The mister requested a couple of days off from both jobs, and we opted to take the children to Fair Park in Dallas to visit the "Science of Spying" exhibit. Highly interactive in nature, the explorationm of spy technique and gadgetry included everything from safe cracking to hacking. The rooms throughout the exhibition thoroughly occupied (even entertained the typically bored and annoyed twelve year old *gasp*) our party aged eight to thirty-something.
One of the favorite activities included dumpster diving into a metal waste basket for panels with photos of pieces of garbage which were then scanned into a computer. The computer let the user choose four pieces of trash to send to the "lab" for analysis. The goal was to select items that would provide specifically requested information which would assist later in the adventure.
Our next stop was a facial recognition camera that would help us in our spy chase. Our "badges" were loaded with our faces so we could later be identified while sneaking into the company serving as a cover for our spy in his attempt to take over the world. We listened in on conversations, discovered that devices can capture key strokes on computer keyboards to steal information, and then we entered a dimly lit room straight out of the Spy Kids movies where we swiped our badges and then attempted to hack into Fictional Cover Company's (FCC) touch-screen enabled computer to discover details of Spy's plot while seated in the palms of hand-shaped chairs.
Armed with our newly attained knowledge, we presented ourselves and our badges for entry into the FCC's offices. After successfully negotiating our entry, a series of activities from peeping to button-pushing that appeared fairly pointless occupied us. Eventually we discovered a curtained area which led us back the way we had come. With a twist. We were now on the back side of the FCC's offices looking out onto those visitors walking through the offices. We could respond to their button-pushing and surprise them by their peeping by looking back out at them! The oddly bland portion of the exhibit was now entirely entertaining.
All said and done, the exhibit took about an hour to explore with some activities and displays glossed over while others were repeated. The lovies asked the very next day when we will go back. The mister, in his infinite wisdom, chose a family membership to the museum allowing for return trips to "The Science of Spying", entry into all the other exhibits, and a fair discount on IMAX movies. Taking along a picnic lunch to share on the grounds allows for an unhurried visit to include any or all of the activities that can extend from morning into afternoon without the dreaded whining (which unfailingly prompts Mommy to ask if one would like glass with that...) about hunger and thirst.