Museums and MORE!

Posted by  | Friday, October 3, 2008  at 3:01 PM  
In Leah's post this week, she mentions children's museums. What a great intro to my post for the week! I am such a museum junkie. Everywhere we go, I have to find a museum, aquarium, zoo, etc. I can only attribute this love to my parents.

When I was young, my family went on three cross country camping trips. These usually lasted from about 4-6 weeks during the summer months. We've done round trips to California, Maine and Alberta, Canada. (I've been to 45 of the 50 states.) Everywhere we went was highlighted by trips to state and national parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, historic sites and more. At the time, the trips seemed kind of nerdy. Ok - they still do, my husband laughs when I tell him stories. But I can't wait until my kids are old enough for us to do something similar. I was 9, 10 and 13 when we took our trips. My Mom even made us keep journals of our trips that we still have.

All this to say that I encourage you to find your local museums, zoos, aquariums, state and national parks, etc. They are usually free or fairly inexpensive and offer so many opportunities for families! Here in North Carolina we have the following that I highly recommend:
North Carolina also has some great state and national park areas that offer lots of free (or close to it) recreation. Here's a site that gives information on places like Hanging Rock State Park, Stone Mountain (yes, there is one in NC!), Falls Lake, Umstead and more! Here is a directory of National Parks where you can search by state. For those of you not in NC, I encourage you to look up the state and national parks in your area.

We've also taken trips to the National Zoo in D.C. (free!), the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I recommend them all!

Will (15 months) and Jacob at the Georgia Aquarium.

Will (9 months) being eaten by an alligator (or croc?) at the NC Aquarium.

Will (15 months) looking at a snake at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

I couldn't end my post without encouraging you to search for deals and specials when purchasing tickets to any of these places! For example, we found out that the National Aquarium offered $5 admission prices after 5pm on Fridays. That was down from about $17 (at the time several years ago) and we had plenty of time to see the exhibits. I did check their website and sadly don't see any mention of this deal anymore.

Here is one cool deal that is going on right now for Children's Museums. Get one free child admission with each adult admission. To find a participating museum (Marbles in Raleigh is participating!) and print a coupon - go here! There are some in almost every state! The deal is only good through October 26th, so plan your trip soon!

Got any recommendations for museums, zoos, aquariums or park sites in your area?


Christy said...

I am a big fan of museums and the local and state parks as well as nature centers. I especially love the free places. We do a bit more of the nature center thing because they tend to have an interactive area for kids. It also gets us outside and walking around. I have found a list of all the nature centers as well as state and local parks in my state. We have visited quite a few and plan to visit a few more in the next couple of weeks before it gets to cold, then I stick to the places that have the interactive areas. I love aquariums but we just don't have any good ones close by (that I know of). I love the aquarium in Newport, KY just across the river from Cincinatti, OH. Great place to visit. It is a stop when we go down to Alabama.

National Aquarium team said...

Hi! The National Aquarium's Baltimore venue offers a program called Fridays after Five which has an $8 admission price. This promotion runs from September through the winter. Here is the link.

We hope to see you soon!
The National Aquarium team

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