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Archive for the ‘Happiness Project 2018’ Category

Today marks the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Today also marks my 38th post for this year, and I completed #5 (blog at least once per month) on my 18 for 2018 list. I was a blogging fiend this year, and I’m delighted with my progress and consistency which I plan on continuing throughout 2019.

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Of the 12 remaining items on my 18 for 2018 list, I completed eight of them this quarter:

#1 Order two birth certificates for myself (contact vital records in California).
#3 Create a Google Photo account.
#5 Blog at least once per month (of course, more would be better).
#10 Try a voice (singing) lesson.
#13 Make an appointment with my eye doctor.
#15 Complete a 5K.
#16 Read Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau.
#18 Plan my 50th birthday celebration.

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Of my 18 items on my 18 for 2018 list, I did not complete four of them, and here are my thoughts on why I think they were not completed.

#4 Lose 18 pounds.

Losing weight this year was clearly not a priority for me. I could blame it on lack of time, but that would be an excuse. At some point, I gained back the three pounds that I lost which puts me weighing in at 158 pounds again. I will revisit this item in 2019.

#6 Plan a trip to New York City with Andrew for 2019.

Since putting this item on my list at the beginning of the year, circumstances arose during the year that put this item temporarily on the back burner. First, Andrew has the opportunity to go on another trip abroad with STA in 2019. He will be traveling to Germany, Prague, and the Swiss Alps during spring break which is when we were supposed to travel to New York. Second, my hubby has shown interest in going with us; however, his vacation time is limited, and he has already allotted two of his weeks of vacation for 2019 for other events. Finally, my Uncle Charles passed away in July, and I want to make a trip to Utah to spend some time with my Aunt Carolyn. Also, I’m not too sure how the summer will play out with Andrew starting college in August. I will revisit this item, but it will not be in 2019 unless our circumstances change again.

#11 Update my LinkedIn account. 

I’m not too sure why I could not complete this item. Lack of motivation, maybe? I met with Michelle in April to get a few tips on updating my account, but I did not really do much with it after our meeting. I’m not really active on this social networking site. This may change in the future, but I do not plan on revisiting this item in 2019.

#12 Organize my master bedroom closet.

My master bedroom closet is a thorn in my side. Honestly, my house and all its stuff is a whole tree with several branches full of thorns in my side. In order for me to organize my closet, I really need to organize the rest of my house (maniacal laugh). At the Loyacano homestead, we have too much stuff. I must purge my house of stuff. I will definitely revisit this item in 2019.

2018 was a terrific year for my family and me. We experienced awesome events throughout the year from attending concerts, traveling, interacting with a sloth, to working concessions at LSU football games. I read many terrific books, watched a bunch of super movies and television shows, took an ADR/Looping Workshop, and met one of my favorite authors. I was fortunate to spend quality time with family and friends, cheer Andrew and his swim team on at the State Meet in Sulphur, and celebrate 30 years with my hubby. And, those are just some of the highlights of a year well-spent. I am grateful for our year of blessings of which we had many. Dear reader, I hope before 2018 ends, you will have a moment to reflect on your year of blessings. Happiness!

“As we look to the new year, hold on to what is good. Let go of what is bad. It really is that simple.” ~ Mandy Hale

 

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Party

On January 11, 2019, I will officially become 50 years old or 1/2 of a century old. In my late twenties, I distinctly remember throwing my mother a 50th birthday party and thinking that she was old. HA! Oh, how my thinking has changed considerably since I am throwing myself a 50th birthday party in a few weeks. What does 50 feel like? Personally, I do not think it will feel old. More grown-up, perhaps, but not old. Honestly, I mentally stopped aging when I turned 32 years old and birthed Andrew. Time kind of stopped for me at that point. When I turned 40, I marked that milestone with a party amongst friends; however, I did not feel like a 40-year-old. Now, it is ten years later, and I’m ready to party amongst friends again to mark this new milestone. 

Age is relative. Don’t you agree, dear reader? Happiness!

