We slept so well in the hotel. All of us had a great night’s rest and we were up and ready for the day. Brent and Max wandered up the street for some butter and jam for the crumpets we had brought with us for breakfast. Brent and Max also gave some money to another homeless man by the store.
While they were gone, Sophia showered while I wrote out Nana’s postcard and packed up the room. She loved the shower in the en-suite and they had a blow dryer which was great as I had forgotten ours. I didn’t want her going out in the cold, windy weather with her gorgeous mane of hair wet.
When the boys got back we had breakfast and finished packing. We really loved our suite, it was so cozy that it felt like our home. They had a lovely set-up for breakfast, even gluten free hot cocoa that was delicious! The kids loved that… so did I. 😉
Brent and Max went to get the car as we did the final run through and moved everything in front of the door. He had to park up the block as they had run out of parking spaces for the hotel. Had we known sooner that we needed to book a park, we would have booked one last month when we confirmed our room.
The brochure said there was parking but not that we needed to make a separate reservation for it. It would have been nice to know that, but it worked out as Brent is such a Trooper (see what I did there?) that he always just goes with the flow. He and Max walked together and I think they liked the time alone wandering.
After we loaded the car up and checked out, we were off to Te Papa and were very excited about our next adventure. We hit a bit of a snare with parking so Brent and Max went to park the car up the block and Sophia and I headed in to wander about the gift shop and wait for the boys to return.
We looked around at all the amazing items in the gift shop and Max bought himself a necklace with a shark tooth shaped charm. Sophia kind of wanted an albino kiwi, but was not sure if really she wanted it, so we decided to wait until she was sure of something. She never did decide on anything in the end.
Next we went in to the Awesome Forces display. They had some great information on the Earth and sample rocks of the layers that they could touch and lift.
There were diagrams of the Earth as well as a movie that showed moving through the layers and how the movement effects the rock layers. Sophia really like this one, I think we all did.
They really like looking at the globe and learning about navigation. Brent was in his element, he is such a great teacher when it comes to science or math… well anything really.
There was a time traveler wheel. The kids really liked spinning it and imagining how long each age actually was. You could see their minds working to try and grasp the concept.
We then saw some bones and more stones. The kiwi egg inside the kiwi was really amazing. It was so busy that I started to get claustrophobic and had to stand off to the side and slow my breathing and calm myself. There was so much nose and movement.
We waited a bit for the crow to thin a bit, then headed on toward the quake simulator. While waiting in line for that, Sophia, Max and Dad tried the quake scale. unfortunately my mind was a bit foggy do I only remembered the camera at the end, but did manage to catch Brent jumping on the scale.
The Quake simulator is a tiny house and it feels so real. We all really liked that display. This is what their website says.
Visit our Earthquake House to:
- feel a 6.6 magnitude simulation of an aftershock from the Edgecumbe earthquake of 1987
- see some of the damage earthquakes cause
- get a compelling reminder to quake-safe your own house
- start a broader exploration of earthquakes and volcanic activity in our Awesome Forces exhibition.
A visit to our Earthquake House appeals to those who learn by doing and supports the following topics:
- Earth science – earthquakes and volcanoes
- Pūrākau (storytelling)
Here is an awesome forces activity trail sheet for your kids to do while visiting.
Next we learned about volcanoes, volcanic eruptions and lava formations.
Then on to the waterways, water erosion and water disasters.
Next was wind, wind disasters, wind erosion and fossils.
Next we went to the Mountain to Sea exhibition and that was amazing. We didn’t take many photos as we were having too much fun. The amber was really neat to see with the bugs inside. We really like the tree house with the possum on the side and the natural sounds that were playing.
The colossal squid exhibition was “icky” up close (I actually gagged), but still amazing to see a creature this large. Here is a link to learn more about it’s anatomy, it is truly fascinating. It looked and felt (energy) like an alien to me.
