I’ve been hearing museum people discuss this (phantom?) phenomenon every time the price of gas has risen for the last 25 years, but I wonder if this year it might be bearing fruit. I’m going to have to start asking people what their spring break experience has been this year – starting with the manager of the hotel I’m staying at today in
Yesterday, at on a perfect spring Thursday afternoon, we arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo and found the parking lot full of idling cars waiting for departing families to create one open parking space. The zoo was uncomfortably crowded until after .
Today at , on a blustery Friday, the serpentine outside the Newport Aquarium was hundreds of people long. (We opted to spend a day swimming, window-shopping, and playing arcade games, and try to beat the crowd tomorrow by being there when the gates open.)
Last weekend, I had promised my son a trip to our Children’s Museum in
I also couldn’t help but notice that this crowd skewed heavily toward the twenty-somethings. We only encountered a couple of other children; and probably 20% of the audience was my age or older. But there were hundreds of young adults, mostly couples. I had to wonder whether IMA’s emphasis on “Web 2.0” social media programming as well as marketing is paying off.
The downside of spending Saturday at IMA was that I still had to fulfill my promise to go to Children’s – and the only option was a miserable, sleeting Sunday, the kind of day in which no one opts for the park or the zoo. So I wasn’t surprised to find TCM packed to the rafters with multi-generational families, a third of which were pushing multi-child strollers. It was the kind of day that made my son say – as his sisters did at about the same age – “Okay, I’m ready to go home,” and begin to make noises that, at age eight, he’s outgrown The Children’s Museum.
He hasn’t really outgrown that museum; the staff there does a good job of creating age-appropriate experiences for juveniles, tweens, and teens; it’s just hard to tell when there are five thousand toddlers in the building, and adults directing their families away from the The Power of Children exhibit with “Oh, that there’s just educational stuff. There’s nothing to see in there.” (That’s an exact quote, because it was “seared, seared into my memory.” It’s also Children’s unique challenge; but that’s another blog.)
The real point of this blog is that, within seven days in peak “spring break” season, I visited four Midwestern cultural institutions/tourist attractions and encountered crowds ranging from impressive to oppressive. (But with attractions looking for earned income to replace dwindling endowment income and flat-at-best contributions, I doubt any of them were complaining!)
We probably don’t know yet how many families in the Indianapolis/Cincinnati region stayed at home this spring instead of traveling to
Will a similar dynamic define this summer? And if so, how can