“Go shawty, it’s your birthday/We gonna party like it’s your birthday.” ~ 50 Cent

 

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Side HustleIn January of 2017, I started listening to Chris Guillebeau’s podcast Side Hustle School. Chris Guillebeau enjoys the freedom that comes with being self-employed and a side hustler. He has written a few books on the subject over the years about his experiences and the experiences of others who prefer to make a living in a nontraditional way. Being my own boss and having more control over my time appeals to me; therefore, when his book was published last year, I decided to read it and see if I could obtain some information that would move me closer to developing my own side hustle.

This morning, I finished reading Chris Guillebeau’s book Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days. Motivation for starting a side hustle varies from person to person; however, the goal is pretty much the same: create additional income while still working your day job. Sometimes, the side hustle turns into your day job. Sometimes, the side hustle doesn’t work out long term or fizzles out altogether. Regardless of the motivation or the outcome, starting a side hustle does not require much time, money, or leaving the security of your day job. A side hustle is also not a part-time job where you work for someone else. Guillebeau offers a step-by-step format, provides resources, and shares stories to guide the reader to creating his or her own side hustle.

I have friends, who over the years, have created their own side hustles. They have generated extra income from making hair bows, taking pictures, tutoring, giving music lessons, and baking cookies. They all have a certain skill or special talent that they enjoy doing and profit from by putting those skills and talents out into the world. Now it is my turn. I just have to come up with an idea.

Have you ever started a side hustle or thought about starting one, dear reader? I’d love to hear your experience. Happiness!

“A side hustle has many benefits, but it all starts with the right idea.” ~ Chris Guillebeau

 

 

 

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Back in October, I made an appointment with my eye doctor for the Saturday after Thanksgiving (#13 on my 18 for 2018 list). It had been a little over four years since my last eye exam. While seeing distance was still fine, my close up vision had changed slightly. I was having to hold whatever I was reading a little farther than usual. My goal for this visit was to examine my eyes, purchase new glasses, and inquire about contacts that would allow me to see close up and at a distance. During the glaucoma part of the examination, he noticed that my eye pressure was a little high and there was slight cupping of the optic nerve. While he was not overly concerned, he requested that I schedule a 30-2 test. That test is scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday afternoon. I did pick out some new frames, and my glasses should be ready on the 13th of this month. Unfortunately, I did not order contacts. I am not a good candidate for the distance/close-up combo because of my horrible astigmatism. I had a feeling the answer would be no, but I remained hopeful all the same. The last time I purchased contacts, they were for distance only. It was not a wise purchase since I read so much. I constantly had to use reader glasses which was a pain. The point of wearing contacts is to not wear glasses. However, I have been wearing glasses since the 4th grade, so I quickly built a bridge and got over it. I guess it boils down to vanity and the fact that I personally do not think I look great with glasses unless they are sunglasses.

In Other News:

Andrew & Mr. Levy

Coach Levy and Andrew

Andrew’s Swim Banquet was held on Tuesday evening at Le Fleur de Lis in Ponchatoula. The food was delicious, the slideshow was wonderful, and the presentation of the awards was enjoyable. I am super proud of Andrew and the STA Swim Team. They are an incredible group of young people who swam well this year. They all lettered and were acknowledged for working together and putting in 100% at practices and the meets. Andrew received the Coach’s Award. He was both surprised and honored that Coach Levy chose him. It was a proud mama moment watching Andrew receive this award. Even though Andrew’s high school swim career has officially ended, he is still connected to the friends that he made, the accomplishments that he earned, and the satisfaction of being a part of a team. I’m happy that he went out for the swim team his junior year. I not only enjoyed watching Andrew and his teammates swim, but I also enjoyed becoming friends with the other moms. Thankfully, there is Facebook to keep up with them.

