Snowy days in New York City are those kinds of days that, when they first happen, are greeted with great joy by most New Yorkers, especially if they happen to be on lazy weekends. I woke up to such a day.
I appreciates a snowy day more lately. No longer do snowy days mean having to shovel the driveway (at our Madison, WI home), nor do they mean having to drive miles and miles in frosty roads. Instead my husband and I can sit back and watch as the beautiful white snow piles up on cars (though not ours because ours is in a garage), and sidewalks that we don’t have to plow, and trees and buildings, bringing a certain level of peace and serenity to the otherwise busy, bustling streets.
She loves it. She loves the transformation of her city on snowy days. But she especially loves that snow days do not at all limit what she and her kids can do outside of their home. It’s one of those things that she missed the most when living in the Midwest, where she often found herself surrounded by snow, but still itching to do something fun. And with options being very, very limited for her and her family she was often homebound, which became a huge drag for this big city mama, and she found herself missing NY even more.
But on this Saturday afternoon, my husband and I sat down and went through the list of endless possibilities, and settled on visiting the The American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, across from Central Park. We love this beautiful museum and though we suspected that it might be a bit crowded on a day such as this one, we thought it would be worth braving the crowds and the cold.
Though we took the subway, which conveniently stops on the corner of the museum block, we have often traveled by car. The museum offers underground parking, but at an incredibly ridiculous rate. Non metered street parking is a bit difficult to find.
We entered the museum and straight to the boys favorite hall: The Milstein Hall. This is located past the Rainforest, and it is where most parents go, maybe not right away, but certainly at some point, to let the little ones run around freely. The hall was recently renovated, and though it still features the gigantic, life size Blue Whale hanging from the ceiling, it also has a few extras, such as the effects of glittering water, so as to make you feel as if you are underwater the minute you enter the huge room, and this is accompanied by the sounds of “whale calls” which absolutely fascinate Mama’s little ones as the run around the room, stopping occasionally to peer at the sea animal exhibits behind the thick glass windows, and glare at the large screen showing films of the Earth formation, geographical shifts, etc.
Every time Mama comes here she smiles anxious for the day when they might be able to finally participate in “A Night at The Museum“, which are activities done after hours, and includes a slumber party in that very room, underneath the whale. It’s not cheap, but it’s something that she thinks would be great fun, especially when the kids get a little older.
After the kids let out some energy, they headed back past the rainforest and towards other exhibits.
The 3-year-old learned that inside his skull is a “boo-ain” and that it helps him think. The 11-year-old watched a video and played with a keyboard used to teach bonobo apes our language and how to communicate, and the 2-year-old, half scared, half intrigued, couldn’t get enough of the skeletons. All these could be found in The Hall of Human Origins.
The museum is a wonderful location with various halls and sections full of all sorts of exhibits and displays for kids of all ages. Before we were done seeing all there was to see on the first floor, the little ones started showing signs of being tired and the toddlers that were so cooperative and happy two hours ago, where becoming the little trouble makers.
So we headed for the last sight of the day in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda and as the children admired the tall dinosaur bones standing over them, my husband and I were able to quickly put on coats, gloves, hats, scarves, and head out without too much commotion.
We stepped out into a Winter Wonderland and suddenly I had that feeling that often overcomes me on days when I am out exploring the city. It’s a feeling of sheer joy and excitement to be here and to be able to say, “Wow. How lucky am I to be able to call this great place home.”