Monday, February 22, 2016

Museum memberships: total dud or sweet deal?

I am a firm believer that you don't have to spend a ton of money to have a great time. I also do my best to instill that into my son while we go on our many adventures together, because whether I like it or not, he's growing up. Too damn fast if you ask me, but then again, I'm pretty sure all parents feel that way. 

We often purchase memberships for Christmas and birthdays, which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. Not only do memberships help save money since we use them as our "adventure go-to's", but you don't ever have to feel rushed to see everything at once, which makes for a calm mommy and a peaceful day.

We've had the pleasure of enjoying a Zoo/Safari Park membership and a Seaworld membership so far. Now we are the proud owners of a Balboa Park Explorer membership or Park Pass, as some call it. Seeing as how today was a gorgeous day outside, I decided to utilize this time and pay a visit to the beautiful Balboa Park, using our new memberships. If you haven't already visited this amazing place, you're missing out. Not only does it have a wide array of museums consisting of photography, trains, science, and more, but it also displays beautiful architectural designs all around the park, two children's playgrounds close by, a photogenic water fountain, and the infamous Old Globe theater. I often come here to enjoy picnics near the koi pond and reminisce as well. We haven't explored ALL of Balboa Park yet, but now that we have this pass, we will be making quite a few trips to see all the wonderful exhibits Balboa Park has to offer. 

For today's trip, we decided to venture into The Natural History Museum, which is where my son began his quest for knowledge. It had 4 beautiful floors filled with artifacts galore. I will admit, I was a little skeptical about having this membership, mostly because I didn't want it to be wasted. I was worried that my son wouldn't enjoy himself or he would get bored easily. Toddlers, am I right? I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did my son enjoy himself, he was absolutely fascinated by all the "cool" things he learned. He questioned me on every exhibit and I myself was taught a few things by the curators.

My son's favorite, were the fossils. He was curious as to how they looked so intact after so many years. He was also intrigued by the "giant floating animals" that the museum displayed nicely. (See above photo of "floating" manatee.) The top floor was beyond my favorite. It was filled with photography of birds. No I'm not "into" birds, I'm into photography. Seeing how the artist takes his pictures, tells a story about the photographer himself. I like to imagine the words and expressions he or she must be exuding while snapping the magnificent photos that now hang on a museum wall. 

After we finished up at this museum, we decided to walk around to view the architecture I expressed my love for earlier. I wanted to reflect on the museum visit with my son, to better grasp his enjoyment. Was he simply excited to be out? Was he happy to see it, but prefer to not go again? Or was this membership going to pan out as an added treat for us throughout the year? Again, my son surprised me. He knew that the museum would hold new exhibits every couple of months, and he was really excited to see them all. He also wanted to "visit" the dinosaurs again. He was genuinely happy and that's all I could ask for. 

I will say that not every kid may enjoy the museums as much as my son did. I saw a few youngsters with their classmates on a field trip, who seemed less than thrilled to be there. I don't expect every single child to be enchanted with the process of a volcanic eruption or the bone structure of a manatee, but I do think there is something for every child and adult for that matter. Balboa Park also makes a great eating area and has quite a few restaurant options for your taste buds. There is a little eatery beside the Casa Del Prado Theater called The Village Grill that is my favorite. Their jalapeno grilled cheese sandwich is amazingly delicious, and their ice cream is perfect for a hot day's treat. The little ones will appreciate it as well. Just grab plenty of napkins, as the portions are above average. Also, located near The Village Grill, is a bike rental stand. You can easily eat some food, and ride around conveniently with your friends, significant other, or little ones. 
For me, the Balboa Park Explorer pass is a huge score. We get to visit every museum during all the new exhibits and enjoy a nice picnic by the old 100+ year old tree, which is free. I recommend it for those parents who like teaching their children about science, history, mummies, trains, photography, gardens, technology, space, sports, or anything else Balboa Park has to offer. The annual family pass, valid for up to two adults and up to four children (ages 3 to 17), is available for $229. You can find a list of their museums HERE! Also, the San Diego Zoo is directly next to Balboa Park, so once you finish learning, you can check out the adorable animals!

Do you guys have any cool memberships that make for great adventures?

Don't forget! You can find me on Instagram @thewhiterockingchair 

No comments:

Post a Comment