January 22, 2015
I was always a curious child and therefore incessantly asked a bazillion questions. My thirst to know how things worked, what they were made of, or simply why, never seemed to be quenched because the answer to one question prompted yet another. In fact, my first memories of what I wanted to be when I grew up stemmed from my curiosity about rocks. Where most people probably saw a gravel driveway I saw doors to mysteries yet to be unlocked literally walking with my head down, scanning for unusual rocks. Rocks that I felt, in my child’s mind understanding, held the secrets of the universe. Believe it or not, I still have my most precious rocks tucked away in a safe place.
You see, those dozen or so rocks from my childhood held the dreams of my future; because as a child of seven or eight I dreamt of being an archaeologist. Yes, I fantasized about donning a safari hat, khakis and arming myself with nothing more than a soft brush to expose fossilized bones, certain I was going to excavate the largest dinosaur ever. Or so I dreamt. I have since learned that paleontologists search for fossils, archaeologists only study the history of humans. Yet, that career of discovering dinosaurs was instigated when my father gave me fossils he’d found while building a runway while in the Air Force. Obviously, those fossils are still part of my prized rock collection to this day.
Therefore, when the dinosaur show Discover Dinosaurs came to Charlotte this past weekend I thought “What a wonderful idea to take the g-kids!” (not to mention, I wanted to see it) and expose them to the amazing creatures that walked the Earth for millions of years. It might even awaken the desire to discover mysteries in one of them.” So we went.
Dickens, what a fun and informative experience; the show creators did an excellent job of recreating dinosaurs as they may have looked when they were alive. Actually, they did such an awesome job my granddaughter thought they were dead, but frozen, so we could see them. The life-like creatures were even robotic and moved their heads from side to side and their arms slightly. I joked that one looked like he was playing piano and singing, but Sunshine corrected me and said he was digging. (Kids can be so smart.)
My grandson, is still too young to grasp the concept of dinosaurs except that they are very, very big, cautiously kept a safe distance from the larger displays. Although, the fake bones held his attention as he enjoyed playing paleontologist in the sand boxes by brushing sand away from various depictions of bones in the bottom. Sunshine, of course, wanted to see and do everything. She even insisted I read all the interesting dinosaur facts displayed around the show.
Not sure she retained anything, but the fact that struck me the most was...if all of the years dinosaurs and humans were on the planet were condensed into one calendar year the dinosaurs would have occupied the planet from January 1st till sometime in September. Meanwhile, humans have been around for only one day...December 31st. Dang! I mean, I’ve seen the timelines but I never considered it from that perspective. Another other interesting fact I recall is the dinosaur with the most teeth had about 960 in its bill-shaped mouth, which reminds me of the time I stuck my finger in a catfish’s mouth when I was a kid. Only it felt like a million teeth. Ouch!
Anyway, it is strongly suggested parents expose children to as many varied occupations as possible affording them a more rounded sense of career paths and the possibilities. Thus after the show, Sunshine and I had a chat about what she could do when she grows up...currently it’s a milkshake maker at McDonalds. No worries, a few weeks ago she wanted to be a scientist and create potions. Of course, I told her she could discover dinosaur bones too. “Cool,” she said. But if either of them truly exhibits an interest in paleontology I’ll pass along my prized rock and fossil collection. Hey, maybe one of them will discover the largest dinosaur ever. Cool.
Can you imagine...reliving your childhood dreams?