Discovery MuseumIt wasn’t so long ago that the mere mention of pirates would evoke squeals and a rousing “Aaargh, Matey!” from my boys.  Now that my youngest is a teenager I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would get when I offered to take him and 3 of his 13-year-old friends to Shipwreck! at Discovery Times Square.

They were game but admitted that their expectations were low.  It took about a minute for that to change.

The Shipwreck exhibit lets kids see how technology meets history with a full-scale model of the Odyssey, the robot used to find treasure on the ocean floor.  It’s also a story about the people who died during the sailing of the SS Republic and how years of persistent exploration resulted in the recovery of $41 million worth of silver.
ArtOfTheBrickThe boys experienced a hurricane simulator (more than once), operated Zeus, the machine that picked up objects off the ocean floor, and then made their own pirates.

Using LEGOs to Teach Art History

Art history can be a hard sell to 13 year-old boys.  Art history recreated with LEGOs – not so hard.

The Art of the Brick, a Discovery Times Square art exhibit created by former-lawyer-turned-full-time artist, Nathanial Sawaya, is captivating and in the same vicinity as Ripley’s.  The tour through the gallery was a lesson in art history, LEGOs, creativity and an exercise in imagination.

How did I know that the boys and my 15-year-old daughter loved it? They were in no hurry to leave.  They lingered over art pieces, took lots of pictures and dragged their buddies over to “take a look at this!”

I bet they get out their LEGOs tonight and dust them off.

Ripley’s, a Sure Thing for Teen Boys

Ripleys2013Weirdness is king in the mind of a 13-year-old boy, so Ripley’s Museum of Oddities is a sure bet.

It’s home to the world’s tallest man, smallest woman, torture devices and a new shrunken head exhibit where you can now create your own shrunken head on a computer screen.

Another new feature is the world’s fastest tour of New York City which takes place one step at a time.  You will have to see it to believe it.

The boys I took interacted with everything from the guillotine to the laser beam challenge and said they would go back tomorrow if I let them.