Adventures in Grandparenting

Last Friday, we took Little O to the “New Children’s Museum” in West Hartford.  That is how it bills itself.  However, I went with my own kids in a previous millennium and even had one of their birthday parties there in 1996, and there wasn’t too much that seemed new to me.   Even the chinchilla that attended the party was still there (they can live for 20 years!).

None of this matters, because it was all new to Little O.  He was so excited to see the wildlife in their glass enclosures!  “Oh, WOW!” he kept saying as he ran happily from the snakes to the fish to the fabulous Fennec Foxes!  We were told that the FFs were brother and sister from the same litter, and after being rejected by their birth mother, were nursed by a rescue dog.  What a great story, especially because Little O’s dog Gemma and our dog Billy are also siblings from the same litter who love to curl up and sleep together, just like the Fennec Foxes.

My husband is terrified of snakes, but he manned up and dealt with them, even the huge python that was draped around a tree branch.  I don’t mind snakes, but that one got to me a little bit.  Luckily there were no clowns on display (that’s what terrifies me).

We went into the Lizard Room and saw all kinds of interesting critters, including a “legless lizard,” which was extremely snakelike, but even more disgusting than any of the snakes.  Little O loved them all.

They have a playroom at the museum, with a little house and lots of toys and a slide.  That was a source of enormous fun, and there was only one minor throwing incident.  It was difficult to persuade our grandson to leave that room in order to see the giant hairy red-knee tarantulas.  He was not at all impressed by them.

We then went into the gift shop, because who doesn’t love a gift shop?  Little O grabbed an armful of stuffed animals that he informed us were “MINE!”  It took my best psychological tricks to get him to put them back and select only one, but ultimately it worked.  OK, so he got 2 toys to take home.  I have learned an important lesson from this – no visiting the gift shop even though I will always really really want to!  Some museums make the visitors walk through the gift shop in order to exit – so clever – but not this one, so next time, we will not indulge.

My plan was to spend just one hour there so Little O wouldn’t get overstimulated and have a meltdown.  Even though it’s almost an hour’s drive each way, and the cost to go in is pretty high, it seemed worth it to me to try this exciting adventure in grandparenting.  All of you experienced mommas with your tons of youthful energy don’t realize how challenging it is for us grandparent types to go on expeditions.  It is amazing how fast a 2-year-old can run, especially compared to me!

There is a lot more to be seen at this museum, which means we will definitely return.  You can get a pass at your local library that will cover the cost of one kid, but the entrance fee for adults is about $15 each.  Of course, the memories are priceless!  I highly recommend it if you haven’t been there (or even if you have).



5 thoughts on “Adventures in Grandparenting

  1. So glad you had fun there! So fantastic that you took him– I bet he will love getting to go places with you as he gets older. I know my boys enjoy outings with the grandparents (and no mom and dad). And they always talk their way into ice cream and gifts, hahahaha

    1. I hope he feels that way, Sarah — so far we are all having a blast. The more serious aspect of this, which I think about in my darker hours, is being physically and financially fit enough to carry on with these kinds of things. I have already started my DisneyWorld fund, but not sure who will be pushing whom in the stroller….

  2. We used to have a membership there until it stopped being reciprocal (honored at all the Children’s Museums), but that little room was always a fave for mine too, and the magnet wall in there!

    1. Sharlene I was so sad about the end to the reciprocity, too! And now, even the AMA member museums that DO have the reciprocity are only half off. Sad!!

    2. There appears to be some sort of qualified reciprocity thing now — they are on the ACM website, but there are caveats on the museum’s website. Next we will try KidCity, which seems to have a looser approach to such things. However, I do understand that it’s expensive to keep these places going. In a better world, they would all receive lots of grants and public funds and they would all be free. I, like you, I am sure, think of my clients for whom the cost of entry is out of the question. That is heartbreaking.

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