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Hunting Live Dinos

Into every parent’s life, some dino hunting is inevitable, particularly if you have a child who is so-desperately in love with dinosaurs (and everything that they represent).

So, last weekend, we took our hunt for dinos to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (we call it the Dino Museum). It’s always a favorite activity for us, and particularly so on a super-hot Summer day. Why?

  • It’s relatively cool in the museum.
  • We never get tired of the “regular” displays.
  • My son LOVES the new displays, particularly when they bring in the animated dinos (and other interactive displays).

But, it’s more than just a great refuge on a summer days. It’s also a great learning experience for the boys. Even though we regularly visit the museum, they learn something every time.

  • Each time, they’re reciting dino names, as well as talking about the snakes, spiders, toads, bugs and butterflies.
  • Back and forth we go–in and out of each display. We’re checking out stuff, looking carefully at the displays (as if it’s the first time).
  • We still sneak-rush-creep through the mass-extinction mural, with the dimmed lights and the graphic depiction. My son is glued to my shoulders–that area still frightens him. (For those brief moments, he clings to me–good old “dada”. I doesn’t want anyone to know that he’s afraid of anything.)

We have season passes, so we head over there often. So, you may think that we’ve seen it all…


Every time, I experience the “newness” of the experience–the excitement in their voices, and their breath-taking wonderment–I’m reminded of some of the reasons I love being a dad. We forget, I think, that these moments are what makes being a parent so great and awesome. We all get that really warm-fuzzy feeling–just sitting/standing there and listening as our kids explain whatever is on their mind, with such passion.

Yes, some days… I want the moments to slow (or stop), so that I can remain in the present moment, as I see him so excited and full of curiosity. I don’t want these to be moments that I look back on with regret, wishing that I’d been there in the moment more, or listened more closely. We seem to get so caught up in “living” sometimes, that we forget to make a life… to really experience the moments, and to see what’s really important.

Part of Growing Up? 

The world is ever changing… and the experiences that they see and share are ever-expanding. This last time, my son had a particularly fun journey, as he rushed to each of his favorite spots, explaining them all to his 12-year-old cousin (who’s visiting right now). He recited the names of the dinosaurs, along with details about what they ate, and all the rest.

I am overwhelmed (a little) at times like this–by how grown-up he sounds (and acts). I’m not ready for this jump from complete “innocence” to growing experience, but I am very proud of him. It’s just a bit bitter-sweet.

With everything that has been going on as of late, I can always count on my son to bring me out of my funk–he does it without even being aware  of it.

But, I also hope it’s memorable for all of us–his cousin included. We’ll look back and say, “Remember the day we went to the dino museum… There were those animated dinos…” I hope we all reflect back on this experience–see it as a day filled with pride, scientific curiosity, love, and the awesomeness that this day brought us…

I can’t wait until our next dino-hinting adventure!

About Don Jackson

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