Motion Commotion. Sounds like another day in the life with kids. In reality, it's the name of a new exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center featuring 30 interactive components from San Francisco's Exploratorium.
In summer, my kids' scientific exploration consists of testing the hypothesis that for every poke, there is an equal and opposite poke. At Motion Commotion, they happily expanded their scientific knowledge by investigating the physics and psychology of motion.
Take Silage Beach. Standing inside a stationary cabana, red and white strips of fabric whirling past our eyes tricked our brains into thinking our bodies were moving. It was like the rides at Darien Lake: My kids loved it and it made me just as nauseous for a fraction of the price.
But the real thrill was Mercator Your Face. It's a computer program that allows visitors to map their faces. The hilarious images demonstrate how boundaries on maps can be distorted. Don't worry if you resemble Siberia. It's the science that counts.
St. Louis' Gateway Arch sprang to life in Catenary Arch, which lets kids build a replica of this engineering feat. Catenary arches are especially strong because they redirect forces of gravity into compressed forces that press along a curve. That's how control top pantyhose work, too.
Suitable for all ages, Motion Commotion runs through May 2006. RMSC hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. $8 for adults, $6 for children 3-18, under 3 free. For info visit www.rmsc.org or call 271-4320.
--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)
Brighton Memorial Library story times through Sat, July 16: Mondays 10 a.m. (ages 3-4), 10:30 a.m. (ages 1-2.5); Thursdays 7 p.m. (families) | Thurs, July 14. Just Clowning Around Magic Show, 10:30 p.m. must register, (ages 5 & up) | Fri, July 15. Harry Potter Movie Marathon, 10 a.m.& 1 p.m.| Tues, July 19. Mega Bubble Man, 10:30 a.m. must register | 2300 Elmwood Avenue. 784-5300, www.brightonlibrary.org
Corning Museum of Glass Wed, July 20. Little Gather storytelling series, One Museum Way, Corning, 11 a.m. 607-974-3306, www.cmog.org
Cumming Nature Center Sun, July 17. Butterfly Spotting Day, 6472 Gulick Rd, Naples, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. & 1-3 p.m. $3 donation, www.rmsc.org
Family Summer Concert Series Sundays. Total Sports Experience, 880 Elmgrove Rd, 6:30 p.m. Free.
Henrietta Public Library Wed, July 13. Airplay, 2-3 p.m. | Mondays, Family Pajama Story time, 7-7:30 p.m. | Tuesdays, Jumbles, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (grades 1-3) | Fridays, Movies, 2 p.m. | Wednesdays, Toddler Story times, 10:30 a.m. (preschool). | Thursdays, Preschool Story time, 10:15-10:45 a.m. (ages 3-4) | Thursdays, Story time, 11-11:30 a.m. (age 5) | Wed, July 20. Tune In Sing Along, 2-3 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092
Letchworth State Park Thurs, July 14. Animal Walk, 1 p.m. Meet at Trout Pond | Sun, July 17. Wildflower Walk, 1 p.m. Meet at Great Bend Overlook | Tues, July 19. Mary Jemison's Legacy, 7 p.m. Meet at Lower Falls Restaurant | Castille, 493-3625
Planetarium Dome Saturdays. Vacation Skies, RMSC, 657 East Ave, 11 a.m. $6-$8, 271-4320, www.rmsc.org
Seneca Park Zoo Wed, July 13. Native America,6-8 p.m. $6.25-$8.75. Pre-register. | 336-7213, www.senecazoo.org
Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens Story Time Sundays. 151 Charlotte St, Canandaigua, 2 p.m., free with admission, 394-4922
Summer History Read Wednesdays, Ontario County Historical Museum, 55 N Main St, Canandaigua, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grades 4-5, 394-4975
Sterling Nature Center Wed, July 13. Insect Sweep, Jensvold Rd, northern Cayuga County, 2 p.m. 315-947-6143 | Wed, July 20. Bats! Cayuga Museum, 203 Genesee St, Auburn, 11 a.m. | 315-253-8051
Quiet Noisy Stories of Preschoolers Wed, July 20. Children's Center, Central Library, 115 South Ave, 10 a.m. registration required, 428-8150
"Be thou familiar," Polonius tells Laertes and Ophelia, "but by no means vulgar." And a whole bunch of other stuff. The speech is famous because as parents, we all give some form of it from time to time. Polonius's children, of course, see the sniveling weasel their father's actions betray him to be. Ay, there's the rub: Our children may not hear what we say, but they most certainly see what we do.
This thought occurred to me as I put on prosthetic breasts for a role in The Comedy of Errors at Highland Bowl. Whatever I say from here on out, to my children I will forever be a man who cross-dresses. I can live with that. I'll also be a man who yells at TV sports and when my daughter can't find her shoes and makes us five minutes late. Less palatable. Am I a man who treats their mother --- and by extension, women --- decently? I sure as hell better be.
I knew a man who told me how important it was to take his kids to the YMCA playroom when he went for a workout. They would see him demonstrate how important it is to take care of our physical selves. I figured they'd probably also noticed that he'd left their mother.
I want my children to see me read and talk about books, to see that my wife and I value difference, to see that we love each other. But of course, they'll see everything. It's a heavy burden.
--- Adam A. Wilcox