Crazy, cool science experiments at Discovery Place, Charlotte fun things to do with kids

On a bed of nails she makes me wait…

Some wacky, educational, yet always cool stuff at Discovery Place downtown Charlotte. I love this place! Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and $9 children 2-13.

Amazing frogs! Discovery Place Charlotte where natural science is always fun

The Fantastic Frogs exhibit at Discovery Place science museum in Charlotte features exotic live frogs from all over the world with striking survival capabilities. Here you can immerse in the wild, colorful world of amphibians and see how frogs use disgusing techinques to attract mates, deceive predators and survive.

Fantastic frogs hands on video presentation Discovery Place

Playing the frog lifecycle game


There are several interactive stations kids can play at, scientific videos and of course plenty of frogs. Free with museum admission ($12 adults, $10 seniors, $9 children (2-12))

The Marine Cane, Bufo Marinus, can survive almost anywhere in the southern hemisphere.

The Cane Toad

The toad that conquered most of Australia


Also known as the Cane Toad, it was brought from Hawaii to Australia in a failed attempt to control sugar cane beetle population.

With no natural enemies the toad has flourished and destroyed much of the habitat it was meant to protect.

It is now considered one of the world’s worst invasive species.

The Pacman Frog, Ceratrophys Ornata, can puff up to considerable size and has a large mouth (half as big as the body) with sharp teeth lining the bottowm jaw which deliver a powerful killler bite.

Frog with one of the largest mouths

Dont mess with the Pacman Frog!

The Mighty Poison Dart Frogs
• The Dying Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Tinctorious, according to legend was used by Amerindians from Guyana and Amazon to change the green color of a young parrot’s feathers by plucking the desired area bald and then rubbing with the living frog. When new feathers grew in they will be magically dyed bright yellow and red.

• The Blue Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Azureus,

Dendrobates azureus most territorial of dart frogs specie

The most fierce dart frogs females will defend territory and mating rights to their death

is considered one of the most territorial frogs, with females fiercely defending against other trespassing females.

During the breeding season, a victorious females wins the mating rights with the male of choice.

Two weeks after laying her eggs she must transfer them to separate pools as the growing tadpoles are cannibalistic.

• The Black-Legged Poison Dart Frog, Phyllobates Bicolor, is one of the three frog species whose toxin was used to poison the spears of Columbian Choco Indians hunters.

• The Green and Black Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Auratus, possesses a natural compound called epibatidine that has powerful pain-killing properties. It is 200 times stronger than morphine and is non-addictive.

Full of epibatidine to produce efective pain medicine

It packs a pain killing toxin that is 200 times stornger than morphine

• The Golden Poison Dart Frog, Phyllobates Terribilis, is the world’s most poisonous frog, 4 times as toxic as the Blue Poison Dart Frog and 40 times more toxic than the Black-Legged Poison Dart Frog.

More incredible frog trivia:
• The Hairy Toad, Trichobatrachus Robustus, has bony protrusions that shoot out from the toe pads like claws to scare away predators; it’s not yet clear if they can also retract.

• Frog freeze! The Wood Frog turns its flesh from flexible to frozen during winter. The “popsicle” frog remains in a frigid state until the temperature rises, when it thaws back to life.

• The gliding-ator, Polypedates Dennysi, takes a leap of faith through the rainforest canopy to escape predators and to find mates.

• The tomato frog produces a sticky slime that is 25 times stronger than cement.

Visit Discovery Place to enjoy and learn about world’s most interesting creatures.

Cowpens National Battlefield – Monuments, stories, quotes and artifacts

“Just hold up your heads, boys, three fires and you are free…when you return to your homes, how the old folks will bless you, and the girls will kiss you, for your gallant conduct.”

The Cowpens National Battlefield park near Greenville-Spartanburg area is home to one of the most critical battles of the American Revolution. On this field, on January 17, 1781 General Daniel Morgan led his army to a brilliant victory over Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s British forces, which helped turn the tide in our favor.

