Sunday, July 12, 2015

#SummerOrangeCrew Attempts the "Lumberjack" and Learns About MN History

Summer is almost halfway done, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten the chance to explore the Twin Cities more than I usually do in the school year! On Tuesday, the #summerorangecrew went to Nelson’s Ice Cream - we wanted to get the Lumberjack, which is the store’s “challenge” and has 5 scoops of ice cream and 3 toppings. Unfortunately, they were out of the bowls they usually use, so we each picked a flavor (except Zane, who’s lactose intolerant) and got them in smaller bowls. I got Java Chip, the closest to Coffee Oreo which isn’t offered at Nelson’s and is usually my favorite flavor. We also got Black Rum Cherry, Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Moose Tracks. Yumyumyumyumyum.

After Nelson’s, Connor, Atticus, and I headed to the Minnesota History Center! We took the 74 bus route, which brought us right from Nelson’s to downtown St. Paul, about 3 blocks from the History Center. The Center is free to everyone on Thursdays, and there was also a free a performance from a Baltic music group as part of the Nine Nights of Music series. 

The museum is arranged in 5 ongoing exhibits and 2 featured ones that rotate more frequently. We started at the ongoing ones, with “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation”, which detailed the lives of people who lived during the Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom. They had recreated the counter that would be in a diner in the 1930s, including a soda fountain and ice cream bar. There was also an ammunition packing challenge, where you had one person rotating the conveyor belt and everyone else trying to assemble ammunition as fast as possible. The requirement would have been to pack 15 ammunition in one minute, but Atticus and I could only get about 10 done while Connor rotated the was harder than it looked!! My favorite part was a recreation of a WWII combat fight, which was inside a replica of a C-47 plane. It was extremely well designed, so the benches shook and the windows looked like clouds were floating past.

Then we headed to “Grainland”, which is a smaller part of the “Then Now Wow” exhibit and includes a grain elevator that you can climb through, which follows corn and soy from farm to farm. It was definitely designed for children, but Atticus, Connor, and I all went through it more than once!
We dressed up in clothes from the sod house. Yes..those are bonnets on Atticus’s & Connor’s heads.

Inside the grain elevator! A little claustrophobic, but still fun (& educational!)
After the grain elevator, we headed to the rest of Then Now Wow, where we tried to push a cart with the strength of oxen and dressed up in the clothing of a pioneer family from the 1870s. We also saw a modern tipi and drilled in an Iron Range mine.

After Grainland, we walked through “Open House”, which details the lives of families who lived at 470 Hopkins Street in St. Paul’s East Side. It’s extremely interactive, and I think I could have spent hours poking around the furniture (which usually had built in artifacts and information) and trying on the clothes. We then went to “We Are Hmong”, one of the featured exhibits, and then to the other feature, “Inspiring Beauty”. We’d been inside for quite a while at that point, and the music show was just starting so we headed to the huge patio outside the museum where we watched people dance along to the music and others just enjoying the weather and sounds. 

Outside the museum, where some people were learning how to dance to Baltic music while others sat and listened. That’s the St. Paul Cathedral in the background.
They had some food options at the music show, but we decided to walk down the Union Depot to explore downtown a bit more. We passed a really cute sculpture of the Peanuts, so of course I made Atticus and Connor pose with them. :)

Inside Union Depot - it’s HUGE!
After seeing Union Depot, we caught the 63 bus route back down Grand Ave all the way to campus, and we stopped at Chipotle on the way for some post-museum dinner. All in all, a great afternoon!

Eloise Terry ‘17