Monday, September 30, 2013

A Castle, a Museum and a Zoo All Because of a Book

This past summer Molly and I read aloud together The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. It was published in 1967 and won the Newbery Medal. It's a story about a sister and brother that run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While reading the book, Molly came up with the idea to go visit the museum and see the things that Claudia and Jamie saw in the book. So that's exactly what we did this weekend.

Ryan didn't have anything on his schedule this weekend so he joined us as well. He didn't read the book, but he now knows the story of Claudia and Jamie.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful fall day in New York. The sky couldn't be any bluer and it was about 72 degrees. It was perfect. We had three things on our list of things to see; The Belvedere Castle, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Central Park Zoo. When we finally got up to the museum, we saw all these police officers lined up. The museum is in Central Park and there was a concert in the park that day.   I think the officers were getting their assignments for the day.

I've always wanted to see the Belvedere Castle. I've seen it in a number of movies and just wanted to see it in person. It just happens to be a short walk from the museum. But when we got there, it was barricaded off because of the concert. There was a police officer standing guard that informed us that it was closed, but when I asked if we could just take a picture he said sure. He even lent his hat for Ryan and Molly to pose in.  He is usually assigned to a precinct in the Bronx.  He said that they brought in a number of police officers and assigned them to the park for the day. He said it was like a vacation day.

This is what he got to look at for the day. 

So now it was time to explore the museum for a few hours, but not before Ryan and Molly climbed some rocks and a tree or two.

Ahhh, we made it! We brought the book so we could take a picture in The Great Hall, which is also on the cover of the book. The Metropolitan Museum gets so many inquires about the book that I found a whole guide online to visiting the museum in reference to the book. Since the book was published in 1967, not everything is the same, but the guide makes suggestions to see other things in its place.

The Egyptian Exhibit. 

Do you remember this scene in When Harry Met Sally? They were at the Met.

A Vanderbilt mantle.  We visited the Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate this past summer.

Molly found this penny on this angel pulpit staircase (look on the fingers).

A bed that Claudia and Jamie could have slept in while living in the museum.

It really is amazing to see some pieces of artwork in person. I forgot how big this painting is. A picture in a history book just doesn't do it justice. 

After a few hours of exploring the museum, it was time to start walking toward the Central Park Zoo. Central Park is beautiful, and there is such a positive energy to it. Everyone was out just enjoying the magnificent weather. It is filled with street performers, musicians, face painters, balloon makers, portrait artists, children running ahead of their parents, and parents calling out to them to slow down.

 After climbing some more trees, and watching the boats, and enjoying a few street performers, we made it to the zoo.

After the zoo, Ryan and Molly wanted to go to one of the playgrounds that we passed. While they ran around and played, my mom and I sat on a bench and watched. I love reading all the plaques.

I loved this one...

And this one...

And then a few benches over, we found this it.

This little two year old fell in love with Molly and would not leave her side.

We spent an entire day in Central Park...

All because this little one wanted to visit a museum in a book.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could visit all the places in the books we read? Molly and I are finishing up The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck. It's about a mouse that lives at Buckingham Palace. Hmmm, that one will have to go on our Someday list.

"The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."
                                                           ~Matilda, Roald Dahl

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