Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thanksgiving Point Museums

My parents were generous enough to let me steal their car for a day and take the kiddos up to Thanksgiving Point. Thanks to our local museum membership here in Wisconsin we have a passport program that let's us get into hundreds of Museums across the country for free. I wish I had known Tuesday was $2 day at Thanksgiving Point, because I would have been sure to avoid it that particular day. It was kind of a zoo. I figured the high prices and midweek visit would keep people away, little did I know Tuesday is the busiest day of the week. Oops.

Thanksgiving Point is this crazy huge campus with five different museums/attractions. We only went to two of them, and still probably didn't plan enough time for both of those. You could easily get a hotel (there are several right on the campus) and stay for a couple of days. Maybe we'll do that with Daddy one year in the future (as long as we still get in for free ... and one of our days isn't a Tuesday).

The kids wanted to go to the Dinosaur Museum first. It's really the whole reason we went. My kids are sooooooo into Dinosaurs. In fact, they know so many random things about Dinosaurs that they know when I say "Utah" I'm talking about a fossil rich area and paleontologist heaven. Before our trip they regularly asked if we'd see Dinosaur bones while we were in Utah. So I figured we might as well.

The museum was very hands on and informative. The kids were constantly asking me to read the signs and tell them about the animals they saw. There were also many areas where they got to stop and explore through touch and play. 

We actually zoomed through the museum in about an hours time, and then decided to go through again a second time. That may seem strange, but I actually really liked this approach. I've found that kids always want to go through museums like this faster than I enjoy. They just want to run on to the next thing (it might be more exciting) as quickly as they can. So once we'd gone through once and knew what there was to explore, it was nice to go back through again and take time enjoying our favorite spots (and skipping over others). They were much more thoughtful the second time around. And one of the big summer camp groups that had come through was gone, so there was also more space to explore and discover. 

The second time around Reid was determined to complete one of the giant dinosaur puzzles. He picked one that happened to have many of the same features as two others. So in all honesty, it was too hard for me to devote any of my own time too. I don't enjoy things like that (at least not while I'm also keeping track of two other kids). But Reid would not give up. He even had to slowly replace a couple of the pieces I helped him with. He was determined to make that Allosaurus perfectly! I have to admit I was pretty proud in the end, even if my patience was lacking in the middle. 

The other Museum we visited was the Museum of Natural Discovery. It sounds fancy, but it's really just a kid museum with four separate "wings." This museum was much more to Coraline's liking, and I have about a hundred pictures of her that I love from this museum. You've been warned.  

The four different areas were an outdoor garden/playground/pond, a typical kid's museum, a giant indoor climbing jungle, and (as you can tell) a water area. It was the best kid's museum water play area I've ever come across. The outdoor part of the museum was also really fun. My kids loved the other two spots, but I didn't think they were all that much better than any other kid museums we've been to. 

Overall the day was really enjoyable and I think the kids had a lot of fun. I did have to take a minute and ponder the purpose of these kid specialty play places. After the museum we spent about an hour at a dear friends house, and I honestly think my kids had just as much fun playing in her yard with her kids. The museum has the obvious advantage of air conditioning, but really kids are pretty good at making their own fun when we let them. Reid was occupied by L and C the moment we arrived and he was devastated when it was time to leave. 

I tried to cheer him up by promising him his very own milkshake that we could eat as we sat on Temple grounds. But then Coraline fell asleep in the drive thru. Literally in it, I ordered her a milkshake while she was awake but by the time we got it she was passed out. Silly girl. So instead of getting out and enjoying the Temple grounds we just drove around the Mount Timpanogas parking lot a few times. The kids were still in awe at it's beauty. 

We pulled into my parent's garage 13 hours after we left. It was a long day, but well worth it. I'd definitely do Thanksgiving Point (for free) again ... just not on two dollar Tuesday. 

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