School's almost out, but that doesn't mean you have to stop learning. And before you let out a collective groan, let me just tell you that I don't mean the homework-essay-class presentation kind of learning. I mean the fun, hands-on, 'Wait, am I learning something, too?' kind of learning. 

Albany County offers lessons for every scholar, so whether you're a nature-born naturalist, or an amateur arts critic, we have a study sesh for you. And they're so fun, you won't even realize you're getting smarter while you do them! 

Paleontology pro: Return of the Dinosaurs at MiSci 

Description: Dinosaur lovers and proto-paleontologists can learn how dinosaurs lived over 65 million years ago by observing 10 giant, totally realistic animatronic dinosaurs, moving, roaring and screeching, flying and gliding through their natural environments. Based on the latest research, the creatures in this new exhibit social behavior, and you'll have the opportunity to observe a mother dinosaur tending her young, and even get a chance to see a nest of dinosaur eggs hatch. Stop by the dino dig site, fossil rub station, and finish your education at the Dinosaur Prophecy film at the Suites-Bueche Planetarium, and you'll be ready to posit your own theories about how these mighty beasts once lived. Through September 18.

What I Learned: Science doesn't stop. Scientists are continually gathering new information about the earth, and we continue to be amazed by what we discover.


Art appreciators: Best of SUNY

Description: The annual Best of SUNY exhibits the artwork of 60 talented students from across New York State. See drawings, paintings, photography, sculpture, and digitally produced works from students at the very cutting edge of the visual arts field. Enjoy these pieces in the grandeur of the New York State Museum, one of the country's largest state museums. Through October 23.


What I Learned:
Student art shows are powerful platforms for students to demonstrate their creativity, but they are also a site for social commentary. See what the future holds, not just for these students, but for the art world.


History hounds: USS Slater Tours

Description: Climb aboard the USS Slater, and step back in time, and learn first-hand what it was like to for the enlisted who made this Destroyer Escort their home during World War II. This ship was armed to the hilt, and manned by 18 and 19-year-olds. Its mission was to protect the supply ships from Nazi U-Boats. Tour this meticulously restored boat deck by deck, and discover the day-to-day reality for these soldiers-from the weapons they used and the food they ate, to their once-a-week showers and unremitting seasickness. Attraction open through November 6. 


What I Learned:
You'll glimpse the hardships our armed forces endured during the Great War, and gain new appreciation for the sacrifices our soldiers make to this day.


Naturalist by nature: Albany Pine Bush Preserve and Discovery Center

Description: Take in the Albany Pine Bush one hike at a time, and meet the flora and fauna that make up this one-of-a-kind inland pine barrens. Each hike, lecture and symposium introduces you to a different creature, and connects this ecology with larger environmental studies. Whether you're looking to satisfy your curiosity about the Karner Blue butterfly or observe an antilion in its natural habitat, this center's packed calendar of events will keep you busy all summer. 


What I Learned: It is astounding what can be captured and communicated in an unspoiled environment. The lesson here is really in the landscape itself, and uncovering all it has to offer the careful observer.