My daughter got her first dose of culture last week when my family took advantage of Super Museum Sunday to expand our horizons and learn a bit about regional history.
Every year, on one Sunday in February, the Georgia Historical Society coordinates this special occasion on which nearly every museum in Savannah and neighboring communities waive admission fees for the day, allowing patrons to enjoy sites they otherwise might not be able to afford to check out.
My husband, Noell, and I have long been fans of Super Museum Sunday. Before Reese joined our family in 2012, we’d start making plans for our afternoon of free museum hopping a few weeks before the big day, choosing which locations to visit and mapping out a route. We did, however, skip Super Museum Sunday in 2013 because, at 9 months old, we figured Reese wouldn’t exactly get a whole lot out of the experience.
We were excited to resume our annual tradition this year, and decided we’d visit the Savannah Children’s Museum, the Georgia State Railroad Museum — both of which are on the same site in downtown Savannah — and the University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.
Reese had an absolute blast at the children’s museum, and Noell and I were delighted to watch her explore, learn and play with other boys and girls her age. It was our first time visiting the children’s museum and, I must say, we’d like to return and would happily pay the regular admission fee.
Next, at the railroad museum, we took a quick train ride and explored some retired rail cars, including a caboose and some lavishly decorated office cars once used by the railroad president and vice president in the 1920s.
After a quick lunch break, we headed out to the aquarium, which turned out to be Reese’s favorite stop of the day. She tapped her little fingers on the glass exhibit windows and squealed with glee, calling, “Fishy! Fishy!”
At one interactive exhibit, Reese got to touch a couple different kinds of crabs. Each time, she crinkled her nose, turned to her dad and me, and exclaimed, “Ewww!” before repeating the whole process. We were only able to tear her away from that display by promising her a walk down the outdoor nature trail.
The weather was beautiful, and the half-mile trail provided astounding views of the intracoastal waterway, which was dotted with boats and docks. We made one loop and decided it was time to head home.
I can’t say enough good things about Super Museum Sunday, but our experiences at the three sites we visited made me realize how much children benefit from that kind of mental stimulation on a regular basis. On the coast, we have so many valuable resources and informative attractions that, sadly, are often taken for granted. And while Super Museum Sunday’s waived admission fees are a big incentive to get out and about, there’s no reason to limit such trips to once a year.
Barnidge is the managing editor of the Coastal Courier in Hinesville.