A few weeks ago, Bill planned a fun Sunday outing to explore the outdoor Cloud Chamber for the Trees & Sky exhibit (aka Hobbit House) at the NC Museum of Art’s Museum Park. Between trips with out of town guests and regular Stroller Strides workouts, we’ve been to this museum a TON, but never to see the Cloud Chamber exhibit or hike the corresponding unpaved trails.
We parked in the large parking lot off Blue Ridge Rd and headed down the paved trail towards the infamous Gyre exhibit (the three huge concrete ellipses). After passing the Gyre and Chairs in the Trees exhibits, we made a right onto the Blue Loop and then a left onto the unpaved trail that starts by the Crossroads/Trickster I exhibit. The unpaved trail starts out as gravel, but then we made a slight right towards the Cloud Chamber and the path became grassy and then a very narrow dirt trail in the wooded section. We made the mistake of bringing a BOB Revolution SE Stroller and should’ve brought a carrier for Claire and let Ashley walk. Having two adults made it easier to maneuver the stroller over the bridges, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
So, after a short walk through the wooded section we found the Cloud Chamber house, which looks like a replica of Bilbo Baggins’ house. It’s a short, circular house built into the side of the hill with large stones, some criss-crossed logs, and a green plant-based roof. It has a concrete floor and a heavy wooden door and the house’s neat feature is that it acts as a camera obscura. After entering the house, close the door and wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and you’ll see faint views of the sky as light is projected through an opening in the roof onto the floor of the house. Bill took Ashley into the house by themselves but didn’t stay long and then I went in by myself and witnessed puffs of sky inverted on the floor…it was neat to be able to look “down” onto the sky! And, I don’t think we’ll ever forget our trip to the Hobbit House with Ashley asking where are the “wobbits” every minute; poor girl was expecting to see some real life hobbits.
We then continued our walk along the loop trail where we also saw the Untitled exhibit by Ledelle Moe, which looked like a small concrete person concrete curled into a ball. After completing the loop trail we headed back to the gravel path and turned right. We headed downhill and came across the Whisper Bench exhibit, which was a fun interactive piece of art for Ashley. It’s two steel benches on opposite sides of the trail that are connected by an underground sound pipe. Ashley and Bill enjoyed talking back and forth to each other and I loved hearing the toddler giggles! After the Whisper Bench we continued on the very sunny gravel path that led us uphill and back to the paved trail near Lowe’s Pavilion. Finally, we stopped for a quick picnic lunch inside the pavilion before heading home for naps.
It was such a fun morning filled with fresh air, science and art and I didn’t have to plan any of it… #besthusbandever!
Thumbs up: interactive pieces of art, beautiful outdoor setting
Thumbs down: nothing to report