Birthday Fail

We had a great weekend celebrating this guy:

Brian had a big birthday on Saturday: 32!! I always feel bad because his birthday is so close to Christmas that it doesn’t seem to ever get the celebration it deserves. It’s also REALLY HARD to think of birthday gifts after racking my brain over what to give him for Christmas 2 weeks prior. Luckily Bri is the most low-maintenance member of this household so he’s pretty happy with low key celebrations. This year all he wanted to do was take the kids to the new Perot Museum downtown.

So we had a really weird (as in BAD) experience with a member of the staff, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First off- you should know that you need to reserve tickets ahead of time!!! Luckily someone told us that so I reserved ours on Wednesday (it ended up costing $40 for the four of us, not including parking). They had big “Sold Out” signs all around the museum and we saw lots of people driving up and being turned away.

The children’s museum section is much smaller than in the old Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park, which is a bummer. They had some cool stuff in there, though: a mini construction site, blocks, produce stand, water table, camp ground, etc. There’s also a tiny baby/toddler corner for the wee ones.

Jack loved the play tent and “cooking” over the campfire. The construction site was a hit, too, but it was SWARMED with kids and pretty overwhelming. It started to thin out a little around 12:45 (naptime!) so that might be a good time to go.

After the children’s section we headed upstairs to the Discovering Life and Being Human exhibits. I loved the human body cross sections- super cool. Jack liked smelling all of the native flowers and trees (and the skunk, ew). We kind of buzzed through the engineering area. Though it looked like there were tons of fun interactive experiments, it was also crazy crowded and we were trying to keep tabs on a crazy 3 year old.

Of course we had to check out the dinosaurs. It’s hard to conceptualize the scale of these guys until you see a 35 foot dinosaur skeleton.

So all of that was awesome and interesting. Here’s my issue. This is long, so if you don’t want to hear me bitching, just stop reading now:

The whole experience took FOREVER because there were huge lines for the very slow elevators (apparently the escalator was out of commission). Isla started getting hungry and I needed to nurse her. I checked the women’s restroom to see if they had a lounge or at least a chair. Nope. Spotted a family restroom. Great! Just a sink and a toilet. No chair. I wasn’t crazy about feeding her on a bench in the middle of a giant crowd because she’s at the age where she yanks the nursing cover off any chance she gets, though that wasn’t really an issue anyway because every bench seemed to be occupied (including one completely taken over by a sleeping grown man… awesome). We even asked the concierge if there was a good place to feed a baby. They recommended the family restroom! Fail.

So I told Brian that I would just take Isla to the car to feed her and they could meet me there. We still had a couple of floors to explore, but it was getting close to Jack’s naptime anyway, so Brian said that he would ride the elevator down with me and take Jack to purchase a membership while I headed to the car. We waited forever for an elevator going down. After several minutes, the elevator opened. It was headed up, but the lone occupant (a museum employee) said that we could catch a ride up with him and then just ride it back down to the ground floor.

SO we ride up to the 5th floor. The door opens and we see many, MANY empty couches and benches right in front of the elevator. Awesome. It seems like the 5th floor is mainly offices, but it’s Saturday and the only people I see are two ladies behind a desk. So we follow the man off the elevator and I ask him if I can just sit down and feed Isla, who is obviously really hungry at this point. The guy freaks out. He very rudely tells us “NO, NO WAY!” and basically runs back to the elevator to push the button so that we will have to leave. The reaction was so ridiculous and extreme that I honestly thought he was joking at first. I explain to him that my baby is hungry and there is no where else to feed her, it would take 5 minutes, Jack is contained in the stroller playing with the iPhone (so no disruption there), etc. He again says NO and that I should feed her in the family restrooms on the first floor. I explain that there is no chair and I am not going to nurse my baby while sitting on a toilet. There are at least 10 benches and seats right in front of us that absolutely no one is using. He then proceeds to inform me that I probably shouldn’t nurse her in the museum at all because, “You should know, there are cameras everywhere.

WHAT??? I got the impression that he thought I was just going to whip my boob out in the middle of everyone without a cover. Hell no (though if that’s your style, no judgment here).  I even told him, “Um, I have a blanket.”

The guy was beyond rude. He didn’t even offer an explanation as to WHY we couldn’t sit there for 5 minutes. And then we just had to stand there and wait for another 10 damn minutes for the elevator anyway. I got his name and am going to write the museum, because seriously? Even the mall has nursing rooms, or at least a CHAIR in the women’s room, and I don’t have to pay $40 to use it.

Needless to say, we did not buy a membership. It’s sad because the museum is definitely a welcome addition to the city (and the exhibits were amazing), but that experience kind of soured us on the place. Like I said, I’m going to write to the museum and I’ll let you know what they say. They may not market themselves as a children’s museum, but I didn’t see many adults walking around by themselves. It just seems like they would make a little extra effort to make it easier for families to visit.

Okay, sorry for that rambling rant. Luckily the rest of Brian’s birthday went well! We had a fun date night at The Grape (delicious as always) and then relaxed on the couch with a movie. I’ll be back tomorrow with unicorns and rainbows and happy things, I promise!

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8 Responses to Birthday Fail

  1. Allison says:

    Hmmm…interesting. I was totally going to buy a membership this week. I think I’ll wait until I hear how they respond to you. Sorry they were so rude, nursing is hard enough as it is, and the fact that people make you feel bad for it or can’t accommodate it is jut plain awful.

  2. Kathy says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this Heather, but very glad you got the guy’s name and will be reporting your findings. Will be anxious to hear their response too … (I actually know a guy who works there, so I hope your guy’s name was not David! doesn’t seem at all like his kind of response, but who knows??)

    • heatherwlu says:

      Kathy- It wasn’t David! I emailed the museum last night so we’ll see what they have to say…

      • Kathy says:

        Whew! LOL … I really didn’t think that sounded like the David I know, but ya never know anymore! So glad to hear you got a good response … But sure hope they plan to get that escalator fixed and/or speed up their elevators! That can’t be good!

  3. Mary Anne says:

    That’s too bad! We went to the museum over Christmas, I also am eager to hear their response. I hope they attempt to make amends for the inept employee.

  4. Nicole R.. says:

    Wow, I am sad that that happened. Especially when it sounds like you were trying everything to do to feed Isla. I am also looking forward to hearing what the museum has to say, especially about not having a chair in the family room. Nursing in public is a difficult thing and I understand it can make people uncomfortable, but for him to not even explain why you couldn’t nurse on that floor is ridiculous.

  5. Erin says:

    I am so grossed out by this. In my opinion when you have pictures of children and their wonderment on all of your print material, you are absolutely marketing to families. Personally, as a mom who is not currently breast feeding nor is it on the horizon, I am so disappointed by the musem’s lack of planning and by a lack of sensitivity to a mama trying to her babe.

  6. Joanna says:

    Uh, I would’ve been BEYOND livid. I don’t understand how people can be so ridiculous about breastfeeding. I read your next post and am glad to hear that they normally offer a chair, but it’s still NOT okay how homeboy responded. Did you report him? In other news, we had a children’s museum open close by in MD at the end of Dec that we planned on going to this weekend…but then we found out that we’d have to get tickets in advance, and could only go for our assigned 2-hr window. It was also $40 for all of us to go (not including parking). Yeah, no. We’ll be going back when things calm down a bit.

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