We finally made it to the Franklin Institute to see the Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs and it was awesome.
I just love museums and I love to attend them with my kids and their friends. I still like to learn new stuff.
Parents need to stay engaged and open to new experiences. Lots of places like aquariums have cool things to do like wading in and feeding stingrays, or actually touching jellyfish and sea cucumbers.
At the Franklin, we went to the roof to check out a sunspot through a giant telescope and learned that sunspots are actually storms on the surface of the sun. Just amazing!
Times being what they are, everyone is crunched for money and a family membership to the Franklin costs $120. This includes two parents and up to four children.
That fee includes a lot of stuff, but most of the special exhibits require an additional charge.
But I have found a real deal in another location. I’ll share.
A while back, we discovered the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, a real gem of a museum.
It’s not very big in size, but plenty large in regard to its detailed exhibits. It takes about an hour to go through, depending on how much reading and exploring of facts you want to do.
But if you have a group of kids that are of varying ages, it really is rather easy to keep everyone happy in regard to attention span.
The best part of this is the fee. The family membership includes two parents and two children and costs $65.
That’s a great deal all by itself, but as an added bonus, it also has a reciprocal arrangement with the Franklin Institute. In fact, if you purchase this membership there are museums across the country that you can gain access to for free, not to mention the nearby Academy of Natural Sciences. One time I came to the Franklin and it was really crowded, so I took the troops literally across the street to the Academy of Natural Sciences.
The other deal I have recently found in the area, is the Grounds for Sculpture, located just across the river in New Jersey - what a fascinating place! I will be taking my undergraduate class studying the psychology of creativity there for a field trip in May.
The admission is reasonable ($12 for adults, $8 for kids 6-17 and free for kids under 6), and you can spend the whole day there finding new surprises at every turn. It’s outside, which is an added bonus with our beautiful weather.
But every story has its Yin and Yang. My daughter and her friend purchased this trendy necklace at the gift shop located in the Franklin. Yes, the dreaded gift shop. In fact, there was a special gift shop right at the end of the dinosaur exhibit, devoted entirely to plush artifacts of the Jurassic period. Oh, how I loathe those places.
But when I entered the Franklin, I parked in the lot underneath the museum, where you can validate your ticket in the museum for a much more respectable rate of $12 for the day. However, it was crowded and there were attendants there to double park cars.
Patrons were handed an additional card to claim keys after your adventure in the museum. In my zeal to get into the museum, I neglected to look more closely at the card.
As I was leaving, however, I turned the card over and found that there was a car printed on the back with the disclaimer, “Damage noted where circled.”
To my horror, every surface on my car's little diagram was circled and there is no damage on my car.
I went to the woman in charge of the garage and found that there is a separate company now in charge of parking. She was, to say the least, not very pleased at my discovery.
I told her that this was dishonest and she responded by getting loud and, as another patron approached, I asked to see the back of their card.
The picture on the back of their ticket was covered with circles, too. And her car was brand-new, purchased just a month ago. Needless to say, the manager went wild.
So buyer beware on your next adventure.
Make certain you read the fine print and turn the card over. There could be a yin to your yang and sometimes a well-planned trip can end in disaster.
This is true with your kids as well. Make certain you lay the groundwork and establish rules before leaving for your adventure. For instance, if there is a gift shop, decide before you go if the group will be permitted to browse, shop or go in at all.
The same applies to lunch. Give everyone an allowance and make the trip a math and budget experience as well. This will make the trip more enjoyable for all.
Wrap your trip planer around that!