Natural history museums are a wonderful way to introduce your kids to a new way of viewing the world. When we open their eyes to the natural order of things, they begin to connect the dots of their own existence. Natural history museums also show kids what the world was like long ago and what it might be in the future. These things all make a trip to the museum worthwhile, but not without a bit of planning. There are a ton of things to consider before you go heading out with the kids. Here are some things to consider before visiting a natural history museum:
Tips for Visiting a Natural History Museum
Know what is available for the kids
There are generally plenty of outstanding programs for your kids at these places, but you need to know when they are being offered. They are often on a schedule and at various times throughout the day. If you are going to the museum on a day where there are no programs running, then be sure to plan ahead for it. Knowing what the museum gives the kids is a powerful tool if you plan accordingly and take advantage of them.
Plan your trip ahead
The same thing applies whether children are in tow or not. Know the programs and the guided tour schedule. Familiarize yourself with maps of the grounds, bathrooms, parking and even where the lunchrooms are. You can also plan the order in which you visit each exhibit so you can see the things you want to see the most first.
Come up with games for the kids
During the time when they have no special programs, having a game for the kids is a must. They will be enamored by the surroundings, but they can still get bored…all kids do. Given this, you can keep them engaged by making up a Bingo card or visual scavenger hunt card for them to follow along with. When they find a particular thing on the list, they can mark it off. Make sure they know to come and whisper it in your ear, however, so the other kids won’t steal their information. (Mainly so you will keep them nice and quiet)
Prepare to be comfortable
You simply have to get ready for some walking folks. Bring a stroller for the youngest and make sure the older kids have on comfy walking shoes. You yourself should have on the same. All museums will be wheelchair accessible for those that need one.
Take regular breaks
You will eventually get tired no matter how excited you may be and so will your kids. Be prepared to rest on a regular basis and take a seat when you need to. Eat snacks and take a lunch when the time comes. Keeping your kids and yourself fed and hydrated will keep your energy levels high enough to enjoy the entire tour.
The natural history museums across the country are a wonderful way to spend the day and you should certainly plan to visit on a regular basis. The keys are to stay prepared, plan ahead and rest when you need it. If you do these things, you will enjoy the museum to the fullest!