Last week we went to Madatech, a science center in Haifa. It’s the kind of place I like to take the kids but like most of the museums, zoos, etc here, it’s pricey – entrance fees are 70 shekels ($20) for a child, 90 shekels ($25) for an adult – and when you add that to the bus fares to get here, we’re looking at almost $200 for a visit to a science center just for five kids! So when I learned that there would be free admission to science museums across the country in honor of annual Science Night, we took the opportunity! We spent about 140 shekels ($40) on transportation getting to Haifa, so it was a relatively frugal evening of fun.
This was our first trip since the older kids aren’t living at home full-time and we felt like a very small family with just six kids. Different but nice.
They have a great outdoor area in which scientific principles are demonstrated in a hands-on way. Below is the pulley area – ds7 is pulling on a boat with a single pulley, next to it is a boat with a double pulley- they then determine which is easier to pull.
Here is a fun structure showing the power of a lever. A globe with people sitting inside is pulled at two different points by the lever. Our family in the globe:
Pulling the lever from different places:
We waited on line for forty minutes for this but thought it would be worth the experience for the kids. This is a pedal controlled helicopter, almost like a ride at an amusement park but more labor intensive – how fast you go depends on how much you can pedal.
Ds7 went first.
As we were getting ready to exit the outdoor area, we bumped into a homeschooling family we know. They have a daughter the same age as dd12; the two of them met for the first time for about three minutes on our trip to Kfar Kedem, a week later they came to the homeschooling park meet that I arranged in Karmiel, then they saw each other at the NBN picnic last month and here they got to spend more time together. There aren’t many homeschooling families with girls her age and each time they meet has given them a chance to get to know each other a bit more. By now they seem quite friendly and comfortable with each other!
There were crowds in just about every room, but when we got inside we found a quiet room with displays of birds and animals.
And then another quiet spot in the lego room. After a short time, ds4 and ds7 opted to go with dd12 and ds11 to different parts of the museum, but ds6 was content to spent a long, long time building here. The volunteer in the room watched him building carefully for a long time and finally came over and told me, “You have a future engineer there.” I smiled and said, “Maybe.” (The idea has already occurred to me.) She said she expected me to say he would be a rabbi. I told her that there’s no reason he can’t be both.
Ds7 and ds4, watching a toy advance along a wire near the ceiling.
Push the button and see how the inside of a car looks when the motor starts running.
Dd and ds11 had a fantastic time exploring the museum together. They told me they wished they had an entire day to spend there. They sped through the exhibits so they could see as much as possible and would have loved more time to understand each one. We met them again at the end – below they are in a car on a slanted track, where they are suddenly plunged down and stopped abruptly. Here they are just after strapping in.
There was a room dedicated to the inventions of Leonarda da Vinci. We didn’t spend much time on it then because there was so much to see and do, but now we’ve used the trip as a springboard for learning about da Vinci and his inventions. Very fascinating stuff.
It was a long, long day. We left Karmiel at about 3:30, got to the museum at 5 pm and stayed until they closed at 10 pm. From there we had a local bus back to the central bus station, then a bus to Karmiel.
On Haifa bus to central bus station:
Our trip got longer when the bus to Karmiel broke down on the highway. Ds11 and dd12 thought this was fun since they got off the bus and got to walk around outside at midnight along the side of the highway. Memories. I stayed in the bus with the younger four sleeping boys and we woke them up to transfer them when the new bus finally arrived over 30 minutes later. We got home at 12:30 am and were greeted by ds14, who had come home for his school vacation while we were gone.
My husband doesn’t usually get to go with us on outings like this and it was really nice that this time he was able to get off work early to go with us. It was such a wonderful trip!