In a vicious attempt to make good on the crazy experience I had earlier in the week, I met up with my family to enjoy the day at the Museum of Science and Industry. To be honest, I hadn’t visited in over a year and prior to that, it had been a great deal of time since I had been there. I carefully packed up my wagon with all of the essentials (snacks, water, change of clothes etc.) and got my stoller kids (The three kiddos that requires being pushed) loaded in the van and we were off!
Upon my arrival and during my stay, I learned a lot. Here is my advice to help you navigate large museums such as the MSI with toddlers and strollers.
No Wagons - While I have very strong opinions about this, just know they are not permitted. Upon your arrival to security, you will be directed to guest services where you can swap what you currently have and utilize their in house rentals. If you do not have a stroller at all, you can rent one for $4 - $6 bucks.
Pros - You can limit extra baggage and rent a stroller on site instead of tugging one along. Single stroller has a nice bag attached for storage.
Cons - There is a small fee (I think it's reasonable though) and rental strollers are not the most comfortable. They do not recline so, if you have a kiddo that may fall into naptime, they will not be able to lay down. Finally, the double strollers have no compartments for storage.
Plan Your Visit Ahead of Time - I know the last thing a mama want to do is plan something. However, just take a quick minute and plan how you’d like to go about checking out exhibits. Because the museum is huge, multiple levels full of people, can be challenging.
Check out exhibits that are nicely lit. The museum can be dark and when there are tons of people, you can become overly stimulated by the crowds and so are your kiddos. Creating the "Where did he/she go?" syndrome.
Be practical about the exhibits you see. Consider your children's age and interest and make the decisions accordingly. Tots enjoy interactive exhibits so consider checking those first.
Limit the exhibits. Depending on the amount of kiddos in your party, you may want to consider sticking to certain exhibits for the day. Kids become very antsy once they are over something. My kids became so uninterested and said they wanted to go home.
Allow yourself some space - Strollers and wheelchairs can cause traffic. Allow yourself some space as you maneuver through the crowds. Because the museum is so massive, there is plenty of space to park your stroller off to the side all over the museum.
Call Ahead Of Time - A quick phone call is great to find out if there are any promotions and to find out if your company receives discounts on admission. My aunt did this and found out her employer is granted free admission.
Bring Snacks - We all know the museum foods and snacks can be pricey. If you plan to eat lunch there, SUPER (we did)! However, packing filler items to hold yourself and kiddos over is a great idea. Water, fruit and small dry snacks are a must. If you desire to bring your own lunch that's great too, there is plenty of seating available.
Parking Passes can rest in your car - Here is why I say this. I took my parking pass inside, as instructed. I paid at the kiosk and put it back in my diaper bag, which I placed in the trunk. I was looking for it by the time we approached the exit! ARGHH I held up the line, it was awful. Point is, it can be paid when you exit, just make sure you have your payment ready.
Bring Your Patience - We all know this is a huge museum. You will be tired and exhausted. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
Bathroom Time - The Bathrooms are not plentiful considering the space, make sure you ask your tot if they need to potty because it may not be a quick skip to its location.
Don’t Forget A Map - You will need a map!
I hope these tidbits help you as you navigate the Museum your next trip. We really enjoyed ourselves and I am sure you will too!