The Lydster, Part 102: Science Girl

She also loves to water the outdoor plants and weed the garden.

Maybe The Daughter will be a scientist. Two of her favorite shows are science-oriented. One, which I may have mentioned, is the Canadian/American television series called Dino Dan, shown on Nick Jr in the US, which “follows the adventures of the paleontologist-in-training Dan Henderson (played by Jason Spevack)… and his friends, who uncover clues about the past and secrets of the dinosaurs. The show combines live action with CGI dinosaurs.”

The other is Wild Kratts, an animated series, with live-action framing sequences, “created by Chris Kratt and Martin Kratt, presented by PBS in the United States… The show’s aim is to educate children… about biology, zoology, and ecology, and teaches kids small ways to make big impacts… while entertaining them with the Kratts’ usual antics.” Here are some videos.

She also loves to water the outdoor plants and weed the garden. Her reading material includes lots of biology books. The Toronto Zoo was entrancing to her, as was the Ontario Science Centre, where the picture above was taken.

Toronto: The City Pass, Part 2

The highlight may have been a Rube Goldberg-type machine.

The third full day in Toronto we dedicated to going to the Toronto Zoo. It is on the eastern edge of the city and required both train and bus to get there. One could make the case for driving there, I suppose. One of the selling points of having the City Pass is that one could avoid lines. Never was this more true at the Zoo, where we avoided at least a 15-minute wait just to get inside.

The zoo is massive. We saw only about 40% of it. We went to the Malay and African sections but never even got to the Americas or Australia or Eurasia. We considered taking the train around, and we might do that on a future trip. We’re already thinking about that.

The only comparable facility I’ve been to is the San Diego Zoo in California, and that was over a decade ago, maybe two decades. The SD Zoo was $32 per person then, whereas the Toronto Zoo retailed for under $25 US.

There were some extra features, such as rides, which we did not use. But we were pleased that the splash park was part of the admission. It was a particularly warm day – I got a bit of sunburn – so it was a welcome relief. To give you what a full day it was, the Daughter fell asleep on my shoulder on the bus trip back to the train, and then fell asleep again on her mother’s shoulder on the subway ride back to our hotel.

The BONUS appeal of the Toronto Zoo, though, happened some days after we got back to Albany. The Daughter was watching her new favorite show, Dino Dan, which is a TV series about “paleontologist-in-training Dan Henderson (played by Jason Spevack) and his friends, who uncover clues about the past and secrets of the dinosaurs. The show combines live action with CGI dinosaurs.” On one episode last month, which I was only half watching, the Daughter correctly identified as having been filmed at the Toronto Zoo; I immediately recognized the elephant and lion areas myself. Someone put a bit of the episode on YouTube.

I will revisit the zoo later in the year.


We went to the Ontario Science Centre on our way out of town and may have given it short shrift. The quirky thing about this building is that the 6th floor is down, while the 1st floor is up. The Daughter enjoyed the reptiles, and especially the area where one plays with a hot air balloon, lights, bubbles, and a lot more. She particularly liked dancing to her image altered by some nifty effects. Most of our time was spent in the play area.

But the highlight may have been a Rube Goldberg-type machine similar to, but not exactly the same as this one. The one we saw had a bunch of billiard balls, and the patrons had to keep loading the balls into the machine, from a half dozen locales, to keep the effect going. The kids LOVED it; heck, I loved it.

There are City Passes for about a dozen other cities in North America. I’m not sure I’d use it for a city I’ve visited, such as New York or Boston; I’ve been to the Empire State Building. But for a city I’ve never been to, such as Seattle, I think it would be ideal.

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