I think my four-year-old put it best – “Wow.”

If your fall break plans can be summed up in one word – staycation – consider expanding your horizons a bit further than the Huntsville/Madison County metro area, and head a few miles west to Decatur, home of the Cook Museum of Natural Science, 133 Fourth Ave. NE.

Before you wonder how you’ll ever get your kids on board to go to a museum, never fear – I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit skeptical to bring my little one. Would he be bored? Would the information be over his head? Would it be engaging enough?

The answer: no, no and absolutely. So much so I had to drag him out kicking and screaming at the end of our visit. From exhibits on caves, oceans, forests, the

arctic/desert, insects and more, the museum is not only filled with facts, but is pretty hands on as well. Staff are located throughout the facility to answer questions and provide more information. Naturally, the museum exit is straight through the gift shop, but even that was pleasantly surprising, with a plethora of educational goodies for all ages.

The beauty of the Cook Museum is that you can tailor your experience based on your age or what you want to get out of it. While I could’ve walked away with a treasure trove of new knowledge, I took in the sights and sounds of the facility through a little boy’s eyes – fascinated by the baby alligators, moon jellyfish and snakes, and in awe of the fish that resemble a few of our favorite Disney characters. We probably could’ve spent the entire day in the recreated cave.

Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for ages 15 and up, ages 3 to 14 $15, 2 and under free. Senior citizens and military with ID get in for $17. For more information visit www.cookmuseum.org.

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