Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Today we dropped Noah off at school and headed over to the Denver Art Museum.

I can't believe I've lived in Denver almost three years and had not yet visited.
 I was finally lured to the so-called cultural district by a combination of the newly opened Clyfford Still Museum (designed by Allied Works Architecture) and my visiting family members. We never made it to the Still Museum; we ended up spending most of the day in the DAM.
And guess what? They actually had two installations that are awesome for toddlers. The first was this one by Rupprecht Matties. You might already have noticed I'm a sucker for carpet tiles. Naturally, I was going to love this exhibit.
Hello, colorful word-shaped pillows! I'm totally making you (in stripe patterns) for my couches. No! Who am I kidding? I'm making word pillows to play for us to play with!
And the second one was the Bubbloo exhibit.
This is such a simple idea – although I doubt it was simple to implement. Projected light bubbles float across the floor and POP! when someone steps on them. (Actually, I think the system was detecting the motion and not stepping, per se.)

[photo removed]

Hours of entertainment. No plans to make this for my house. Instead, I'll try to train Noah to move around our existing prism that hangs in the window. That will, at least, make the existing Catching Rainbows Game a little more interactive.
Also nice? There were not dozens of other kids running around. I mean, sometimes it is nice to have lots of kids around. And sometimes it is nice to feel alone with just your own kids. I tend to err on the side of liking fewer kids/just mine. Over the last four-ish years, I have often avoided places that cater directly to children. Children's museums, in particular, leave me with a feeling of whiplash. But perhaps I have also avoided too many places that are traditionally considered adult-centric. I don't know. There is something to be said for exposure to these things – even when it turns out like our recent experience at the symphony.

Growing up in the suburbs, I always wanted to do these types of cultural activities, but it was always a little too far, and a little too expensive. It was also really hard as a child to 'take in' all that was available at a museum, given our rare visits. And even though I WANTED to go, my attention span was limited. One of the most wonderful things we've discovered since moving to Denver has been family memberships, which allow us to visit places repeatedly for short periods of time (1 hour, 2 hours max) whenever we want.

Some memberships have been better than others: Fritz and I were quickly bored by the airplane museum (although the boys loved it). Fritz also developed an elaborate argument regarding airplanes as the province of the military, and the military, with its primary mission to kill people, and blah blah blah. No more airplane museum membership.  The Museum of Nature and Science manages to be renewed every year without question. This year, my cousin reminded us that our membership is good for OTHER science museums as well. Good to remember if you travel much! The Botanic Garden membership was barely used. Although the new children's garden shows promise for the future, it still seems a little dull compared to the freely available nature elsewhere. Also, I couldn't get the boys to be too excited about plants that they couldn't dig up/break off/use as weapons. The biggest perk of the Botanic Gardens might have been the discounted tickets to events like the corn maze and lights festival. Which is a perk, because those events are expensive. But it would be better if those events were included, considering they ARE what the boys like about the garden.

Today I was impressed and inspired enough by the standing collection and exhibits to get a family membership. And I'm genuinely looking forward to going back with Noah, seeing the collection again, and maybe even eating a bag lunch on the skybridge.


Katie (Mama May I) said...

I was recently reading about the Still Museum. Can't wait to check it out. Every now and then I'll snazz my little ones up a bit and take them out on a lunch/DAM date. Fun!

Pregnantly Plump said...

That looks like a great museum! The thing I miss most about DC is the free access to almost all of the museums. Especially now that Little Elvis is old enough to enjoy them.

Craftwhack said...

That museum looks very, very cool. I want to let my kids loose there- and I totally agree with not enjoying crowds of children inside buildings...