Admission is free and the park is open daily from dawn to dusk. There is plenty for kids to enjoy. Below are some of the stories, quotes and artifacts I found most interesting (historical data, quotes and illustrations are from the museum exhibits).

General Daniel Morgan, a tough man and a military genius

Life size replica of Gen. Morgan riding his horse at Cowpens

The Old Wagoner, General Daniel Morgan, a military genious and self-made man

Morgan’s military genius was revealed when he deployed the double envelopment, a military strategy unique during Revolution and one of the few in world’s history.

Morgan chose Cowpens for its tactical advantages: a river to the rear to discourage the ranks from breaking, a rising ground on which to post his regulars, an open forest and marsh on one side to thwart flanking maneuvers.

The battle lasted less than an hour and the British losses were staggering: 110 killed, 229 wounded and 600 captured or missing.

Morgan later told a friend that he had given “Bloody” Tarleton and the British a “devil of a whipping”

“…Our success was complete…Our loss was inconsiderable, not having more than twelve killed and sixty wounded… General Morgan to General Greene, January 19, 1781.

Great generals are scarce – there are few Morgans to be found” General Nathaniel Greene 1781.

The British were dumbfounded…the unthinkable happened!

Monument at the entrance to Cowpens National Battlefield museum


“The fire on both sides produced much slaughter…”

Lt. Col Banastre Tarleton

The Edinburgh Advertiser reports on April 3, 1781 the unfathomed defeat of the British at the Battle of Cowpens:

“Of the action between Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton and their General Morgan, on the 17th…they have gone so far as to assert, that the former was totally defeated.”

“The disaster of the 17th of January cannot be imputed to any defect in my conduct, as the detachment was certainly superior to the force against which it was sent…”
Lord Cornwallis

Battle of Cowpens artifacts
Inside the museum you can admire the 1760 British Dragoons officer’s sword with an iron semi-basket kilt, and a bluish blade engraved and gilded with Scottish emblems. Dragoons were the “eyes of the army”, their mission was to prevent surprise attacks. Also on display is a Scottish 71st Fraser’s Highlanders officer’s broad sword.

1700s sabers swords pistols used in American Revolution

Tools of the trade...exquisite Dragoon sabers

The Mighty Moo and The Herd
In theater you can see models of the USS Cowpens CVL-25 and CG-63 ships, both nicknamed “Mighty Moo”. The USS Cowpens, CG-63, is a a state-of-the-art guided missile cruiser commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1991 in Charleston. On March 20, 2003, she fired the first Tomahawk missile into Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Model replica of the USS Cowpens CG-63

Mighty Moo cruiser was commissioned in 1991 in Charleston

The museum also displays a replica of the two cannons used by the British at the Battle of Cowpens. The guns were light enough to be carried on horseback. When mounted on long shafts they could be moved by soldiers. The cannons were nicknamed “grasshoppers” because they hoped when fired!

British light artillery used in the American Revolution

Replica of the British grasshopper captured at Cowpens

The capture of the “Grasshoppers”
Near the end of the battle, as the Americans swept forward, two Continental officers sought to capture the enemy’s “grasshopper” canons. Captain Anderson of Maryland won the race when he used his spontoon to vault forward onto one of the grasshoppers. Captain Kirkwood of Delaware captured the other.

Stories of courage in the American Revolution

Capt. Anderson of Maryland jumps to capture the Grasshopper cannon

The clash of swords and ultimate loyalty…
American horsemen led by Lt. Col. William Washington (George Washington’s second cousin) clashed with retreating British officers of the 17th Light Dragoons.

Young servant shoots British officer to save Lt. Washington

Young servant risks his life to save that of his master

Washington quickly outpaced his troops, and then broke his weapon at the hilt when he got into a sword fight with a British officer.

According to legend, Washington’s young servant rode up just in time saving his life by shooting the attacking British officer.

This account inspired artist William Ranney to paint this vivid battle scene in 1845.

