The visit to the American Museum of Natural History (is there an American Museum of Natural Hostelry?) kicked serious ass, like I knew it would. I renewed my membership, and had the pleasure of wandering the halls with some tiny tots. There's something magical about hearing a Very Small Boy rattle off such tongue-twisters as Pachycephalosaurus, Corythosaurus, and Protoceratops with nary a stumble. Dinosaur names are the child's arcana, a recondite body of wisdom largely forgotten by most adults (although some of us are in on the secret). Intone them, and the magical formula transports you to a more dramatic, more fascinating time, a time when the planet was just more thrilling. Wow, the little guys made me extremely proud.
The museum had a special exhibit on the sauropods, complete with interactive displays and a "dig pit"... sheer heaven! We spent a good amount of time wandering the fourth floor of the museum, one of my favorite places on earth. My absolute favorite fossil in the museum's collection is in the "Mammals and their Extinct Relatives" hall. It's the skeleton of the synapsid Cotylorhychus (which, hilariously, means "cup snout"). It's an ungainly, unlovely animal with an absurdly small head. How can you not love this big, dopey-looking brute?
The "finback" sharing the display case with my pathetic cup-snouted friend is Edaphosaurus, another distant relative of ours.
After we left the museum, my brother had to re-enter to make a "pit stop" and I was outside with the boys. The little guy started to fuss (he's a very good-natured fellow, but it was a long hot day that involved a lot of walking), and a lovely young lady made a fuss over him so he'd stop crying. I asked her where she was visiting from, and she told me that she was from Istanbul. She was a very nice, caring person, and all of her friends, ranging from teenagers to adult chaperones, were really a great bunch of people. She especially loved seeing the Statue of Liberty, and was planning on taking the group for a picnic lunch in Battery Park. I have to say, I fell in love with this young lady- to all the Islamophobes out there, I'd rather have her and her charming friends as neighbors than to live next to a bigot like Pammycakes. New York City's awesome- you can hang out, shooting the breeze with people from all over the planet, and some of them will even help you out with a little free baby-sitting