Monday, April 19, 2010

Monetary Monday - Free Field Trips

You get what you pay for.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Whoever coined those never met me.  Today the family visted 3, yes 3, museums and each and everyone was free.  Parking cost $2 at the meter, but the museums were free.  And they were actually worth the visit! You think free museum = cheesy one room displays, but you'd be wrong. 

Wells Fargo has museums in some of their locations.  We went to the one in Phoenix, cause you know thats where we live.  It would have been silly for us to go to the one in Alaska.  Anyhow, it was very educational and fun.  They had lots of displays for kids, rides and hands on material for all ages.  My kids really liked the working antique phone.

They were actually talking to each other.  They couldn't believe it really worked.  It was only a few years ago that I still talked on a corded phone, twirling the long (extra extra long) cord between my toes.  The digital age has engolfed us I guess. 

They had CSI material from the mid to late 19th century.  We think we have it rough today trying to find evidence.  I got every question wrong when it came to the Forensics section.  I think they were trick questions.   They had an actual morse code machine, an art museum, a place for the kids to get their faces on some money (my 4 yr old wanted to spend his), and several ride on games so the kids could see what an actual stage coach was like. 

Speaking of which, they had a real stage coach in the lobby. 

They said there would typically be 18 people and all their luggage crammed in this thing.  How they did it I have no clue.  Then to travel in it, on bumpy dusty roads, hour after hour with complete strangers in the heat with no windows! How the west was won indeed!  These were some tough folks. I can't even drive down town without air conditioning. 

They had a replica of a stagecoach with some dolls and luggage for you to try to do the clowns in toy car bit.  This is what we came up with:

Now, we figure everyone is gonna get jostled around anyhow, might as well start out sitting on each others laps and laying on top one another right from the get go. 

From the Wells Fargo museum it was only a short walk to the Phoenix Police Museum.  Home of the Miranda Rights.  They kids had way too much fun there.  We had to make them leave so we could walk back to our van and pay the meter before we ended up getting a personal visit from the Phoenix PD. 

When we first walked in the kids got to wear a police uniform and try out an actual police cruiser and motorcycle. 

Of course the museum also had the typical glass enclosed display cabinets with memorbilia and artifacts like badges and bullet proof vests.  There was replicas of jails and meter maids, but the thing that interested the kids most was the Memorial.  The memorial lists all the fallen officers and how they died, including the Police dogs.  It sounds morbid but the kids were full of respect and honest heartfelt sadness for the officers and their families.  

After the Police museum we had to head back to the van to drive down a few blocks to the Capitol Museum. I had NO idea it was going to be as big as it was.  4 stories.  4! And me scared of elevators.  Not all elevators, only tiny enclosed ones in buildings that are 100 years old.  I really didn't need to do my treadmill today, lets just say that. 

There was the Graditude Train exhibit that the kids really liked.  I had never heard of it before (you know these trips are as much education for me as it is for my kids).  It was gifts, mostly hand made items or toys from the French to the Americans in appreciation.  In the train was hand made wedding dresses, one for each state.  In the hopes they would be worn by an American bride in each state.  Arizonas was never worn.  The kids really liked the rooms on how a bill comes to pass.  There was artifacts from the Hoover Dam, did you know pipes used to be made from wood?!  No wonder we had such a problem with disease!  When people say sanitation has improved I would say: Heck yea! 

I encourage you to check around where you live for free museums and exhibits.  There was several we didn't get to that we will have to find time for later on.  The money we saved today we went out for dinner.  It had nothing to do with being exhausted after climbing and descending 4 flights of stairs.  Really. 

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