We’ve been going to children’s museums since JustaBXgirl has been walking. I always planned for the day when I could take her to a real museum and that day finally happened this week. We spent the day at The American Museum Of Natural History. I didn’t tell her where we were going. Simply told her to get dressed and we would be leaving.
Let me tell you I was worried. First, I was worried she would be disappointed. The AMNH shares a train station with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. She’s been asking to go to the Children’s Museum. What if she realized where we usually use the train stop for and gets sad we weren’t going. After almost having a panic attack internally I told myself to get over it and tell her when we got on the train. I wanted us both to be prepared for the day. I knew even if she was disappointed we were still going because I really wanted to see the Cuba exhibit before it left on August 13th. Still, if she wasn’t having any fun after this mama had her fun we could leave the museum and head to the Children’s one down the block.
I tried to make it exciting because, um, the American Museum of Natural History is EXCITING. Where else can you see dinosaurs, mummies, planets and underwater creatures under the same roof (to name a few)? However as this was her first experience going to a museum that would be more hands off than please touch I explained to her that she wouldn’t be able to touch and play with things at this museum. She told me she got it. And then she started referring to the museum as the No Touch Museum.
It was a pleasant surprise to her when we got there and she was able to touch many, many things. At one point after touching something she leans over to me and whispers, “Mommy, the No Touch Museum has lots of Do Touch stuff.” I had to giggle. By preparing her to think she wouldn’t be able to touch ANYTHING it made it a lot easier when we went to exhibits that touching was off limits for her not to be disappointed. She considered it a treat that most places she was able to get up close and personal.
From the moment we stood in front of the building she was impressed. She told me the building itself was marvelous, magnificent and beautiful. She saw the signs for the mummy exhibit and asked if we could see them. She was a little freaked out that there were real mummies but was also very curious about the history that brought them into the exhibit. I really enjoyed the exhibit and learned a lot about the differences between Peruvian mummies and Egyptian mummies.
Cuba was cool. We got to see tobacco leaves being hung to dry and used for cigars. We got to hang out and pretend to have a cafecito while playing dominoes. JustaBXgirl was really into the dominoes as justaBXgrandpa recently taught her how to play (she’s good). A lot of my friends have been to the country recently and since I can’t get there right now the exhibit was a nice little peek into the country. It included some extremely talented Cuban artists that I will be looking into.
When we visited the Giant Blue Whale and other Ocean Life JustaBXgirl went into tour guide Barbie mode. She started telling me facts about the animals in the exhibit and made it a point to let me know if she learned the information from Octonauts or Wild Kratts. I’m telling you, screen time has some perks. We stopped by one of the Museums learning stations and they quizzed JustaBXgirl on different sea life. Apparently, she was the only person up to that point in the day that could name a porcupine fish. High five!
I really enjoyed the learning stations around the museum. It was reminiscent of the ones we find around the Bronx Zoo. Each station corresponded to the exhibits nearby and taught us more about what we were looking at. When we stopped by the gemstone learning station they were impressed that JustaBXgirl had her own magnifying glass with her. Since watching so much Scooby-Doo recently she thinks she’s a detective and carries the thing everywhere! It came in handy at the museum.
We ended our day with a film on humpback whales. I love that my daughter is into documentaries. She was captivated by the forty minute film. My anxiety about taking her to a “real” museum has been put to rest. She got this and so do I! And we both plan to visit the museum again soon.