Planning a day at the museum can be a little stressful for many people, especially those with young children. From planning what to wear, what to see, and how to carry all your stuff, there are many things to think about. As a frequent traveler and museum enthusiast, here are some basic tips to help you get out the door and have a fun experience.
Planning your trip in advance is the most important step of the process. At least a few days before you leave, plot what museums you would like to see and find their addresses and hours. I like to program my GPS a couple days before hand and have it fully charged if I’m not familiar with where I’m traveling. If you’re staying in a hotel, map out the best way to get there and have a plan. If you can purchase tickets in advance, you definitely should and have them stored in a wallet or purse as soon as they print. This can help you skip lines and sometimes get a discount. You should also check the exhibits out online and decide which are most important to see first.
Pack a Bag
Depending on the age of your children, you are either going to have to pack a big bag or have them each pack a small one to carry. My sister likes to give her older children that are 3 and 7 their own mini backpack to carry. Inside the bag are tissues, a small snack, and a small toy or stuffed animal. The bags are light but that means that anything they may need is within arms reach. For her youngest child, my sister packs the items she will need in her purse, like diapers. If you’re taking a stroller, it can be smart to load the stroller up rather than bags so you have everything you need.
I recommend bringing comfort items for your kids because sometimes the dark museum can seem a little scary. My niece has a toy giraffe that she likes to cuddle, so we bring that and let her play with it in the stroller. You also need a snack, like a granola bar, that can be eaten in the museum lobby. Museum snack food is expensive but you will need to refuel especially after a lot of walking. A bottle of water or two can also help you keep your spending down. Pack any medications you might need through the day and have it easy to find. Tickets, money and Ids should be stored securely where they won’t be lost.
Besides buying your tickets in advance, arriving right when the doors open means you get the most time in the museum possible. Lines form quickly, and museums are usually only open for a few hours a day. If you want to see more than one museum, make a strict schedule and stick to it. I know that doesn’t sound fun, but if you have planned ahead and arrive on time, you can usually stick to it pretty well.
Also to make sure that you always have a meeting point with children, especially if you’re taking older children that are more independent. Be sure everyone has a fully charged phone or a dependable watch and pick an easy to find meet up spot. This will not only keep you on schedule but can help parents not worry so much and enjoy the museum, too.
Museums are a great way to educate your children and just have a great time. Be sure to bring plenty of batteries and a memory card for your camera and a fully charged phone to snap photos of your experience. Just remember, no flash! It harms the artifacts and can make you look washed out.