Flint Hills Discovery Center

Our original plan when visiting the Flint Hills Discovery Center was to check out the place where they’d be holding a lecture later that week. The problem with public lectures is often seating and comfort, so we wanted to check beforehand to make sure this was going to work for us.
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Flint Hills Discovery Center
After arriving there, we decided to go ahead and by a day pass to explore the museum. We started by seeing their film, which includes features such as blowing air and smoke to “immerse” the audience in the narration of the film. Then we explored the areas and looked at the exhibits about the Flint Hills and Kansas in general.
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It was a fun place to visit, and it would be fun to take my nephews or niece there if they were to come this way for a visit. It gave me a new perspective on Kansas, and the exhibits were interesting. There are certain areas that are free to the public, including the lobby, which has a kiosk that lets visitors plan an itinerary of other places to see in Kansas, and a third floor terrace which overlooks part of Manhattan and gives a distant view of the Hills.
At the time I originally wrote this blog, there were a few things I was kind of bummed about. One was the fact that the art gallery portion wasn’t open, but in order to visit it again, we’d have to pay the admission fee or purchase a membership. Because it didn’t strike us as the kind of place we’d visit multiple times, both options seemed a little iffy. I was also a little disappointed when they said they used “youth chairs” for their lectures. I can’t imagine anyone being comfortable in what I perceived as kid chairs, even smaller people than J and I.
However, in a weird twist of events, my point of view has changed a bit. Part of that was the fact that we did attend a lecture there and it turned out to be really comfortable. Kudos to the DC for having really good, sturdy chairs for their visitors.
The other part was that as part of one of his classes, J. ended up getting a membership, and we found out that the FHDC is part of a large network of museums, so this membership will allow us to visit other museums all over the country. And the privileges mean that I can attend other museums with him at no charge because it gives family benefits too.
However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to go ahead and get a membership as well. It works out to less than a couple dollars a month, and it will allow us to see all the exhibits (the family benefits only kick in at museums that are over 90 miles a way from where we live). Plus, the charitable part of me wants to be able to say I contributed to something cool, and we can incorporate the Discovery Center as another place to take walks.
I’ll be signing up for a membership in a couple days, when the FHDC has its Discovery Day to celebrate being open a year. Admission is free, so even though signing up for the membership won’t really allow us to take advantage of that, we’re going to see some of the cool things they’re doing (plus we’ve planned for this to be our museum day in Manhattan. I’m currently nursing a bum foot, but praying it’ll be better in the next day or so, so I can go exploring).
Also, the terrace is amazingly calm. I plan to utilize this space for “down time” in the future.
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Exploring MHK: Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery

The trip to Fort Worth really flipped a switch, and I’m riding it out until the switched gets flipped back the other way.
I didn’t think Manhattan had that many places to look at art and such. While the Manhattan Arts Center isn’t someplace I go for events, they do have regular exhibits that are fun to view. Beyond that, I thought most things were on campus, which is territory I’ve avoided for the most part. But upon doing some research, I found some really neat places.
Down on Poyntz Avenue is The Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery which houses a permanent collection for sale on the lower level and a rotating exhibit on the second floor. Not rotating as in it moves, but they change it out every 6-7 weeks.
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Besides loving the art they had on display, I was thrilled with out friendly the people are. Not everyone in this town is friendly, and some places we’ve visited have had an air of pretentiousness that’s really off-putting. But the staff talked to us about the displays, about the art, and everyone greeted us warmly as we walked through.
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I’m excited to make this gallery a regular stop to see new art and new exhibits. I recommend it as a spot to visit and as a source of presents for my upcoming birthday (just in case you were looking).

Field Trip Friday – Texas Vacation Day 3

To continue with our trend of culture and fun, we visited the Forth Worth Museum of Science and History on field trip Friday. We didn’t realize it was going to be field trip day until we got there and the parking lot was filled with school buses and lines of elementary kids waiting to get in.
Normally, I would have driven the other way, but I really wanted to see the museum, so we found a parking space and braved the super loud museum and the groups of children. As someone who doesn’t consider myself a “kid person,” I actually thought it was cool how excited they all were about the exhibits.
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There were some cool things to see and a lot of hands on things we probably would have done if not for all the kids. We avoided the Titanic exhibit due to cost, but we did stop in the Cattle Raisers’ Museum (a museum inside of the Science and History museum…very inceptionesque).
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Our next stop was the National Cowgirl Museum. I was bummed that we couldn’t take pictures except for in the lobby. It was still a great experience. The special exhibit was Maverick quilts. Upstairs we took goofy digital photos and watched a short video on cowgirls.

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Our final stop was the Amon Carter American Art Museum. At this point, we were pretty exhausted. Remember me saying I wasn’t great at walking? Well I pushed it. We parked in a parking garage that was halfway between the Amon and the science, and that added so many steps. So by the time we got to this last one, I was hurting.

So as much as I hate to admit it, we kind of copped out of the Amon. But we did get through most of it and got some good pictures.

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We decided it was okay to miss part of the permanent collection, and we did get to see the special exhibit there, a series of enlarged photos. Next time we’re there, we’ll make Amon Carter our first stop.

By the time we were done,  Grandma L and Cousin S had already scoped out a lunch spot for us, and we met them at a place called Fireside Pies,  a trendy looking place that makes gourmet pizzas.

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Delicious.

We ended the day by relaxing at the house with some TV, reading and knitting for awhile before the cousins came back over with chicken dinner. We ate and chatted for a few hours before finally calling it a night.

Art Immersion – Texas Vacation Day 2

It’s easy for J. Felbs and I to get lazy during vacation, especially when we’re visiting a city we’re not familiar with and when we have a comfy place to stay and watch TV. This time around, however, we decided to get out of our comfort zone this time and visit some museums in Fort Worth. We didn’t plan this ahead of time. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision at breakfast, but one that proved to be a good one.
We started with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

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The museum was beautiful and we enjoyed walking through all the galleries. There was so much to look at and we kept finding rooms and hallways, like a cool, art-filled maze.

Like with anything that  involves pictures, even though I liked looking at all the art, I only took pictures of the things that really resonated with me, which meant that in many cases it was the art I found to be a bit creepy.

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After that, we went to the Kimbell Art Museum across the street.
At the entrance of the Kimbell
At the entrance of the Kimbell

The feel of the Kimbell was different from the feel of the Modern. It felt smaller and warmer in décor, though not necessarily warmer in atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was super friendly (one of my favorite parts of visiting Texas), but there was definitely a more serious feel to the gallery.

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We decided to leave the other museums until the next day to beat rush hour and what seemed like ominous weather. We headed back to Grandma L’s and relaxed for awhile before meeting up with more family for dinner at a restaurant called Frescos.
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Besides the awesome feeling of hanging with my husband and actually getting out and doing something, I was proud of the amount of walking and standing I did. I definitely felt like I was able to get past the mobility issues and really enjoy seeing things outside of the norm. Day 2 proved to be just as successful as Day 1, if not more so.

Good Weekend Times

http://instagr.am/p/WG9gK_QAkB/ I’m still trying to figure out a good and easy way to cross post to different blogs, so consider this another test to see how Instagram sharing goes. I’ve been trying to do a pic and post a day and sharing on FB, but I’d like to share through here and Tumblr too (but can’t seem to connect my IG and Tumblr accounts. Either way, this is a sample of the lovely art we saw at the gallery opening today (our first trip back to the MAC since we helped serve food as part of the now defunct writer’s group. I loved the art and am glad I actually went out and did something today instead of continuing my Weekends are for the Lazies trend. I mean, they are…but it was still nice to get out.