Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arizona Museum for Youth

Today the forecast high was one-hundred-fourteen degrees. It was hot. So, armed with some of the Mesa Bucks I mentioned in an earlier entry, we went to the Arizona Museum for Youth located in what used to be the first Bashas' grocery store at 35 N. Robson in downtown Mesa. As a matter of fact they have an architect's rendering of the Bashas' kind of tucked away by an emergency exit, hung right above where they apparently like to keep their recycle bin. I left the recycle bin out of the photo out of respect. Plus it just didn't come out that great.

The real reason we went to the AZ MfY (that doesn't look very good, does it?) is because they currently have an exhibit called Jump into Japan and our daughter and her friends are interested in popular Japanese culture. There are big fuzzy representations of anime characters like Totoro and Catbus.
The place wasn't exactly crowded, but there were kids playing and exploring and parents patiently looking on or having fun themselves. None of the exhibits is what you could call in depth, but in a relatively small space they manage to touch on traditional as well as current Japanese culture, have places where you can try your hand at things like stop-action animation, a neat alphabet computer program that turns English words and names into what look very much like Japanese symbols, and various places where you can engage in less high tech art projects.

I don't think that this next thing was part of the Jump Into Japan exhibit, but it was right next to it. A kind of spooky double camera set-up with a delay action projection thingie that allows you to see what is on the other side of a wall while also inserting your own "x-ray" image onto the the screen. My son and I had some fun with it.

I'm the old guy on the right.

There is also currently an exhibition called "Play Ball" all about the history of the major league baseball spring training in Arizona. Evidently the New York (later San Francisco) Giants team made it a practice to visit the Buckhorn Baths in east Mesa at the beginning of spring training to get their muscles loosened up and their attitudes adjusted. I took this shot before I saw the sign requesting no photos. It's not a very good shot, so I don't think it counts. Right?

Something I thought was kind of interesting in a "Really? I Woulda Never Thought" kind of way is a section devoted to the late artist Keith Haring. Interesting choice. Especially for Mesa. Just goes to show that sometimes this town can surprise a person.

So there you go. That's how we entertained ourselves on this hot, hot August day in Mesa.

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