Visit to the American Museum of Natural History

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Growing up in Brooklyn, I had the incredible opportunity to have access to so many cultural institutions. I especially loved exploring parks and museums on field trips where I was able to put into context what I had learned in school as well as interact and learn from so many fascinating exhibits. One of my favorite school trips has always been visiting to the American Museum of Natural History where I fondly remember staring in awe at the collection of dinosaur bones and the infamous 94-foot whale! Now that I am a mom and raising my daughters in the city I still look forward to these experiences, which I now enjoy through her eyes -- allowing me to see once again how special and important they are.

I recently had the chance to share one of those experiences with her at a very special field trip to the American Museum of Natural History. Hosted by the TheMotherhood.com and Kleenex Brand, myself and several bloggers and their families had the unique opportunity to explore the museum and learn first-hand about its very special educational exhibits.

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We started our journey at theFrogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibit (on display until January 8, 2012) where we viewed a gorgeous collection of frogs from the tropical rainforests, frozen tundra and the deserts. Through this display we were able to see over 200 frogs that were contained in a re-created habitat '?? complete with waterfalls, rocks and live plants. As we were walking through the exhibit, I loved how the children started in awe at this unique collection of frogs '??especially the colorful frogs from Central and South America with their vibrant shades of yellow, orange, blue, and red. I loved how my daughter was in awe at the frogs that came in all shapes and sizes and how I also was able to learn something as well '?? making this truly an exciting exhibit for both of us.

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After viewing the frogs, the kids were really excited to check out the dinosaurs. A favorite of mine, I was excited for my daughter to check out this the World'??s Largest Dinosaur Exhibit where we viewed a life-sized model of a 60-foot- long, 11-foot-tall female Mamenchisaurus, known for its remarkable, 30-foot neck. Looking at this gigantic model '?? complete with life-sized bones, muscles, internal organs, and its anatomy '?? which allowed us to learn more about dinosaur'??s internal systems such as how its heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and reproduction systems. My daughter'??s favorite part of this exhibit was being able to be a junior paleontologist where she received a pick, goggles and brush so that she could excavate dinosaur fossils. This interactive and hands-on activity kept her very busy as she pretended to dig up bones in museums replicated dig site. At the end of the day, my daughter kept talking about this fascinating experience and told me that she couldn'??t wait to see the dinosaurs again.

On our intimate field trip we also learned about the importance of school trips as a part of a child'??s education. Going on field trips such as one to the American Museum of History is a fantastic way to learn in depth about the origin of man, the universe, ocean life, stars and ancient civilizations. Kleenex recognizes the importance of field trips as an integral part of a child'??s education and is currently sponsoring an incredible sweepstakes through their Kleenex Save the Field Trips Initiative. Through this program, Kleenex will provide $500,000 to 100 schools to help fund school field trips for the 2011-2012 school year.

Through school trips, I was able to develop a deep appreciation of cultural institutions like the American Museum of Natural History and now with initiatives and programs from Kleenex the next generation will also have the opportunity to enjoy unique field trips as a part of their lives.

Visit the Kleenex Facebook page to learn about the Save the Field Trip sweepstakes where your school can win to win $5,000 toward field trips during the 2011-2012 school year.

MomTrends was compensated for this post. We were also given lunch and goodie bag, but all opinions expressed are our own. We did not get to keep the frogs or dinosaurs.

Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, and more importantly, a mama to two girls. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.com.

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