Museum Monday: Happy (Museum) Holidays

It’s beginning to look a lot like…well, you know the rest. The holiday season is upon us, and a great place to soak up the season is Balboa Park.

With more than a dozen amazing museums, Balboa Park is a joyous place any time of year. But if you’re looking for a festive exhibition with a side of Santa, you won’t want to miss these museums this December:

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Just watching the toy trains circle the tracks is enough to make anyone feel like a kid again, but every December, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum presents the Southern California LEGO Train Club’s Annual Holiday LEGO Train Exhibit. The favorite toy of childhood is used to construct building, landscapes, and of course, lots of trains. Both the young and young-at-heart can view the exhibition through Jan. 14, 2012.

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Santa Claus comes to town at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. After an afternoon of getting hands-on with science, take the kids to indulge in some holiday fun with a screening of Santa vs. the Snowman. Shown in the Fleet’s state-of-the-art IMAX dome theater, this quirky comedy by the creator/producer of Jimmy Neutron features the voice talents of Jonathan Winters, Ben Stein and Victoria Jackson.

The San Diego Natural History Museum

It may not be a holiday exhibition per se, but All That Glitters: The Splendor & Science of Gems & Minerals will definitely makes the season sparkle. On view is a stunning selection of spectacular natural mineral crystals, exquisite jewelry, and works of art, including pieces on loan from the American Museum of Natural History, Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Smithsonian Institution. You can see these dazzling displays through April 8, 2012.

Brent Bernasconi

Geometric Fun at the Fleet

Visitors climb on top of a stack of Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedrons (SRDs), intriguing shapes that pack together with no spaces between them.

Scientists six and up (including me in my late 20s) can enjoy hands-on and educational fun with the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s new exhibition Geometry Playground. The main piece, A Stack of Stars, is a stack of Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedrons (SRDs) that young scientists can climb through. I think of it more as a an indoor geometric jungle gym.

Crawl through twisting tubes made by different ways of rotating a single shape.

While not on the SRDs, the young scientists can climb through rotating shapes, play a mind-bending version of hopscotch, lounge in a chair straight out of modern art installation (you will know it when you see it), and explore geometry with a ton of interactive exhibits. Continue reading