The NYC Dads Group finally made our maiden voyage over to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) for a morning of fun with our children. Going on a weekday morning to CMOM was wonderful compared to my recent experience of fighting off the the masses during a weekend. John F., brand new group member, and active father of two, shares with us this guest blog entry, Chloe’s Fun Day at CMOM!
It was a cold and dreary day on our trip to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The temperature outside was in the mid 30’s, and drizzling: the kind of weather where you just want to stay home. However, I really wanted to go to this meet-up event. It was the first time I was attending a meet-up for the NYC Dads Group, and although I was nervous to meet the other dads (over 20 members had RSVP-d for this event), I knew that it would be great for my 19-month old daughter, Chloe to play with other toddlers her age.
Once we got there it was well worth facing the inclement weather and the trip uptown. The dads and their kids were already having so much fun when we arrived. My nervousness and fears were instantly unfounded since everyone was so down to earth and inviting. We were all given meet-up nametags to put on so the dads were easy to spot. Fortunately, the place was pretty vacant and the place was full of mainly dads!
We started on the 1st floor where they had the wizard of oz exhibit. It was fantastic! Once you walk in you really felt like you were in Oz. They had almost everything from the movie in there. From the apple throwing trees to the wizard himself. The interactive exhibits are really top notch! They even had a replica of the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore for the movie. I helped fellow a dad build a foam rainbow arch on the yellow brick road (and when I say “help” I mean I handed him the foam pieces while he did the hard work of constructing it) of which was knocked over by the kids in 2.3 seconds flat! Our work to build the arch wasn’t in vain though, as the kids’ faces beamed and squeals of delight were heard as they watched it crumble to the ground.
While Chloe was playing on the slide of the wicked witch of the west’s castle, a reporter for a foreign television news crew (TVBS – the CNN of China) approached me to ask me a couple of questions for a segment they were doing on stay at home dads. At first I was a little apprehensive about the interview because I wasn’t sure what their motives were (were they doing piece to ridicule stay at home dads?) However, as the questions flowed I realized that they were doing a positive story on us.
Chloe was still a little shy at this point but by the time we reached the second floor (of which had a Dora and Diego theme) she was in her element! She was exploring the faux cave with Sage (fellow NYC dad Gil’s daughter) and she was enjoying the jungle surroundings. She especially liked Diego’s Animal Rescue Center, which was filled with all kinds of stuffed animals. They even had a backlit box where you can look at real x-rays of frogs. It was a great way to teach children about animal science facts.
Towards the back of the Dora and Diego exhibit, you enter Dora’s house where there were musical instruments. I found that Chloe really loved the bongo drums. With a push of a button, and the help of the children on the instruments, a fiesta had begun!
At this point, we headed up to the 3rd floor which in my (and Chloe’s if she could speak clearly) opinion the best floor of the museum. Once you walk into the room a big plastic dragon is looking at you. Kids were riding and climbing all over him. His name is Alphie as in alphabet because he “eats” letters that you put in his mouth and he says out loud the letter you feed him: a great way to teach kids and have fun at the same time.
To the left of the dragon was where Chloe had the most fun. This is where they had the ball sorting wall. There were soft multi colored balls in a pit, where the kids could put them in holes in a clear wall and watch them drop. Just like a mini version of the plinko wall from the Price is Right! I couldn’t help but drop a few myself! Around the bend from the mini plinko wall was a grocery store exhibit stocked with all sorts of plastic fruits and veggies, where Chloe had a blast pretending. It was definitively a multi-sensory experience.
By this time we were in the museum for almost 2 hours but it felt much shorter cause we were having so much fun. There was so much more to see and do but Chloe was exhausted and so was I!
We both had a great time! I really enjoyed meeting the diverse group of other dads. Chloe had fun interacting with the other children and playing with all the exhibits. The meet-up was a great experience for us as father and daughter to have…and for that I am grateful to the gang at the NYC Dads Group!