Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tourist in my own city

Life in Philly is good, but also terribly cold all the time. The idea of a snowfall sounds so great and romantic and maybe playful, but after the first time, it's really more of a nuisance. It gets bitter cold and the sidewalks get slippery and you are under house arrest until the weather clears up a bit.
Living in downtown has a lot of advantage though. Most of the must see places in the city are at a walkable distance from our place. But since most of the Indian families live in communities located away from the city, we don't get to make as many new friends as we would have liked.

The Philadelphia Free library is a measly 10 minute walk from our place. If there's one place that has held our (my daughter's and mine) sanity, it has to be the library. Stuck in a new city with perpetual cold and snow and no new families or friends to meet, we have spent many a afternoon scouring the library aisles. Their children's section is a huge floor dedicated to the kids. They have a huge collection of books for every age. Apart from that, they not only have story reading and craft sessions that the kids really enjoy, they also have lego sets, puppet animals and faux veggie-fruit-kitchen sets for the kids to enjoy. And let me not even start with the number of titles they have for the adults. It's been close to 4 months here, and I have yet not explored everything there is.

And because the snow and cold make sure we aren't doing any outdoors activity, we have visited quite a few museums in the city. The main difference that I find between the museums here and the ones back home is that these guys definitely know the art of presentation. We may have a lot more history, art and culture to showcase, but we definitely aren't able to package it as well. If you are ever in this part of the country, do plan to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art (showcases art from classic to abstract to modern), Academy of Natural  Sciences (famous for dinosaur fossils and life size replicas), National  Museum of American Jewish history (shows the history of Jews living in America through the World Wars) and The Franklin Institute (Museum of science, biology, including a telescope for star gazing). Leaving you with some pictures...

LED screens clustered together to look like ruffled papers @ American Jewish Museum

A huge sandstone book that doubles up as a slide for kids @American Jewish Museum

That's us! :)

That's a "thin" human brain slice @Frankiln Science Institute

Simulated dinosaur eggs for the kids @Academy of Natural Sciences

That's a real fossilized dinosaur egg colony @Academy of Natural Sciences

A life size replica of a human heart. It has an entrance and an internal staircase with red walls and a maze that showcases  the process of blood pumping @Franklin Science Institute


That's a REAL "mummy" @Academy of natural sciences
My beloved Library :-)

That is a complex network of neurons, which are connected to intelli light and sound system.
The best part: everyone is allowed to get on it and understand how it works.

That's my little paleontologist at work @ Academy of Natural Sciences
And so, until spring arrives, and until we can go out of the city to explore the mountains and the beaches, I will continue being a tourist in the city that I live :-)

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