Over the Thanksgiving break, Andrew visited his ENT doctor because he has been struggling with congestion on and off for the last couple of years. She prescribed him two nasal sprays (one for the morning and one for the evening), ordered x-rays of his nasal area, and requested allergy testing. He took x-rays later that day, and I scheduled his allergy testing for this past Wednesday. Thankfully, the x-rays showed his nasal area is clear. No sign of infection. Sadly, the allergy testing revealed that Andrew is allergic to 15 of the 17 tested allergens. UGH! Of the 15 allergens, two are cat and dog. Double UGH! This means that he will start getting weekly shots for the next year. In addition, changes will need to be made at home, especially in his bedroom to help alleviate some of the allergy triggers. Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to keep the allergens at bay. And, he does not come in contact with some of the allergens. Hopefully, with adjustments at home, the nasal sprays, and shots, Andrew will be less congested or not congested at all in the near future.

Today marks the first day of December and the last month of the year. This month is the last leg of my 18 for 2018 journey, and I have just seven items left on my list to complete before the end the month. Can I do it? I’m hopeful for completing all but two items which I’ll write about later this month. Did you, dear reader, fulfill the goals you set for yourself this year? You might want to create a 19 for 2019 list or something similar. Happiness!

“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.” ~ Thomas Henry Huxley

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Kat 2Yesterday morning, I set up a Google Photo account (#3 on my 18 for 2018 list) to help me win the constant battle I have with my iPhone over storage. Setting the account up was effortless. What I find praiseworthy about opening this account is I can access my photos on my computer which will make ordering photos for my scrapbooking projects super easy. I still need to explore all of the features this account has to offer. One ability I hope I have is uploading photos directly from my account to my blog or to social media. I’ll have to play with it. I’m not tech savvy, so figuring this out on my own is kind of exciting.

In Other News:

I’m in the early stages of planning my 50th birthday party. I have a date (January 12th)! I had so much fun at my 40th birthday party that I thought it would be fun to do it again for my 50th. I believe I have the most AWESOME group of friends who bring a great deal of love, laughter, and joy to my life, and I cannot imagine a better way to mark this milestone than to spend it with them and my lovely family. After all, I am going to be 1/2 a century old this upcoming year.

My season of sacrifice has officially ended. In fact, it ended on Saturday evening when I left Tiger Stadium after working LSU concessions for the last home game. It has also coincided beautifully with Thanksgiving of which I am blessed to have the whole week off. While I am relieved that this season of sacrifice is over, I am also grateful for the experiences it afforded me these past few months. It makes me more appreciative for the restorative benefits that down time has provided me the last few days.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader! I hope you can carve out some time this week to relax and reflect on your blessings amidst the cooking, eating, football watching, and  shopping. Thank you for your continued readership of my blog; I consider you a blessing and appreciate your ongoing encouragement and support. Happiness!

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~ W. T. Purkiser

 

 

 

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Manchac Race Number

Excitedly, I woke up early today to a crisp autumn morning. 43 degrees crisp. My hubby and I met our friends, Kathryn and Pam, at Middendorf’s in Manchac to complete a 5K which is #15 on my 18 for 2018 list. Barry and I walked the course briskly while Pam and Kathryn ran it. It took my hubby and me about 48 minutes to complete it. Unfortunately, I was so excited about starting the race that I forgot to start my watch and failed to check the starting time, as well as the finishing time. Hopefully, since our race bibs have the timing chip, we will be able to get a more accurate time when New Orleans Running Systems posts the results.

As participants in today’s race, we received a tech fabric moisture wicking t-shirt, a custom finishers medallion, Middendorf’s Restaurant’s famous thin fried catfish, and the satisfaction of completing the race course. In addition, all proceeds benefited Our Daily Bread which is a food bank that services Tangipahoa Parish. Participating in the Manchac Run was a perfect way to start the day. And, we were blessed with beautiful weather.

The point of completing the race was to motivate me to get back into running. I’ve always enjoyed running. If my memory serves me correctly, I have not run a race since June of 2013 when my hubby and I ran the Zombie Run in City Park with the Cyrus family. That was five years ago. Zoiks! Therefore, I will be starting my run/walk program the week we break for Thanksgiving holidays, so I can run my next 5K which I am thinking will be the Shamrock Run in March.

