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June 08, 2010

An Open Letter to the National Aquarium

4428425696_711b4d0cdd Dear National Aquarium,

I am writing to show my thanks for allowing my family to come visit you in Baltimore this past holiday weekend. My son, who--despite all the wildlife in his jungle-themed nursery--has never shown an interest in anything animal, was enthralled and delighted by the many large fish he could watch swimming around the stories-tall fish tanks. And even though you were packed to the gills (pardon the pun) with Memorial Day tourists, your staff was polite and courteous, especially the dolphin show emcee that allowed us to stay a little longer in the theater to accommodate our son’s feeding schedule.

But, National Aquarium, I thought we were friends. I thought you realized that my husband and I don’t enjoy being bowled over by rambunctious pre-schoolers or being felt-up by them. And that is why we need to have a serious talk about your policy on not allowing strollers. 

I get the reasoning behind the policy, I really do. When I picked out my behemoth jogger with three monster wheels, suspension brakes and padded seat, I did not choose it because it was compact and cute. I picked it because it was practical for off-roading, especially on cobblestone sidewalks or when Washington, DC has a freak snowstorm.

So I completely understand why you wouldn’t want 100 families to crowd your halls and walkways with double & triple width strollers. Going to the aquarium is about the experience. And eager women nipping at your heels with rubber stroller wheels does not a fun experience make.

But sometimes, strollers are warranted.

For instance, I waited for the new jellyfish exhibit in front of a young mother and her three ginger-headed tots, one in a backpack and two walking. I knew that it was prime nap time for these two rapscallions when the younger boy, after being told that his only way out was through the incredibly long jellyfish line, smacked my husband on the butt while trying to get past, only to be reprimanded by his mother for touching another man’s hiney, sending this poor little guy into a complete tailspin of wailing and moaning.

The mother’s words: “I can’t wait to get our stroller back.”

Really, National Aquarium, the stroller is a mother’s secret weapon. It can turn any cranky child into a sleeping angel. It can convert the most anxious of babies into a calm and quiet infant. It is a magical tool of parenting—one of the reasons that we all own one!

So, perhaps we can reach a compromise. Perhaps, like offering carriers of various sizes, you could also offer hooks that we can attach our whiny children to that will carry them throughout the building. Well, ok, maybe that idea is silly, but I am still all about exploring alternatives to strollers that provide similar benefits.

And again, I really did enjoy the experience. Minus the kid feeling up my husband.

Your friend and repeat customer,
Travel Mommy

Photo Credit: Samantha Fein

An Original DC Metro Moms Post

Travel Mommy often writes about mommy's secret weapons at The Travel Mommy (on Twitter @TravelMommy).

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