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Walking with Dinosaurs in Durham to Promote Outdoor Play

By Blue Cross NC | June 13, 2014 | Explore NC

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For generations, kids and adults alike have found adventure in the 86-acre grounds of the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Filled with amazing plants, animals, and the errant dinosaur or two, it’s something of an institution. When my son was a toddler, he called it the “dinosaur place” and it’s always been a favorite haunt of our family.

This past Wednesday, I was able to be part of funnew kickoff for the museum, announcing the addition of two more exhibits—Hideaway Woods and Earth Moves—and the Walk of the Week, sponsored by BCBSNC.

The morning was bright and hot, with dozens of people in attendance. Speakers included Michael Porter, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors and Director, Technical Operations, Merck Manufacturing Division; Brad Wilson, CEO and President of BCBSNC; and Brenda Howerton, vice chairwoman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners.

Each speaker reiterated the importance of community, health, and learning—and outdoor play–in a safe and welcoming place, regardless of age.

From Brad Wilson’s remarks:

Regular physical activity is essential to leading a healthy life, which in turn helps to control the cost of health care. But families shouldn’t have to choose between family time and a workout. In the right setting, you can accomplish these two things together. Providing opportunities for families to become more active while spending time together at one of North Carolina’s most celebrated museums is a natural fit.

Judging from the attendance and enthusiasm, it’s easy to see why the museum means so much to so many. Maggie Brown, Internal Communications Specialist at BCBSNC, had this to say about her experience growing up around the museum, and why it’s so important to continue our support:

I grew up going to Durham’s Museum of Life and Science. Back in the 1980s, my favorite things about the museum were the old dinosaur trail (which featured a big green “Brontosaurus” and not much else); the simulation of the 1969 moon landing; and the Astronaut Ice Cream they sold at the gift shop. I can still taste that chalky-textured, sweet treat.

When I learned at work that BCBSNC was sponsoring infrastructure for new trails, and the new Walk of the Week program, I thought, what a fantastic idea. Encouraging families to exercise together, outside, while learning fun facts about nature, will go a long way toward ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in our state.

The Walks of the Week are designed to help museum visitors of all ages to experience the premises in ways they have never imagined. Every week the museum provides a clue and a map, a little planned adventure. Encompassing botany, biology, and even a little meteorology, the walks bring wonder while exploring the outdoors and getting physical activity.

We understand how important providing these enriching spaces are for our communities in North Carolina, and we hope that you’ll take the opportunity to visit, get in some exercise, and learn something new along the way.

Maggie puts it best: “Making sure our kids get the exercise they need, particularly in the today’s world of iPads and shortened recess, is crucial to making sure the next generation grows up healthier than ours.”

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