Monday, January 16, 2012

A Visit to the Saratoga Childrens' Museum

My quest to make our "Saturday Mommy-Daughter Days" more interesting continued this past weekend. After hanging out in our pjs for the first two hours of our Saturday morning, I decided that it would be best for Emmy and me to brave the 2 degree weather and trek up to Saratoga for the day. I knew there was a Children's Museum up there, and after visiting the museum website, I thought it sounded quite suitable for toddler entertainment and exploration.
On our drive up to 'toga, Em and I listened to two of the new children's music CDs my sister sent us. The first CD is a compilation of my sister's family favorites, which include a lot of "old school" classics from Free to Be, You and Me and Sesame Street, among other gems. Emmy  bopped along in her car seat for at least three of the songs before her body gave in to the lulling motion of the car and she fell asleep. I continued to listen to the rest of the songs, proud that I could still remember many of the lyricss from the soundtrack of my childhood.
Parking pretty much sucks in Saratoga. A museum which can accommodate 100 people comfortably has enough parking for three and a half people. After waiting around hoping that some of the Children's Museum visitors would be leaving 15 minutes after the museum opened, I faced reality and parked two blocks away in the Saratoga Public Library lot. Ordinarily, a two block walk would be a non-issue, but on a frigid, icy, 2 degree day, thirty paces outside seemed like an eternity.
Overall, both Emmy and I loved the museum. It was, however, SUPER crowded with birthday party attendees and their parents. It took Em about 30 minutes to warm up to the new environment and feel comfortable enough to leave my arms, but after that she roamed about, exploring all the very "hands-on" exhibits. The museum is set up with different themed areas and rooms, including a theatre area with lots of costumes and puppets, a construction zone (one of Emmy's favorites), a little diner with real booths and swively chairs at the counter, and a marketplace. The marketplace was definitely a highlight, because it was all truly hands on, and Emmy was able to do what she normally would not be allowed to do in a real-world grocery store, i.e. take all the food off the shelves.
An hour and a half in the museum was enough to tire both Emmy and me out, but on our way back to the car we stopped in the library to visit the children's section. As a new mommy I have a renewed curiosity in local libraries, as they are ideal hang-out places and great for brief escapes from the house. Emmy is not exactly a lover of books as of yet (though her patience for sitting through a few pages is definitely increasing), so I am more interested in what libraries have to offer children in terms of educational toys. Our local Guilderland library doesn't have much to offer other than a small collection of puzzles and a lego table. Saratoga's library is a jackpot wonderland of toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, and yes, books too. Emmy and I had a lot of fun there until our stomaches started grumbling and making us kind of cranky.
We popped into the Bread Basket (again, a parking nightmare) to eat a freshly baked snack before heading home. I wish the folks that ran that bakery weren't always so moody and irritable. The baked goods are really yummy, but always tinged with a bit of cranky-pants.
On the way back home, Emmy and I listened to the second CD sent by my sister, music by Eizabeth Mitchell. EM's voice makes me so happy and I could listen to her sing forever. I really wish I had a voice like hers. I feel like if I did, I could go for a walk in the woods, and as soon as I started to sing, birds would fly around my head, squirrels would clap their hands, and the shyest of deer would offer me a ride.
Overall, a super day with my little companion. On to our next adventure!

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