Saturday, February 19, 2011

Experiencing a child-friendly museum

We went to the National Museum of Play today with our friends and their young daughter. My husband received a pair of tickets at Christmas to see the exhibit about the history of video games, which he enjoyed. I appreciated the time capsule videos, while Peter was enthralled watching the carousel. Something for everyone. One thing I love about this museum is how much thought went into accommodating families. You would think that should be a given, but a surprising number of places geared towards children are not particularly kid-friendly. (How many crying, frustrated kids - and parents - have you seen at a zoo?) The entrance includes a large drop-off loop, probably big enough for ten to fifteen cars, to facilitate loading and unloading small children. The museum has enough open space to make stroller travel possible and provides small strollers to use at no cost. The bathrooms have step-stools and changing tables (in both men's and women's rooms!). The coat room offers small and large hangers. My absolute favorite accommodations are the "Guest Rests." These small rooms have comfortable rocking chairs, ideal for nursing, with some books and toys if you have a toddler with you. They are clean and relatively quiet. The room has a few windows that look out over a play area, if you have an older child who can play independently. The overall message of the room is, "Welcome, we made a space just for you and your family." Such a refreshing change of pace from many nursing areas that seem to say, "If you're going to do that, don't make the rest of us see you." National Museum of Play gets five stars from me.

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