The Washington Light Infantry of Charleston, South Carolina erected this monument in 1856 to commemorate this important American victory.

Revolutionary War memorial

Monument erected in 1856 to honor the victory at Cowpens


For more inspiring stories from the Battle of Cowpens visit the park’s official website.

You can read details about the battle, what happened soon thereafter, how the families coped during the war and the important role played by women and African American slaves.

Speaking of women, here is a brief summary of famous South Carolina daughters and their heroic acts of patriotism during Independence War.

Mark your calendar!
January 15 and 16, 2011 is the Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Cowpens. There will be an encampment, lantern tours, live firing demonstrations, and author lectures. For more details call (864) 461-2828.

Be proud at Cowpens National Battlefield in beautiful South Carolina!

Wild about animals at Discovery Place, Charlotte fun kids things to do

I strongly believe the completely redesigned Discovery Place downtown Charlotte is the coolest science museum in the Southeast! Discovery Place is open daily 9AM to 4PM (6PM Saturday, noon to 5PM Sunday). Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors, $9 children 2-13 and free for those under 2.
This post is about the “Rainforest” and “World Alive” exhibits, filled with North Carolina native as well as exotic animals from around the world.

Touch the iguana Charlotte World Alive exhibit

Its so smooth!

It’s a jungle out here! Look out for python, dart frogs, macaws, sloth and cheerful birds. Make sure to attend the A World Apart free live show (daily at 3PM, free admission)

Jungle adventures for children of all ages

Walking a tight rope in Charlotte...

At “Touch a Tank” children can pet horse and hermit crabs, star fish, and sea urchins. How cool is that?

Sea creatures tank World Alive exhibit

Hello Patrick!

The aquarium consists of 15 tanks featuring diverse ecosystems: Indo-Pacific coral reef, North Carolina coastal habitat, and a seafloor reef with small sharks, stingrays, jellyfish and more.

Tropical coral freshwater fish marine creatures

Salt marsh habitat in North Carolina

We spent the most time in the science lab. Lana was trilled to look at all sorts of objecs under the fancy microscope and to manipulate the images on the computer.

Analyzing objects under the microscope

Your keys look huge mommy!

Yes, it’s real! Come enjoy an assortment of fresh wild animal poop, courtesy of black bears, bobcats, deer, raccoons and more…It stinks in here!

Bear deer bobcat raccoon snake moose scat samples

Yuk, smelly bear poop!

Dare to flex your bear muscles?

Life size replicas grizzly polar black bears

Arrrr...they look fierce!

I was drawn to the carnivorous plants…good think they were behind the glass.

Amazing Venus trap plants Charlotte Science exhibits

Tough as nails...watch out she will bite you!

A trip back in time. It’s a small world really…

Skeletons of our ancestors

Whos your daddy?

Be forever childish at Discovery Place in Charlotte!

Cool stuff kids! Discovery Place in Charlotte blows your mind

The wait is finally over! The Discovery Place science museum downtown Charlotte made it to the 21st century! Recently we spent over 4 hours exploring the newly renovated museum. Admission is $12 adults, $9 children 2-13, and free for those under 2.

Our favorite exhibit was “Cool Stuff”, an action-packed gallery dedicated to fun scientific experiments. Here is a virtual tour:

Blasting tennis balls through mechanical force

Kids pull all the ropes at Discovery Place

Wanna get a lift? Hop on the air chair! Kids get to see how a small difference in air pressure can have a pretty big, and in this case, cool impact. It’s the same principle when you drink water with a straw…

Best time ever playing inside Cool Stuff exhibit

Up in the air!

Get in line for a tug of war! See what’s all the fuss about giant levers, fulcrum, mechanical forces, and momentum.

Charlotte Museum Cool Stuff exhibit

Who do you think will win?

Sleeping beauty? Dare to lay down on the bed of nails (metal spikes)! It actually felt quite comfortable…

Kid feeling comfy on a bed of spikes

On a bed nails she makes me wait...

