This Saturday was a blast. More than a dozen awesome people associated with the Museum come out to staff the AMNH booth at the (get ready!) Games For Change Arcade at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Family Street Fair. And from 10 -6, it was non-stop pterosaurs.
No one could walk down the block, past our booth, without being asked, “Have you ever seen a pterosaur fly?” which was quickly follow-up with ,”Then step over here…”
First they were introduced to the augmented reality app for Pterosaurs: The Card Game. Holding the specially printed sheet (which they could take home with them) they experienced the awesome of watching a pterosaur come to life in their hands.
Then, if they turned around, they could watch the 3D printer creating pterosaur vertebrae (and if they came at the right time, they could snatch one up).
But the centerpiece, between the two, was the card table. There wasn’t a moment when the seats weren’t filled with children (and sometimes older) taking on the challenge of playing the game against the volunteers. Once a visitor sat down they didn’t get up for 20, 30, sometimes 40 minutes. They stayed until the game was played through. It was remarkable to see how fast they learned to play and how quickly it sucked them in. And it was delightful to watch their parents in awe of the focus on the face of their children.
The volunteers, it turned out, were not immune to its ptero-powers. After nearly three hours playing with booth visitors, when we freed them for lunch, they asked if they could take a deck with them. “Why?” I asked. Because, they said, they didn’t want to stop playing!
So all in all it was an exciting day interacting with families, educating them about pterosaurs (that’s right – still NOT dinosaurs), introducing them to the theme of the block (learning and fun can not only happen at the same time – they can be the SAME thing), and spreading the message that the AMNH is using 21st Century approaches to connect people with our Mesozoic past. And it was great to be a part of the 11th Annual Games For Change Festival and it’s first public steps out beyond its core community, and getting to do so with the likes of the Institute of Play, Come Out and Play, Quest to Learn, and more.
I also need to add that, for me, a personal highlight was the mom who said the app reminded her of something her kids loved in Disney World. She couldn’t remember the exact name but, with a thrill, I knew what it was before she could finish: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. SMK, as it’s known by its fans, has been an inspiration for me since I experienced it with my own family and, for those dedicated to this blog, please keep your eyes peeled. I have a feeling you might be hearing more about SMK soon on these very (blog) pages…
View more photos from the day here