In Other News:

In the middle of this upcoming week, Andrew and I will be heading to Sulphur with the STA Swim Team for him to participate in the State Meet. We will be there for two days. On Saturday, he and I work the concessions at our last LSU game. And, Sunday officially begins my week long holiday. Woo-Hoo! I cannot wait because this also means that my season of sacrifice will officially end.

Dear reader, I hope that you will have a wonderful weekend. Be positive, focus on your goals, and count your blessings. Happiness!

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” ~ Fred DeVito

 

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Sheet MusicI finally did it! I tried a voice (singing) lesson last Monday afternoon and had a blast. Now, Laura is officially my voice teacher. Since I can match pitch and can actually carry a tune, I have decided to take regular lessons. This basically entails going to a lesson once per week and practicing the other days of the week. Interestingly, Laura says I’m an alto. This seems to mean that I can hit some high notes, as well as some low notes; however, not too high and not too low. I like the label, so I’m going to keep it.

ViolinEven though I love music and love to sing, I never took any real time to seriously learn to play a musical instrument or to sing. My grandmother tried teaching me to play the violin when I was younger, but stubbornly I preferred going outside to play instead of practicing. Regretfully, I abandoned the violin in 3rd grade after struggling with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and never looked back. Thankfully, I still have the little violin that my grandmother bought me so many years ago. It is one of my treasured possessions. As for my singing career as a youngster, I was in choir for a year in grammar school. I remember performing at the annual school nativity program at Christmas. I really enjoyed it, and I’m not quite sure why I did not continue singing in choir. It probably had something to do with going outside to play instead of practicing.

First, Laura and I warmed-up. She taught me four notes and their beats. I practiced inhaling and exhaling to a certain number of beats. Next, we hummed octaves. After working on other warm ups, we sang part of a song that I had really wanted to learn to sing properly, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. It was difficult; however, I did pretty well. I have a long way to go before I will be able to sing it all the way through perfectly. Laura had also selected “The Sound of Music” for me to try singing. Surprisingly, I sang this song much better. I must admit that I am over the moon proud of myself and can officially cross #10 off of my 18 for 2018 list.

In Other News:

This past week was pretty busy both at work and on the home front. I started keeping my food journal and meditating on Monday. Early Thursday morning brought extremely bad weather through our area which caused many people, including my family, to lose power and create chaos for the remainder of the day. At that point, my food journal and daily meditation was pushed to the side. Coupled with loads to do at school, working the LSU concession stand yesterday, and completing necessary tasks today, I haven’t been able to do either one. In spite of all that, I did continue eating properly, and I walked six days this week. I took today off because I am beat.

This upcoming week promises to be busy; however, it won’t all be about work. I have some play scheduled almost every day. I have another voice lesson on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday evening, my BFF Shelly and I are driving to New Orleans to attend the Simple Minds concert. I took Wednesday off to recuperate, but it really is to take care of some necessary tasks (like filling out FASFA forms). My hubby and I are walking a 5K on Saturday morning. And, on Sunday, I am hoping that Andrew and I can go to the movies to see Bohemian Rhapsody, which I have heard from quite a few people is fabulous.

What will your upcoming week look like, dear reader? I hope it will not be all work and no play; hopefully, you can sprinkle in a bit of fun throughout the week. Happiness!

“Talking is the voice of human, singing is the voice of soul.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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Birth CertificateWhen I had to renew my driver’s license last year, I noticed that my original birth certificate had faded significantly. I was concerned that I would not be able to renew my license. Thankfully, it was legible enough, and my new license was issued. At that moment, I realized that if I ever applied for a passport, I would need a new birth certificate. I feared that my birth certificate would not be admissible.

