Buns, Birds, Barrels, and Barbies

We set out early yesterday to go “find us some culture.”  That meant a visit to two of the lovely state museums in Raleigh for a start.  Our first stop was at the North Carolina Museum of History.  I was delighted to see that they had a special exhibit on the history of Barbie.  Being a Baby Boomer, of course I grew up with Barbie and Ken.  In fact, I owned Barbies just like the one in the striped swimsuit in the background, and had the pink peignoir outfit and the gold brocade outfits for her just like the two in the foreground.  It was a real hoot to walk around with my daughter and hear her say, “I had one like that” even as I was saying, “I had one like that” as I pointed to a display from an earlier era.

The museum was also featuring a special display of guns made by Carbine Williams and a recreation of his gun workshop.  Since Laura’s husband is a big gun enthusiast, I had to make sure I took lots of pictures of the guns that were all around.  I have to admit that Carbine’s workshop was pretty impressive.  I can see how it would be a gun hobbyist’s “dream come true” to be let loose in a shop like that.  He must have had every “toy” imaginable in that workshop.

Laura was very knowledgeable as we walked around the other exhibit entitled “A Call to Arms.”  It featured guns from all the different periods of history in our country.  She was able to tell me about the different types of pistols and rifles and why some were designed certain ways.  I had no idea that her husband’s passion had rubbed off on her to such an extent.  I’m rather glad that the Commander’s hobby is computing and genealogy, not guns.  I’d much rather compute and do historical research instead of shoot and clean guns.  I have a feeling that it might be a tad cheaper, too.

After we finished up at the Museum of History, we walked across the street to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.  I was prepared to be all freaked out by exhibits of gross bugs but it wasn’t too bad.  The biggest freak-out were the large crowds of teenage school kids.  We both agreed that we preferred nice, quiet groups, not kids dashing all around.  At one point, Laura turned to me and said, “But Mom, I’m planning on you to take any kids I might have on field trips.”

“Oh, no,” I told her.  “I’m reserving that pleasure all for you.”
“Well, then you’re going to have quite a wait because I’d don’t care for kids, either,” she said.
“Hey, ” I protested…..”It’s not that I don’t like kids.  It’s just that I already served my sentences on field trips and I just don’t care for kids in large groups.”

We tried to figure out where the kids were all heading and then we made a point of heading in the opposite direction.  That was our strategy for seeing the science museum.  We weren’t too successful because it seemed that there were wave upon wave of school kids being deposited at the front door of the museum.  Oh, well.  The first exhibit that greeted us were a group of displays of birds.  It was quite fascinating and I had a lot of fun trying to get good pictures of them “up close and personal.”  Then we wandered through mock-ups of the Piedmont area and various rock formations.

There was a fun exhibit on the prehistoric era in North Carolina.  This ferocious-looking beast was actually a giant sloth.  I think they were supposed to be rather peaceful animals but since none of the scientists that study them were actually alive in that era, who knows?  They also had an impressive T. Rex skeleton and a recreated brontosaurus.  Cool!  I didn’t have to worry too much about yucky bugs because whenever we got around bug exhibits, we couldn’t get close enough to the viewing windows to actually see them because of all the kids clustered around the windows, although I did get a look (unfortunately) at one rather impressive hissing cockroach.

We left the museums and drove over to the town of Wake Forest to do a little shopping in some quaint little shops and then we found a nice tea room on the main street of town called the Olde English Tea Room.  We had a lovely tea there.  Laura’s tea of choice was the “Holiday” tea which had cinnamon and cloves in it and my tea of choice was Sweet Mint tea.  It tasted just like the tea that I used to drink in Morocco.  Yummy.  We both had half of a pecan chicken salad sandwich on a croissant bun and a small bowl of chicken rice soup.  It also came with  spiced apples.  After our main entree, Laura ordered a dessert scone which was the size of an acorn squash, I swear, and I ordered the triple chocolate cake (thinking that it would give me my frosting fix for the day).  Unfortunately, it wasn’t really frosted (heresy) so I was a good girl and only ate a bit of it.

Today we are heading out for spa treatments and a little more shopping to end our time in Raleigh.  The weather looks like it will cooperate so it should be a fun day.

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