Went to the Leonardo da Vinci's Machines exhibit today at the Academy of Fine Arts. It was pretty amazing, seeing how his incredible mind had come up with thoroughly modern concepts over 550 years ago! I was particularly impressed with his collapsible bridge - completely self-supporting but requires no wires, nails, screws etc! There was a model version that we could put together ourselves - it took a little while to figure it out, but once we got the trick it was easy. The picture on the right is a toy version of the one we put together.
The only thing that was slightly disappointing was that only a few bits of the exhibit were hands-on - the amazing wooden models of the machines were mostly marked "please do not touch". However, some of the lifting gears and the ball-bearing joints were interactive, as was the Archimedes Screw for lifting water (brilliant). The rugrat was fascinated by the ones where two cogs changed the direction of the force, and the block and tackle lifting gears (mostly because she could play with them).
The rest of the day was spent at Te Papa (one of her favourite places), this time investigating the Awesome Forces and Mountains to Sea exhibits. It's the first time we've been able to convince her to go into Awesome Forces - she's always been too worried by the noise of the "earth's core" but this time, she went and had a great look at all the earthquake interactive things. It's pretty neat as she's learning as well as having fun, especially when we went into the Discovery Centre for mammals and she spent a heap of time investigating all the things designed for children.
I'm not a huge fan of Te Papa, but I must admit they are well set up to help children learn and investigate their world. It was also quite quiet today, as although it's a public holiday, the Wellington Rugby Sevens was on so most people were at the Stadium (except for the seriously costumed folks making their way from bar to bar on the way to the Stadium!) and the rest of Wellington's attractions were reasonably quiet.