Snap circuits, create your own robots, mechanical arm and catapult. Design a computer program and see your robot go! Indeed, this is fun science learning at its best!

Build your own robot at Charlotte Science Museum

I robot...

This was by far the most popular station. Kids push, pull, shove, lift, and spin all sorts of mechanical contraptions just to move some sand around!

Children love the sand moving station

A construction boom in Charlotte?!

Feel the weird power of spinning motion with the gravity defying Gyro Briefcase! Rocket ships, bicycles, frisbees and yo-yos all take advantage of the strange gyroscopic motion.

Discover Place science museum kids fun

It doesn't even budge mom!

Get higher and higher…kids use their muscle power to lift themselves up in the air. Experience first hand the properties of friction, pulleys, and levers.

Sheer power

Learn about friction and resistance

Ready, set, aim! Blast air at various targets or at your parents (if they’re standing in the way)! See a mini-tornado in action and learn about the power of a vortex.

Giant air zooka shooting at targets

Vortex power

Want more? There is also:

• Laser spy
• Lariat chain
• Dancing trees
• Sail racing
• Fiber optic illusions
• Hydraulic contests

Are you a wild thing? Then, spend some time at the Word Alive exhibit on the first floor. There are live exotic animals in the rainforest and the aquarium, and even a petting zoo!

Little ones have fun too inside the Kids Science exhibit, featuring a water table, race track, wind tubes, drums station and a protected area for infants and toddlers.

Be smart, have fun at Discovery Place in Charlotte NC!

Rats go nuts! Exciting basketball game at Discovery Place in Charlotte

Take advantage of reduced admission ($7 through November 22) and come see rats play ball at Discovery Place downtown Charlotte.

Get ready for the game!

Get ready for the game!

This is serious business: there is a pre-game warm up presentation of Nacho the Rat Queen, referees, cheerleaders and non stop action basketball. The rats know their stuff!

Here’s a preview…

While at Discovery embark on an deep-ocean treasure hunt adventure courtesy of the new blockbuster exhibit SHIPWRECK! Pirates and Treasure (free with museum admission)!

Uncover the mysteries of the world’s most-famous shipwrecks, like the SS Republic®, the greatest Civil War lost treasure (hint: 51,000 gold and silver coins are involved…)

If time permits go to Freedom Park to enjoy an outdoor oasis and the fun Charlotte Nature Museum.

Kids love blowing off balloons at Charlotte’s Discovery Place museum

No wonder the Little Einstein’s corner is one of the most popular exhibits at the awesome Discovery Place museum. Crowds gather quickly and are not shy to cheer on the volunteers as they perform “explosive” and even magical science experiments.

Tips to know before you go:
1. Go early morning, and if possible, during the week. The weekend is really crowded especially this month due to the new exhibit “The Day in Pompeii”. The Dinosaurs exhibit runs through August 10 so go see it while you can. Once this is over it’s worth paying the extra $10 to go see The Day in Pompeii; by then most of the excitement should have cooled off and you can enjoy it in peace at your own pace.

2. Reserve 2-3 hours to enjoy the museum. Plan ahead which exhibits you must attend and go there first. Be realistic, you can’t see and enjoy it all in just one visit.

• Toddlers and young kids: KidsPlace room, Puppet Show Theater (currently featuring Dinosaurs play with shows at 11 AM, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:45 PM), playing with shadows near Virtual Reality exhibit
• School age kids: All the dinosaurs exhibits (including digging for fossils for extra $2), Virtual Reality games, Little Einstein science, The Shop Machine exhibits

3. Parking – Use the museum garage parking ($7 day flat rate fee) and walk straight into the museum. Alternatively, you can park in the garage across the street from the museum ($5 day flat rate fee Fri and Sat)

Take your kids canopy zip-line, ATV, motocross and Black Ops riding at Carolina Adventure World, only 45 minutes drive from Charlotte.