Lego me this...
We have a Lego brick fascination in our house. No, more like obsession. Given that it pretty much does nothing but stimulate my kids creativity, I have, well, no problem with it (other than stepping on the buggers...the bricks, not my kids).
Given that they spend 5 billion hours a year creating things on my dining room table, kitchen table, train table, in the car....I thought it would be a nice end of the summer treat to visit the Lego exhibit at the National Building Museum. We did the typical Jen thing of not arriving until mid-afternoon, but ended up snagging amazing parking and the building was nearly empty (except for mini-golf...grrr).
We started off at the cafe (save it, I needed a mocha) and given it was a Firehook Bakery cafe (vs. like a a McDonald's at the Smithsonian), I anted up for a snack. It wasn't long, though, before they were chomping at the bit to hit the Lego room.
First of all, may I say, I LOVE this museum! It was actually designed to hold people! The first floor is so open, the cafe has tables in the lobby and it's huge! We managed to go at an extremely uncrowded time, but even if it had been full, the design allowed for people not to be smushed in a small atrium or room constantly.
After our *healthy* snack, we headed upstairs to the Lego room. Had I really thought this through, I probably would have allotted an entire day for the Lego room. Silly me, I figured they had enough Lego playtime at home! After reviewing some of the masterpieces (including Fallingwater, which absolutely fascinated Kelsey and I now must visit with her), they decided to build...and build and build and build.
There were benches and tables and tables and benches. No shortage or play areas or Lego bricks for the kiddos. It was Lego heaven (next to Legoland). After about 45 minutes, I dragged them out of there, only as we had all agreed to visit other sections and play mini-golf (shudder).
We visited the House & Home section and all of us found it fascinating. Lots of memorabilia, but not so much so that one couldn't get through and both kids thoroughly enjoyed. We managed to catch half of a video on unique houses before we realized we needed to hoof it to mini-golf.
I really don't know what to say here. I WANTED to like it, I did. However, since I only got to play two holes (of 12), having a hard time coming up with positives. Here's one: the design?
The negatives were too numerous to mention, but I'll give it a shot:
- They don't monitor how many buy tickets, so they way oversell for this feature.
- One person can save spaces for up to 8 people. Seriously. Guess the tourist in front of us had family who didn't feel like waiting in line. So, after 30 minutes of waiting, it's nearly our turn and suddenly 7 other family members show up and get in line in front of us. Really?
- The rules....not so much made for 4 year olds, or apparently, touristy parents who don't like following them.
- The space: TINY. Seriously, we were crammed in there and again, if you have that little space, you need to limit the number of people alllowed.
- The wait...again, if they had ticket limits...
Perhaps I am most annoyed because Nicholas had a massive meltdown. I'm not annoyed with him (okay, I was a bit at the time), but more that I realized I can't deal with meltdowns as well as I used to. I finally just asked Kelsey if we could leave. Reason was not working with him (depends on the situation) and I was tired of the whole thing. I figured leaving would teach a good lesson and it did. I just didn't have the energy for anything else and the drive home was sapping enough.
Perhaps, if we had a two parent home and I knew I would come home and be able to take a breather, that would be a different scenario. Instead, however, I am gearing up into another 16 weeks of single parenthood with no help. Fun! So, we left. I wish I could say the mini-golf was an awesome idea, as I liked the design, but there just isn't really enough space.
All in all, we give the museum 6 thumbs up, meltdown and all. It was airy, open and had exhibits that interested all of us and at a reasonable price. Can't beat that, can you? Just limit the tickets on the mini-golf, okay?
I know today is normally *this moment* however, I haven't yet found my moment for the week...will post when I do.