Hey friends! It is me again- Archie the Wandering T. rex! I have been all over this amazing world, but nothing compares to good old fashion Midwestern hospitality. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I traveled to central Iowa for some down-home fun!
As many of you know I love science! So of course my first stop on my adventure would be to check out the local science scene at Science Center of Iowa. My travel companions and I had a blast exploring the museum. When we first arrived at the museum we all had fun with the giant pin screen, I even left my mark and told the world, “Archie the Wandering T. rex was here!”
I also got to test my meteorology skills and inform all of central Iowa about the impending storm that was headed their way. As many Midwesterners know, weather can change quickly across the plains, especially in Iowa because the state intersects with multiple weather producing systems and when two of these weather systems collide, it creates the perfect conditions for extreme weather, including tornadoes in the spring and summer and blizzards in the winter.
Many pioneer farmers that settled in Iowa quickly learned about Iowa’s changing weather and needed to learn to look for clues to ensure they didn’t get trapped when the weather changed rapidly. They would watch the sky, use their other senses and would look for changes in their animals’ behavior. Today Iowans rely on expert meteorologists to help them plan ahead and keep them informed.
Next stop on my Iowa adventure was picking out the perfect Christmas tree. With over 100 registered tree farms in Iowa, cutting down the family Christmas tree has become a tradition for many Iowans. There are nine varieties of pine tree that grow well in Iowa, including Scotch and Douglas fir two of the most popular Christmas trees in the United States. We decided on a Fraser fir. The strong branches of a Fraser fir turn slightly upward; perfect for hanging heavy ornaments. The Fraser fir was named after John Fraser, a botanist that explored the Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century. It is also very similar in appearance to the balsam fir. The species’ geographical ranges do not overlap, but they are so similar that many scientists believe that they were once a single species that split off from each other and evolved into their present day forms.
All of that exploring on the farm made me hungry, so my travel companions and I headed to downtown Des Moines for some much needed dinner!
While I was downtown, I went and checked out the state’s impressive capitol building. The beautiful building sits on the top of a hill downtown and overlook’s Des Moines’ river valley. What makes this capitol unique is the large gilded dome that shines in the sun. At night the whole capitol is lit in gold lights with the dome being the lights’ focal point. It is definitely a sight to behold!
Courtesy of wiki commons (I was so in awe I forgot to take a picture!)
After a long trip home, I was excited to get back to HMNS for the holidays. I got home just in time to see all of the beautiful Christmas trees go up in the Grand Hall! Look for more information on these trees in an upcoming Beyond Bones Blog!
This has been a great year and I have learned so much! I can’t wait to find out where my next adventure will take me! Until then, you will find me checking out some of the great new exhibits at HMNS, including Trains Over Texas, Houston’s newest holiday tradition!