Since I was born at a hospital located on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, I had to obtain my new birth certificate from the County Clerk in Santa Barbara. In my naivete, I thought this item (#1) on my 18 for 2018 list would be super easy and not take very long. All I had to do was apply for it online. Wrong! I had to fill out an application and have part of the application notarized before mailing it to the County Clerk’s office.

On account of Andrew having a dermatology appointment, which I took the day off from work to go with him, I had some extra uninterrupted time after his appointment. I filled out the application (requesting two birth certificates) and contacted my friend Donna, who is a notary in my area. She was available that afternoon and graciously notarized the required form for me. Immediately afterwards, I stopped at the post office and mailed the application. Ten days later, I received two brand new birth certificates.

In Other News:

I am steadily working on accomplishing other items on my 18 for 2018 list. I scheduled a voice lesson next week on Monday afternoon and registered my hubby and me for a 5K race in November. I will start a food journal on Monday in a last ditch effort to drop my 18 pounds before the end of the year. And, I have an eye appointment scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

HomecomingThis past weekend was super busy, but eventful. I attended a two-day ADR/Looping Workshop in New Orleans (details forthcoming) which was the same weekend as STA’s Homecoming Dance. Andrew attended the dance with Jazzmin, a friend from swim. Along with Andrew’s best friend Fresh and his date Chloe (also Andrew’s good friend), they drove to the Parish Hall at Holy Ghost for pictures and dinner before heading to the dance at STA. They all seemed to have a terrific time, and they looked fantastic all dressed up for the occasion. I cannot wait to see their official dance pictures.

On Monday, October 29th, I will be participating in another free meditation series with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. The 21-Day meditation experience is called Energize Your Life: Secrets for a Youthful Spirit . I hope you will join me, dear reader.

My plans for the upcoming weekend include working the food booth with Andrew at the Holy Ghost Parish Fair and finally seeing Venom at the movie theater. If any of you are in the Hammond area, stop by the fair this weekend and enjoy some delicious food, live music, and some good old-fashioned fun. Happiness!

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”  ~ Margaret Thatcher

 

 

 

 

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Barry and TootyToday marks the end of the third quarter of 2018. We have completed three fourths of the year. The new year is just around the corner. Today is also the 8th anniversary of Comet, otherwise known as Tooty, becoming a member of the Loyacano family. Eight years ago today, Andrew and I rescued Comet as he was dodging traffic on Happywoods Road. We were on our way to school. Personally, I was not planning on keeping him. However, my hubby and Andrew had other ideas. No chip, no collar, no owner to be found. Needless to say, we kept him, and I am happy we made that decision. He brings us so much joy.

Of the 13 remaining items on my 18 for 2018 list, I completed one of them this quarter:

#9 Visit a museum.

Of my 18 items on my 18 for 2018 list, I am currently working on two of them that will be completed by the end of December:

#4 Lose 18 pounds.
#5 Blog at least once per month.

Counting today’s post, I have blogged 10 times this quarter which brings my total to 30 posts for the year.  As a result of writing more frequently, I had to upgrade my blog which allowed me to obtain more storage, so I can keep previously written posts archived while continuing to write and publish more content. In addition, it allowed me to acquire my own domain name. Amazeballs! As for losing 18 pounds, my progress is creeping along. I have officially lost three pounds. Of course, this means I have 15 more pounds to lose by the end of December if I plan on crossing this item off of my list. It is feasible, but I must get more serious if I want to succeed.

In Other News:

Andrew and I have completed three of our six shifts working LSU Concessions. Yesterday’s game was tough because kickoff was at 8:00 p.m. which put me plopping into my bed at 3:00 a.m. this morning. We are scheduled to work one game in October and two games in November. We are definitely in a season of sacrifice.

Exciting news! I have registered to take an ADR/Looping Workshop in October with my acting coach and mentor, Lance Nichols. He has invited Lynnanne Zager, who is a voice over actress and voice acting coach, and special guest Rif Hutton to conduct the workshop with him and his daughter Indigo, who is also an actress. I am thrilled since this is the first time in a long while that I have been able to participate in an acting class/workshop, especially one run by Lance.