Next we headed over the Bridge toward Bush City, but we stopped outside to take in the view after a quick play on the giant xylophone.
The view outside was beautiful, but it was pretty windy which made it very cold.
Bush City Trail was really amazing, I loved seeing and learning about all the different plants. Also the hole that the Moa fell into with the bones was really need to see from the top (as in the picture below) and from eye level, inside the caves.
We had to skip the Fossil Dig as it was soaked, but we will go back again when it is summer and have a dig.
They had a small version of the glowworm caves too, that was very interesting. The limestone cave also had stalactites, cave wētā, and the bones of extinct flightless moa.
Then we wandered out to see the waterfall and rocks; some which date back almost 600 million years!
You can make your visit even more fun with the treasure hunt. For the Bush City Trail Scavenger Hunt form click here.
As we exited the Bush City walk we came into the courtyard of the Te Papa Cafe and decided to have a break and sit and have lunch. That was a nice little stop and recharge.
Next we went up to see the record breaking Britten V1000 Bike. Britten bikes were made in New Zealand in Christchurch before John Britten passed away from cancer. He had an amazing mind, you should read a book about his life.
We were bummed that the Fred Dagg exhibit wasn’t yet open, but we will go back again.
We carried on and went to the Blood, Earth Fire exhibit. We spent a bit of time there as there were some interactive displays.
Then we headed on to the Treaty of Waitangi: Signs of a Nation exhibit and the Passports and Immigration one. It was really interesting listening to and reading people’s immigration stories on the interactive displays.
After this we went into the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition (Field of Poppies). My camera flash wouldn’t turn off and flash is not allowed, so Brent gave me his phone to take photos. I wish I had traded him, as then I ended up with both phones and couldn’t contact him.
Although this was amazing and I loved the giant art sculptures, our clairsentient abilities went into overdrive and we had to get out. Sophia and I left the boys and tried to exit as soon as we could. I could feel all the emotions of the previous owners from the objects in the cases. All that fear, anger, feeling trapped and the sorrow was just completely overwhelming me.
It was absolutely packed to the point that you had to wait to get through each area. Half way out I had a panic attack and Sophia was so amazing. She grabbed my face and said, “Look at me mom, you are ok. Just breath deeply and take the pictures and I have your hand, I will get you out.” So I took a few deep breaths and focused only on Sophia and taking pictures of the sculptures. I knew I had to be ok for her.
These sculptures were stunning in their detail and craftsmanship. I would recommend going just to see them. The rest of the exhibit I don’t remember much after I tuned in to a backpack, some tools and a gun, by accident. Usually I can control these when we are out together, but I was just tired and my guard was down.
The sculptures by Weta Workshop are 2.4 times human size and took 24,000 hours to create. It is such a powerful display and story. check out the brochure to learn more. This poster from the Te Pap site gives you an idea of the scale.
We got out and found a seat to wait for the guys in nice quiet corner and Sophia’s feet were hurting so I gave her a quick foot rub while we waited. It took them about 15 minutes but it was a welcomed break. After they came out we decided to go in the Earthquake Simulator one more time then head out. This was such a great visit.
After leaving Te Papa, we walked a few blocks to the Reading cinema to use our vouchers. by the time we got there it was too late to watch a movie, so we grabbed a bunch of snacks from the counter and told the kids we would rent them movies to watch in their rooms when we got home. They were pretty happy about that.
We left and drove home, Max was asleep before we hit the highway, and Soph slept for a bit as well. When we got back to town, we stopped in the movie rental place and then went next door and bought everyone their own pizza just because we could. Also, that meant lunch was sorted for the next day as we were wiped out.
What an amazing weekend!
We are so grateful to ihc, Boulcott Suites, Reading Cinemas and all the sponsors who donated to this amazing programme. We feel very blessed to have participated. Thank you so much from the Lawless Family.
I hope you all enjoyed sharing our journey with us.
Check back for our next adventure in a couple weeks!