Friday, April 11, 2014

Naval Undersea Museum

A few weeks ago, Jared started asking questions about submarines.  He wanted to know how they could move underwater and on top of the water.  He asked if there was a submarine nearby that he could visit.  I did a little research and found the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport Washington, just an hour and a half away from us.  They didn't have a submarine that we could tour, but they did have a lot of information about submarines, and hands on exhibits to make submarines more real for Jared.  On Thursday we made the trip to Keyport.
The first highlight of the trip was the ferry ride.  Jared wanted to watch for whales during the crossing.  When he announced this loudly inside the ferry, a little girl of seven or eight years sitting nearby laughed and said, "But there aren't really whales."
Her mom and I both insisted that there actually are whales in Puget Sound.  The little girl looked at us knowingly and said, "Oh, right.  Just like there are really rainbow fish."

I tried to get a picture of all three kids, but B wouldn't let go of my leg on the not perfectly steady deck of the ferry.
 When we got to the museum, on a naval base, the kids were hungry from the long ride, so we looked at the outdoor exhibits while we had a snack.
This is the sail of a submarine.  The fins are made to turn upward to cut through ice for surfacing in the arctic.  They had a picture of a submarine surfacing at the north pole!
 This is a submersible used for ocean research.
 The first exhibit we visited was the dress up area.  Jared dressed like a sailor.  Eloise played with the stuffed animals, and B had a great time pulling things off of shelves.
 This museum was all kinds of interesting.  Did anyone else know that there is a torpedo testing range under Puget Sound?  It runs between Kitsap County and Seattle, so in the most populous area of the sound.
 Eloise's favorite display was the torpedo section.  She watched a video of a boat being broken in half and sunk by a torpedo blast about ten times.
I was learning so much from the exhibits, that it was hard for me to move through the museum at the pace of these kids who learn by touching and experiencing.  Did you know that the speed of sound underwater is affected by the salinity of the water?
Jared tried on the diving glove to see how hard it would be to do underwater tasks through gloves.
 Eloise tried on the glove to be like Jared.
 B tried to take a bite out of it.
 Jared's favorite part of the museum after the dress up area was the control room.  It had two periscopes.  This one had a video feed of ocean waves playing when you looked inside.
 Eloise loves to drive.  She was ready to pounce on anyone who came near her steering wheel.
 I can see why children aren't actually allowed on submarines.  Jared's tendency is to push the button or flip the switch, and then ask what its function is.  "It looks like you just launched the #4 torpedo."
 The second periscope was functional, and we could see outside the building, including our car in the parking lot.
Did you know that more people have been on the surface of the moon (12) than have been in the deepest part of the ocean (2)?
I knew it was time to leave when the children started to lose the ability to follow a simple directive.  We made a quick stop back at the dress up area, a run to the bathroom, and then went outside to eat a picnic lunch.
 We picked up this mermaid whirligig, a couple of postcards, and a book about boats from the museum store to support the free museum.
 Jared and B ran around in circles as they ate lunch.  Occasionally they remembered to take a bite from whatever was in their hands.
 B was too wound up to eat.  By the time we got home he was extraordinarily hungry.
 The kids were so tired that I decided to go home by way of the Tacoma Narrows instead of taking the ferry, so that they could sleep without waking up for the crossing.
It was a solid plan, but Eloise and B still woke up after only 45 minutes of driving, and remained wide awake until a very tired bedtime.  B went to sleep for the night at 6:15, and Eloise was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow at 7.
Jared's assessment of the museum was that it needed more things that were okay to touch, but it was alright since we got to ride the ferry and dress up like sailors.  Eloise liked watching "the boat get breaked in half and sink."  It was a beautiful day to learn about submarines.

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