TootyTomorrow begins a new month. I have 12 items to complete on my 18 for 2018 list. I am confident that I will be successful in the remaining last three months of the year. I hope, dear reader, that you are succeeding with whatever goals you have set for this year. Enjoy the remnants of your weekend. Happiness!

 

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” ~ Tom Hiddleston

 

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On July 6th, my hubby, Andrew, and I drove over to Lafayette to visit the Lafayette Science Museum (formerly the Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium). As we entered the lobby of the museum, we were greeted by an Allosaurus attacking a Camptosaurus. Both of these dinosaurs lived during the Jurassic Period.
Allosaurus

We spent the next two hours walking through various exhibits. Our first stop was at the atrium on the first floor where we saw a display of fossil casts of an American mastodon (Mammut americanum), two saber-toothed cats (Smilodon), and a giant ground sloth (Megatherium americanum) from the Cenozoic Period. A fact about the American mastodon, that I found fascinating, was one was discovered near the Trappey food canning plant in Lafayette in 1970. It was called the Trappey mastodon.
IMG_1550 (1)

Barry-Virtual RealityOur next stop was the Virtual Reality Laboratory where all three of us took turns putting on special headgear to experience a science theme. There were several people at this exhibit, so we only participated in the space station. Afterwards, we ventured through the Energy Unearthed (The Science of Petroleum Exploration) exhibit where there was a collection of rocks and minerals. One of the minerals on display was garnet which is my birthstone. Before leaving the geology exhibit, we passed a fossil of Megatylopus (extinct giant camel). According to the museum, it was found in Oregon and acted similarly to a giraffe. We also walked by the Geology Lab which had a gigantic prehistoric whale hanging from the ceiling. Amazing!

The second floor of the museum is home to “The Crawl Space.” There were skeletons (bat, snake) and skulls from a variety of animals native to Louisiana: a racoon, a turtle, a fox, and a deer to name a few. There were also animals (grizzly bear, bobcat, beaver) on display that had been stuffed. To complete the collection, there was a skull of a juvenile, female Sei whale. She had beached on Marsh Island on the coast of Louisiana and was recovered by Louisiana’s Wildlife and Fisheries Department.  IMG_1554However, the neatest part of this section was the live insects, centipedes, and arachnids on display. My most favorite creepy-crawly was the tarantula, and my least favorite was the Madagascar hissing cockroach. And, just around the corner was Stegosaurus which happens to be my most favorite dinosaur ever. Stegosaurus is also from the Jurassic Period.

 

Before heading back downstairs to learn about Nanotechnology, we visited the Air & Spacecraft exhibit and the Meteorites exhibit. Interestingly, there have only been three meteorites found in Louisiana. Unfortunately, there was not a Planetarium Program for us to watch during our visit; however, the museum’s website does have a section under Planetarium called “Observe the Sky.” There are handouts, checklists, guides, and star maps available under this tab that will allow the astronomer in you to explore the night sky right from your backyard. Andrew-virtual realityOur last activity at the museum was another virtual reality encounter. It was about the evolution of the Internet. As you can see from the picture above, there was a television screen showing you what the person (Andrew) with the headgear was experiencing.

Andrew & PigUpon the recommendation of the receptionist at the museum, we decided to eat lunch at Dwyer’s Café which was within walking distance of the museum. Leaving the museum, we encountered a man walking his pig. Yes, a pig! And, it was adorable. After we all petted the pig, my hubby, Andrew, and I walked over to the restaurant. Our lunches were delicious and quite filling, so we walked around the downtown area for a little bit before heading back home.

Dear reader, we had an enjoyable day not only learning about different areas of science, but also exploring another part of our state. If you happen to be in the Lafayette area and have a couple of hours to kill, check out the Lafayette Science Museum. The admission is reasonable, it has a small store to purchase science related items, and you might just find yourself running into a man walking his pig. Happiness!

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” ~ Edwin Hubble

 

 

 

 

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