On our next day in NYC, we got up semi-early and headed out to the American Museum of Natural History, which Levi had been hotly anticipating for weeks. It’s the largest natural history museum in the country, he will happily inform you, the size of four New York City Blocks. We tried to get him to choose what he wanted to see the most, since I’ve heard you cannot see everything in one visit. He would only answer, “EVERYTHING” so we did the best we could. You can tell in this photo he has no tolerance for the “pose for a photo” thing when he knows that there is a whole natural history museum waiting.
I really love dioramas. Like, on one hand, yes many of the displays include dead animals and that is a little gross. On the other hand, the wildlife dioramas are so old and historic and beautiful works of art, so, well, I love them. And the lighting is a little creepy, and the backgrounds are a little “paint by numbers” and there’s not much more I could ask for in a diorama.
Levi has been fostering a special love for the cuttlefish in the past few years, and I have to tell you, there are not very many books at the public library with much information about the cuttlefish. So, imagine our delight when we found a cuttlefish sample at the museum! And Levi was even kind enough to pose with his friend, Sepia officinalis, a cuttlefish specimen from Italy. Mister Cuttles and the cuttle bone.
One of the most amazing parts of the museum is in the Hall of Biodiversity. There is an entire wall dedicate to the “spectrum of life.” It starts with single celled organisms, then progresses through the plants and animal kingdoms with some beautiful specimens of some of the critical points. It’s like a giant tapestry of life, hanging with delicate sparkling gems – here a pine cone, there a mushroom, over here a lobster, and also a kangaroo. It is one of those moments where I thought to myself, “I have a pretty good handle on how the natural world is laid out, but this is certainly a lovely way to experience the concept.” I know this photo is too big, but forgive me. I think it’s worth it.
We ended our visit to the museum by wandering through the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway. This is a walkway that travels through 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. We were all left feeling incomprehensibly small and brief.
After we fully exhausted ourselves, we ate delicious Korean food with our friends Anna & Anahí. (We kind of ate a lot of bibimbap in NYC) Then they took us to a City Bakery store, Birdbath, which is a green bakery. Since we love green building, this was a treat – walls made from wheat, floors made from cork, shelves made from recycled paper, non-toxic paints, reduced use of petroleum products and new materials. It’s very much the kind of bakery we are interested in. BUT !!!! that was not even the best part of this bakery! The best part was the chocolate chip cookies, which were actually the best chocolate chip cookies EVER. Krista has this belief that baked goods purchased from a store should be better than you can make at home – otherwise they are not worth buying. This chocolate chip cookie was superior to any I could even dream up at home, and they are open until 10PM (a severe luxury in our early-to-bed sleepy town). 5 golden stars for the green bakery!