Sunday, May 22, 2016

Children's Museums

Here are some little known facts about children's museums.

  • In 2007 more than 30 million children and families visited children's museums.
  • Seventy percent provide school outreach.
  • In 1985 there were 38 children's museums in the U.S.  By now there are almost 250 children's museums with 70 more being planned.
  • Indianapolis, IN has the largest children's museum with 433,000 square feet.
  • The oldest children's museum is in Brooklyn which opened in 1899
  • At any given moment about 93% of parents are bored out of their minds at a children's museum.
OK...I'll admit that last one has some questionable research associated with it.  It came from the research firm known as "Michael's Bored Brain."

See, today I spent the day at the science museum.  And was I bored?  Yes.  Here is what I did.

  • We saw a Thomas the Train 4D movie that was fun for about three minutes until my kids got scared because the train lost control and sped into a dark tunnel.  They didn't like that.  And then the 17 droplets of water that were sprayed at us when the train splashed into a puddle was not appreciated by four year olds who, I might add, love splashing in the bathtub.
  • We saw a 20-something employee (who I'm guessing was someone who recently spent eighty grand on a theater degree at a Boston college) read a book about a bunny and teach us six words in Spanish.  After about seven minutes the audience of kids got restless and bored and half of them left before the actual bunny was taken out.  Most people were gone by the time the "Puppet Time" part of the presentation came which consisted of the unemployed actor allowing the children to pet or high five a rabbit puppet on his hand.
  • Derek and I watched the boys touch almost every button that they could find.  It didn't matter that they had no idea what the exhibit was for.  It was just a button so it MUST. BE. PUSHED.
  • I spend a lot of mental energy wondering what child has sneezed, licked or coughed on every button and figuring out how to make my schedule for the week work out if my kids get sick from the museum.
  • We saw frogs.  That was actually interesting.  I didn't realize quite how varied frogs can be.  However I spent the entire time at the exhibit holding a 35 lb. child.
  • The kids complained they were hungry.  Every hour.
  • We bought lunch at the museum.  It was surprisingly not "break-the-bank" expensive. 
  • We went to the Discovery Center which was basically the play area for young kids.  It reminded me of every other play center we have been to.  The boys liked the area with air sucking balls into tubes.  My plan to leave by noon-ish didn't work.  Somehow we didn't leave until 2:30 which led Aaron to fall asleep on the train ride home so I had to carry him the three quarters of a mile from the train station to home.
Luckily we got free tickets to the museum but for most families this fun filled day would be theirs for the low, low cost of only $100!!!

I know museums are educational.  I get that they expose kids to concepts and fields of interest.  I hope that one day I'll be more excited by them.  But for now it's comforting to know that when I Google "why I hate children's museums" I see I'm in great company.

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