Thursday, May 14, 2009

Staycation idea: Special museum programs

You can probably spend an entire staycation at museums. During my family’s last staycation, we went to the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and it was hard to drag my kids out of there. They spent an hour in just one small area of the museum, rolling balls down ramps and trying to launch them into buckets.

There was one exhibit that had balls rolling around like a roller coaster, and my kids were so fascinated with it, they probably would’ve spent an entire day watching it. I had to encourage Ryan and Cooper to move on so they could dig in the sand for dinosaur bones before we ran out of time. Everything seemed to grab their attention.

Yes, museums are great. And they can be even better if you look into the special programs offered and their special events calendars online. Science and nature museums often have classes in gardening or “green” living, and art museums have wine-tasting nights that include food and live music. At the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., the annual Spanish Market includes furniture, jewelry, tilework, paintings, carvings, pottery, and strolling musicians. Most museums also offer lectures that are more interesting than the lectures from your college professors. (Well, at least more interesting than the ones from my professors).

The important thing is to plan ahead. If you sign up for e-mail newsletters and alerts from a museum, which you can usually do at its Web site, you’ll know what exhibits, touring shows, and programs are coming up. That will give you an important head start because many popular museum programs have limited space and fill up quickly. That’s certainly the case for the new trend of “museum sleepovers,” which allows camping inside a museum.

*** "The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family (and Your Wallet!)" is now available. You can find it in stores or online.

No comments:

Post a Comment