|On our way!|
|Navigating the public transport system|
The next morning, we set out with big plans to explore the downtown area on foot and visit the Minnesota State Science Museum. Rumor (and their website) had it that the museum was currently hosting The Human Body Exhibit, which features real human organs and razor thin dissections of a whole human body allowing the viewer to see a layer of our delicate selves. Definitely something we couldn’t pass up. Downtown Saint Paul is an absolutely wonderful spot, and we happened to catch it during their annual Winter Carnival featuring ice carvings, snow sculptures, and unexplained men wearing capes riding around on antique fire trucks yelling “Vulcans!” (not sure what the story is with that last one). The ice carvings were nice and somewhat intricate, but Tom and I agreed that they didn’t hold much of a candle to Fairbanks’s own.
|Tom experimenting with weather patterns|
Perhaps the most wonderful feature was the Collection Corner, where children (and those that are kids at heart) can bring in their natural wonders (one kid was trading in a turtle shell while we were there) and demonstrate to the staff their personal knowledge of their specimen. The staff member then awarded the kiddo points for their knowledge, and points could be used to trade for all kinds of neat things like bones, shells, rocks, antlers, precious metals, fossils… just about anything you can find in Minnesota. The collection itself was really interesting to behold, and I thought it to be a great way to engage kids in learning about their environment and allowing them to have personal “collections” at home. Very cool.
|Looking out on Saint Paul|
All in all, Saint Paul is a pretty neat city. It’s diverse, has a feeling of being a city with real history (or at least history that isn’t permanently frozen), has a great public transportation system, and lots of neat things to do. I’ve never spent any time in the Midwest, but Saint Paul (or at least the downtown portion we saw) makes a pretty good argument for America’s breadbasket as a vacation destination.