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Monday 22 April 2013

A day at university

This past weekend was another busy one for us. The start of the warmer weather marks the start of the non-stop festival season here in the Bay Area. I swear that this time last year we attended a festival of some sort almost every weekend, sometimes even more than one per weekend. Well, this weekend was no exception with festivals to attend on both days.

Let's start with a look at what we did on Saturday...

This Saturday was Cal Day, the annual open day at University of California Berkeley. Back home in Australia university open days are pretty much just the domain of prospective students and their parents. Here, however, the open day is a festival for the whole community. Sure, there are heaps of stands set up to provide prospective students with information and the whole event is like a giant pep rally of school spirit, but there are also lots of fun hands on kid's activities to keep the little ones entertained. And that, of course was the whole reason we were there!

Ava and Lola at Cal

Due to a little more house hunting in the morning (can't wait for that to be over!) we arrived a little later than we had hoped. We grabbed some lunch and found a spot along a fountain to sit down and eat. It seems we chose the best place to sit for lunch as within minutes the university's marching band, cheerleaders, dance squad and sporting mascot, Oski Bear, descended on the area for a pep rally. I really enjoyed watching the performance as it was just like something out of a high school movie! I'm sure for those of you who grew up in America this would've been a pretty normal school event but this sort of thing just doesn't exist in Australia.    

Marching band, cheerleaders, dancers, flag wavers...

School spirit in full swing

Dancers, Oski, cheerleaders and the marching band

School spirit

Maybe one day Ava can be a Cal cheerleader!

After the pep rally the girls got a chance to meet Oski Bear. Ava was pretty excited but Lola was a little unsure. The "real" Oski isn't quite as cute as the plush characters and t-shirt designs she's used to seeing around Berkeley!

Attempting a photo with Oski

Lola was not impressed!

Ava gets a thumbs up from Oski

After meeting Oski we headed off to the Valley Life Sciences building for some hands on science fun and exhibits. The girls checked out all sorts of creatures, both dead and alive. They met reptiles such as snakes, a gila monster (safely behind glass with his venomous saliva), bearded dragons, geckos and a teeny tiny tortoise. There were all sorts of not-so-alive creatures on display too. They checked out a frog skeleton through a microscope, a giraffe skull (no microscope needed for this one!) and various snakes, frogs and lizards in jars. Out in the courtyard there were plenty of sea creatures on display in tanks too. The giant sea slugs were pretty impressive - but definitely pretty gross too!

Hello tiny tortoise

A little snack for the tortoise!

We're glad this guy is behind glass

A closer up look at the snake

My little scientist checks out a frog skeleton

The girls liked the giraffe skull

From fauna to flora, the girls headed to the botany display where they made sample sheets of native plants and correctly identified them against the labelled samples in the library. 

Ava tapes down her plant sample with special tape

Identifying the sample as Manzanita

And of course, what's a festival without face painting? Lola, as usual, chickened out but Ava was eager to get her face painted and got a cute little lion face on her cheek.

Pretty little lion

Before we could do much else in the Valley Life Sciences building someone accidentally triggered the fire alarm and we all had to evacuate. The girls weren't too upset by this as the exit we took lead us to a grassy area next to a creek. After being inside for a while they were keen to explore the creek and play outside in the sun for a while.   

A day doesn't go by here without us seeing a fire truck!

Sitting by the creek

Hiding in the creek

Not knowing how long it would be before we could head back into the Valley Life Sciences building we headed off to check out some other exhibits on display. First up we took a close up look at the sun. The girls enjoyed looking at the sun through a Sunspotter. Through this devise the sun appears as a white circle. Dark spots on the sun can be made out quite easily. Then we took a different look at the sun through a filtered telescope. Through this the sun looked bright red. The dark spots could still be made out, although not quite as easily, and solar flares around the edges could be seen. It was pretty impressive.   

The girls look at the sun through a Sunspotter

Ava takes another look at the sun, this time through a telescope

Lola's turn

Lola looks at the sun through a telescope

After viewing the sun with its dark spots and solar flares we headed over to have a look at the campus police exhibit. The girls had fun pretending to drive various types of police vehicles, pretending to be bad guys locked up in the back of said police vehicles, meeting a sniffer dog and watching the bomb disposal robot. Lola loved the police dog but she wasn't such a fan of his waggy tail. At her height she kept getting whacked in the face every time she stood near his back!

Bad guys locked up in the back of a police car

It's not so comfy in the back!

Off road police mobile

Another whacky campus police mobile

Watching the bomb disposal robot

Watching the bomb disposal robot

Meeting a sniffer dog

Lola high fives the air while the police officer high fives someone else!

Lola sneaks up. It looks like she was about to pull his tail but she didn't.

A lick for Ava

Hello doggy

After pretending to be police officers (and getting lots of Junior Officer stickers) it was time for free cotton candy courtesy of the Graduate Assembly. Lola wasn't too sure about the cotton candy at first. After one bite she freaked out and complained "It's too hairy"! Once she worked out it was super sweet she came back for more. We decided to take the "hairiness" of the cotton candy literally and made Ava a lovely beard and moustache!


Just call me Old Man Cotton Candy! 

With our bellies full of sugar we headed back through the Sather Gates toward the Valley Life Sciences building to finish where we left off when the fire alarm went off. Along the way we stopped to check out the marching band and career counsellor displays. The girls had fun banging on a bass drum and taking funny photos at the marching band display. 

Big crowds through Sather Gate

She bangs the drum

Drumming together

Ava joins the marching band!

Lola's turn

At the career counsellor stand the girls played career roulette to find out what jobs they should do when they finish college. Ava spun up Tattoo Artist and Lola got Stunt Double! They were given stickers to wear with their new careers marked on them. Ava wasn't too impressed when I accidentally ripped the corner of hers. Check out the expression on her face below!

Ava spun up Tattoo Artist

Lola spun up Stunt Double

My Tattoo Artist is not happy that I ripped her sticker!

 We had a fun day Cal Day and look forward to heading back next year.

1 comment:

  1. You guys are having so much fun - what an amazing open day at Uni. You are right - different than over here. Love the tattoo artist and stunt double predictions! Eager to see what will become of all the girls:)


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