Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordy Wednesday - "Explore UT" 2009

I accidentally discovered the University of Texas' (UT) "Explore UT Day" about 4 years ago. It was a great discovery, but I was not alone. There were thousands of kids attending! School districts bus students in from all the small surrounding towns. I even saw buses from Grand Prairie, near Dallas, some 3 hours away. It is an event that is well worth all the effort.
There are several entry points on campus where "passports" are handed out, and maps and information are freely available from students who volunteer for this day. I don't know why; maybe they are given extra credit. Whatever the motivation, the students are great ambassadors for the school and for attending college. Participants, and workers, have a wonderful time. We found a neat turtle photo-op on the way to picking up our "Passports". I would guess it was contributed by some artistic student(s).
The activities do not start until 11:00 AM, so by the time we arrived the children were hollering "Hungry." We headed to one of the dorm cafeterias where, for about $5.00 per person (except 2 year-old Junior who was free) we could eat until everyone was full. The noise level was incredible because all those children, who were cooped up on the bus for several hours, were hungry too.
Fortified with "dorm food," and only a little soiled with mustard, ketchup, grease, and the remnants of two glasses of spilled liquid, we headed out to explore UT.
The UT campus is HUGE, so it was a challenge to keep watch over the 3 hearts without a stroller for Junior. Thank goodness Em is becoming a responsible young lady. We only lost Junior one a crowd.... I never did find out where he was. I just looked down at one point and he was standing close to my leg, looking at me with a big grin on his face. Whew! I did not know how I would have explained the loss to his doting parents.
Different disciplines provide activities related to their field of study at "UT Explore." One year the children had an opportunity to hold a giant Madagascar cockroach, examine the inner workings of a pig's lung by blowing air into it with a hand pump, and grind corn the Native American way. Their favorite activity was getting a "wound." We followed the "wounded" children back towards the source the first year, but it was closed when we arrived. The next year, they wanted to go there first. They proudly wore their "wounds" all day. This year, there was no wound area. Big disappointment, but we found plenty of other things.
A delightful young man from the Chemistry(?) Department was supervising the making of a substance that resembled "Silly Putty." A small amount of Borax, dissolved in water, was stirred into Elmer's glue, which had been colored with food coloring. The resultant mixture was like Silly Putty or, depending on the amount of liquid, like "Slime."

The craft area was not my favorite place for the children to hang out, but it was inevitable. Em seems to be outgrowing this area. Junior and Abs made crowns....
.....and brains......

...eruptions......and seed-starting pots.
We could have stayed longer and seen more, but we had to get home and get ready for their Dad's Homecoming.....
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  1. This is great! How in the world did you manage to get all three of them to poke their heads through the painting on the first picture???

    Luckily Junior wasn't lost, and I am glad that they (and you?) had a great time!

  2. What an eventful outing for y'all. They'll always remember that when they are older, it wasn't important at the time but memorable anyway.


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