Photo by NonnieJ
DH and I took our 4 year old and 5 year old to the local natural history museum this past weekend, and the experience taught me a few things that I wanted to pass along, in case you are considering a trip in the near future.
1. Despite all the money you cough up to see the amazing dinosaur bones and ancient tools, the biggest attraction of the day will be The Cafe, with it's fascinating display of cakes, candy and sodas.
2. Consider a toddler harness, even if it's against your philosophy. You will be happy you did. Large open spaces containing lots of invaluable, ancient artifacts and toddlers do not mix.
3. Travel light, bring a backpack, and if you can, leave your own coats in the car -- because you will inevitably end up carrying everyone elses' for the entire day.
4. Be prepared to explain that those touch screens in front of each display are not video games -- that they only give information, you can't play anything on them. Sorry.
5. Don't, I repeat, DON'T go anywhere near the Museum Store. Plan your route accordingly. If you inadvertantly pass by, tell the kids it's closed. Or that they only sell clothes.
6. Even though your kids are only walking, as opposed to the running, jumping and acrobatics they do everywhere else, they will say they're hungry and demand snacks every 15 minutes.
7. Bring the stroller. After 20 minutes (right after the snack), your toddler will declare that her legs hurt, she cannot possibly walk any more, and will you please carry her around.
8. Get the museum map and make sure you mark the exact location of every potty on every single floor BEFORE setting off on your route.
9. No matter how cool an exhibit is (like, say space ships and moon rocks you've been dying to see), don't visit a display area that does NOT have a potty close by. Just not worth it.
10. Toddlers cannot resist the urge to climb under a roped off lion display and pet the kitties no matter how firmly you ask them not to.
++Have you taken your tots to a museum? Are you brave enough to do it again?