the kids. Wasn’t quite sure how they’d take it. I heard that some kids really loved the experience, but some really hated it. My guess was that Asher would initially be more afraid, and Ellery would say he’s afraid because he tends to copy whatever Asher says. With the right coaxing I hoped I could get them through and it and hopefully they’d really enjoy it.

My parents were curious about the exhibition too, so all of us trotted off to the Science Centre together. It was their first time in eons and my Dad was quite happy to wander about and look at the various exhibits. Quite a few times we had to look for my Dad, rather than look for the kids haha! :)

When we first got to the entrance – the mouth – it was hard to see how we’d get in. From the front you see an open mouth with a tongue and there’s no way through. Only when we got up close did we realise we had to climb up the tongue and slide down the throat! The boys were initially quite hesitant, but they still tried touching everything and went through ok. I couldn’t possibly leave Alyssa outside so I carried her in the sling and in she went too! Sound asleep the whole time, might I add.

It’s an immersive experience and it was very funny to finally be ‘pooped out’ of the body. And because all six of us came out together we joked that the man was having diarrhoea :) The boys thought being squeezed through the different parts of the stomach was the most fun, but they didn’t like where the ground was squishy. It was also a pity that the first time we went through the voice box was faulty and there was no sound when we pressed against the walls. Later on I managed to coax Ellery to go through with me again and the voice box worked, so we  spent a little more time playing there. Ellery said the second time was much more fun than the first (I guess because he knows what to expect), and I think Asher would have thought the same if he went in again too (but he was caught up with some other activity).

Overall, I wouldn’t say the boys loved it, but they somewhat enjoyed the experience. Ellery, in particular, seems to have enjoyed the experience more and is quite interested in the learning about the human body now.

After being 'pooped out' :)

Survived being eaten!

On that same outing we went to watch Animalopolis as well because it sounded interesting and something that would interest the kids. But it’s really not worth the money. It’s not really a documentary about animals. Rather its a stylised presentation of animals, in a humourous way, yes, but not something I’d pay so much (there were 5 of us!) for. It’s more like something you’d be able to watch on Sesame Street, but longer.

 

Read Full Post »

As the boys are still into military things I signed them up for the Children’s Season activity at the Army Museum – Cadets, Fall In!

Overall, it was quiet a let down. Even though the organisers included all the activities that were mentioned in the advertisement, they did the bare minimum.

BMT Training – check. The children were guided through 2 of many obstacles (more on this later).

Simulated live firing – check. Each kid was given one chance to fire the guns at the simulated firing range.

Grenande throwing – check. Each kid was given one throw of the grenade. This is apparently true in the army as well.  Each person only gets one throw, so ok.

Experience “hair-cutting” like a recruit – ok this is debatable. They would say, “check”. I would say, “meh”. They basically left a photo cut-out board showing the bald head of a recruit. Children were invited to have their pictures taken with it. Alright…

Botak (bald) Ellery

Botak (bald) Ellery

Botak Asher

Botak (bald) Asher

While the kids enjoyed each individual activity, all the in between bits were not that engaging. For starters, the whole session began with a powerpoint presentation! Each activity was also preceeded by a briefing where the kids had to listen to instructions on how the activity was supposed to be run. It’s good and well to follow instructions, but in a big group like this? Surely there can be a more interesting way. Plus, it’s a little bit anti-climatic because for each activity, only a limited number of children can do it at a time (sometimes one at a time), so the activity becomes less exciting than expected because of all the waiting around (for their turn, then for the others to finish).

Briefing on how to fire the gun

Briefing on how to fire the gun

Briefing on how to throw a grenade

Briefing on how to throw a grenade

Briefing on how to go over the wall (??!?)

Briefing on how to go over the wall (??!?)

At the obstacle course area, although the organiser wanted to keep the kids only at the two (least interesting) of obstacles, the kids (being kids) just ran all around. And most of the parents, happy to see their kids enjoying themselves freely, didn’t bother keeping them in line. In fact most of us were more than happy to help our kids do the rest of the obstacles. I think the organisers were definitely too conservative on this one.

The passing out parade – check. But kids were broken into 2 groups with one group getting to wear the uniform, and another only getting the hats. So one side looked more ready for the parade than the other, and none were fully dressed up in the uniform.

I think it could have been better done by making the activities more engaging. At least, keep in mind that you are dealing with children when planning the activities.  I thought last year’s activities, which were more free-for-all in nature, were more enjoyable. Perhaps having the activities in the form of station games, rather than having the whole group walk around together, would be a better option.

After the session was officially concluded, we brought the boys back out to the obstacle course area to have a good run around, and to go take a look at the military vehicles on display. That, they really enjoyed :)

Jon helping Ellery with the gun

Jon helping Ellery with the gun

Ducking after throwing the grenande (this was Ellery's favourite activity)

Ducking after throwing the grenande (this was Ellery’s favourite activity)

In the 'hat' group

In the ‘hat’ group

ORD liao!

ORD liao!

Happy to climb on the vehicles on display outside

Happy to climb on the vehicles on display outside

Sweaty but happy

Sweaty but happy

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »