On How The Children’s Museum Of Houston Kicks Ass. And How They Could Kick it Harder.
First things first…
We are frequent visitors to the Children’s Museum of Houston.
We’ve been going since Luca could crawl.
The place is exceptional.
Just today, on our way in, I saw that Parents Magazine had rated it the best children’s museum in the country.
And I believe it.
Second things second…
Don’t tweet when you’re pissed off. You won’t get your point across well, or gracefully. And isn’t there some bullshit saying about honey and vinegar and bees or catching flies or something?
Anyway, I went off on the museum folk on a platform that didn’t allow me to tell my story fully, or the least bit eloquently. I fear I just ended up sounding like some scorned chick who wanted to score some free shit on the internet.
And I don’t.
Here’s the deal.
In the museum, there’s a fabulous area designated for the young ones. It has an equally adorable name – The Tot Spot.
Luca loved it when he was little and we’ve just, in the past year, moved on to exploring the rest of the museum. Not because of the age limit (which I’m getting to), but because it was the natural progression of things. He was ready.
Today, I told him it was time we introduce Leo to his old Tot Spot stomping grounds. He was thrilled.
First we take Leo and show him, and then we go to the boats outside!
So, we bought our tickets and it worked out perfectly, because we couldn’t even enter the big kids’ section for another half hour because of capacity.
We headed upstairs to the TS and, as we approached, an employee was busy telling another family what I’m about to tell you.
“You may not bring your older child in here. Period. Just the one under three.”
The rule is that no child under the age of 35 months is allowed in the Tot Spot area.
Let me say, before I go on, that I totally understand this rule. I get that people don’t want a bunch of crazy six year olds running wild amongst what is an otherwise safe, nurturing, and fun experience for the under three crowd.
I don’t want that around Leo, either!
So, I get it. And, it’s completely reasonable, even if it is completely impractical for those of us parents flying solo with children of different ages.
And, to their credit, they state this very clearly. In fact, it’s plain as day, in alarmingly bright red font, on their website.
But, to my credit, I am knee-deep in kid shit and tantrums over here most of the day, so I don’t always have time to navigate to a particular section of their website, especially since I’ve been a patron long before this issue affected me.
It never even occurred to me to check on this…I’ve been there a million times.
So, back to today.
We were told Luca was not allowed in the TS, no exceptions.
But you can go look at the boats outside, with both kids.
Cue the pouring rain.
So, unless I gave my four year old a few bucks, and a time to meet me back in the parking garage, the Tot Spot was a no go.
And, we couldn’t go outside.
And, we couldn’t enjoy the older kids’ area for another half hour, although we’d already paid for it (another thing I wish they explained upon admittance).
So, being that we’d been there for all of five minutes, I asked where I could get my money back.
“Talk to admissions,” I was told.
I then, perhaps a bit vindictively, proceeded to let Kim Jong continue his epic, screaming, tantrum, right there on the bench beside the Tot Spot soup Nazi.
No Tot Spot for you!
I noticed she was on the phone much of the time, and when I finally went down to inquire about a refund, they were expecting me. This was evident by the massive eye-rolls that welcomed me from behind the desk.
I explained that I knew this wasn’t their fault, and they didn’t make this rule, but that I wanted my money back.
Then, Miss Thang came out and told me all of the other things I could take Leo to see.
“Oh, there’s a this and a that and some lake and yadda yadda,” she explained.
Yes, but can I safely let him loose on the floor to explore like I can in the Tot Spot?
Not so much.
Anyway, she stamped a big ass DENIAL on my refund request and I stormed out, mumbling something really douchey about taking this up on social media.
But, I was angry.
Angry, because of my screaming kid, and also because they should have it posted, next to the other ten signs of information at the ticket counter, that kids over 35 months aren’t allowed upstairs.
Or, I don’t know, maybe tell a parent, who clearly has a baby and an older child with them, that the baby will not be able to do anything baby-like if the older kid is present. You know, before you take their money.
Or, in the very least, offer a refund in a situation like the one that occurred today.
I’m sorry you didn’t know. And I’m sorry we didn’t have room in the bad ass section for another half hour, which in toddler and dog years equals something like seven years. Oh, and since you’ve only been here for five minutes, and you come all the damn time, how about we offer you a refund OR passes to come back another day: One for the baby. One for the big boy?
Will I go back to the Children’s Museum?
Of course I will.
That is, if they’ll have us after our behavior today.
After all, we did throw quite the little shit show.
Luca left looking like this…
And, me, like this…
Finally, should you go to the Children’s Museum of Houston if given the chance?
It’s a beautiful environment, and the cream of the crop of children’s museums.
Everything there is amazing, and it’s such an awesome experience for the family.
Except for those eye-rolling chicks behind the counter, of course.
Update: The person I referred to as the “tot spot soup nazi” was really as nice and lovely and uncomfortable as anyone could be, when having to enforce an unpopular rule.
Another update: And, the first manager that came to the TS area? Was as nice as nice could be, and boy am I sorry he caught me on one of the three days a year I confront someone.