We went to the Children’s Museum Tucson for the first time on December 18, 2015. We tried it out on a Saturday when Brett could come with me and all three kids so we could see if it was something we would want a membership to and something I could do regularly with the kids on my own. Iddo was 2.5-years-old. Shimri and Shimei were 7 months old. We had a lot of fun and decided to get a membership.
On Friday morning, January 8, 2016, we went to Wee Play, the story time for little kids, for the first time, and purchased our first membership. We quickly moved to Tuesday afternoons as it fit our nap schedule better and rare were the weeks we missed being there for story time at 2:00 and then the weekly craft at 3:00. Shimri and Shimei practiced walking pushing the shopping carts in the grocery store area. They learned how to go up and down stairs at the tree house. Shimei loved climbing UP the slides. Iddo learned how to use scissors in the craft area.
With the freedom of the membership we didn’t feel like we had to see everything when we went because we knew we’d be back in a week. We were free to spend all of our time in one area if we wanted. And we quickly developed favorites. As Shimri and Shimei grew and became more mobile it became more frequent for all three kids to pick different rooms, but they would at least pick rooms next to each other so I could just stand in doorways and watch them play.
Izri was 3 weeks old the first time we took him to the children’s museum. He was awake for part of the visit but stayed with me the whole time. When he was ready to start walking he practiced with the shopping carts. He learned to color with the crafts at story time. He learned stairs with the tree house. He’s more cautious with the slides. He’s fascinated with the bubbles.
We’ve pet alligators, met super heroes, honked the horns in semi-trucks, learned capoeira, played in wading pools, made fused glass pieces, sat inside an inflatable planetarium, learned about rocks, gone to art camp, explored light and sound and temperature and electricity and bubbles, played Taiko drums, and taken dozens of photos in the carrot car. We’ve marked several birthdays at the children’s museum. We’ve taken Grandma Giles, Grandpa Giles, Aunt Kim, and several friends.
We love going to the children’s museum every week (twice a week now that Iddo’s in school so we can still get the story in the morning and the 3:00 activity after school). But more than the building and the exhibits, we love the people. They are our dear friends. Shimri’s best friend is Miss Bri. Iddo cried when Miss Roshea started working at the Oro Valley location. We loved doing story time with Miss Andrea and we all cried when she left for a children’s museum in Chicago (and totally have plans to go see her if we ever go to Chicago). We love Miss Ellie, Friend Aaron, Miss Haley, Miss Mo, Miss Jordan, Miss Miriam, Miss Nicole. Since we are there for the last hour they are open on Fridays now, Iddo loves to follow them all around and help them clean and put everything away. More than once I’ve found at least one of them sitting at the front desk helping check people in, Shimei even did the hand stamps for an entire field trip group one morning. They are our family. They have watched all of our kids grow.
A few weeks ago it was time for story time and Iddo was with someone else. Miss Bri got on the walkie-talkie and asked whoever was with Lauren to let her know that Wee Play was starting. They came back and said Iddo didn’t want to come and would that be okay. I indicated yes to Miss Bri and she passed it along. Iddo spent that morning helping sweep the outside and loved it. Next year when she comes with her first grade class for a field trip she’ll probably want to be the one giving the guided tour. When she’s old enough she plans to get a job there, and she’ll already know how everything works.
Last week was Shimri’s and Shimei’s birthday. It fell on Friday, our normal day to go visit the children’s museum. We’d told our children’s museum friends in advance that we were going to be coming on their birthday and Shimri and Shimei were excited to spend it with their friends. Iddo ran ahead when we got there. Shimri and Shimei followed more slowly behind since they were both carrying plates of cupcakes to share with their friends. And I was coming in last with Izri. When I got to the door my heart swelled and my eyes watered as I saw all of the front staff there waiting for Shimri and Shimei with birthday crowns they had made for them (in their favorite colors and decorated with their favorite animals) and they sang Happy Birthday to both of them. Our children are so loved.
I never would’ve imagined this would be the outcome when we first started going to the children’s museum. It’s been worth so much more than the price of the membership. Our kids have learned about science, art, safety, the world around them, work, and especially love.