The Cheapest Indoor Gig So Far

So living out in the DC 'burbs, one might think it would lend itself to lots of wonderful indoor things to do. Not so much. Most of the museums are 30-45 minutes away and getting there with parking is tricky. We are fortunate to have a branch of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum only 15 minutes from our house.

The only drawback: my kids aren't entertained there for more than an hour. And while the museum is free, parking is $12. It's not a lot of money, but it seems like it when they are more interested in riding elevators and running on the ramps. Oh, and don't forget obsessing over the squished penny machine.

However, I found out that parking is free after 4 p.m. since the museum closes at 5:30. So we gave it try on Wednesday. First tip: don't get there until after 4. I showed up at the gate right at 4 p.m. on the nose and this is what the lady said to me...

Stupid Lady: "Yes, can I help you?"
Me: "Yes, we'd like to go to the museum."
Stupid Lady: "You'd like to visit the museum?"
Me: "Yes, that's why I'm here."
Stupid Lady: "That will be $12."
Me: "No, it's free after 4."
Stupid Lady: "It's not 4 yet."
Me: "My clock says 4."
Stupid Lady: "Well, it's not 4. If you want to reverse your car and turn around you can wait back there with the other cars waiting until 4."
Me: "&!@% ^%^&"

That aside, it was the only bad part of our visit. I wished I'd gotten her name so I could post it here. Stupid lady! Anyway, we walked in, and I let the kids lead. Since it was free, I figured we'd do whatever they wanted to do. They did squished pennies (which, ironically, I had no pennies for, but the woman in the gift shop generously gave us some to use.) I let the kids run and ride the elevators. The place was practically empty and they were better behaved than the last time. Did they look at the exhibits? Not really, only the space/rocket part and a few planes. Alex was enthused about the flight simulators and the man there let him just sit in it instead of paying the $7 for the ride. My kids both thought just sitting in it was cool enough.

Bonus for us: The McDonald's in there was getting rid of chicken nuggets for the day so we got a discount on nuggets for a snack.

So once the kids heard the announcement that the museum would be closing in 15 minutes, they were ready to leave. (It closes at 5:30 so the 4 p.m. free entrance gives you an hour and a half of free indoor fun!)


Anonymous said...

What a GREAT TIP!!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this useful tidbit of information. I have a good friend scheduled to visit in April who LOVES this museum, but since I'll be toting my toddler too, this will be much more economica to arrive AFTER 4pm. I'm also so glad to hear I'm not the only person on this earth who thinks there are STUPID PEOPLE working behind museum gates, ticket counters, toll booths, etc. I'm glad you warned me about the "stupid lady." Love your blog and always enjoy your humorous writing.

bmk said...

that is GREAT info. Thanks. We'll be there SOON!

Stimey said...

This is excellent information. I'm going to take my little space freaks there at 4:01 some day soon.

Robin said...

Ummm - I see a late afternoon gathering starting.... My Son loves this place too, and we love that it's only 10 minutes away.