Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blast Off!

Houston is the fourth largest city in America. Did you know that? I don't know what the actual population is, but I know it's a lot more than my previous hometown of 3,000 some. Houston. It is crowded.

For this I learned very early that if I wanted to go to ANYTHING, it had to be on a weekday as soon as the sun came up. I am not a morning person, but since I get up at dawn with the kids anyway, might as well take advantage of it.

A couple of weeks ago I thought it'd be a good idea to take the little kids to Space Center Houston. We went last summer with Jacob and Adam's been asking to go ever since, so I logged onto their website, discovered the earliest time I could set foot in that place, and we were off.

It's really not that far from us, so I should've turned around the minute I pulled into the parking lot and saw THREE school buses. But I thought to myself, Eh, three buses, can't be THAT bad, and in we went.

Oh, it was fun at first. My little Star Wars fans were delighted to see their favorite droids:

But we couldn't see the rest of the cool exhibit because it wasn't there. Wasn't due to open until the next day. Adam wanted so badly to see the rest of it and when one of the employees heard me telling him that we'd return in June to see it all, he came over to inform me that they were "having trouble" putting up the other stuff and "just to be safe" to come back in JULY if we wanted to see the ultra cool tribute to George Lucas complete with Star Wars! Indiana Jones! and Howard the Duck? Okay. Whatever. Never mind that they keep advertising on television that it opened LAST WEEK.

So in the Space Center there is this huge ball pit/play area/like McDonalds only bigger playground that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with space but appeals to my little ones because there are BALLS! and SLIDES! and that musty closed in plastic sweaty stink that is oh-so-enticing. So where do we head next? You guessed it. Because my kids are FOUR and TWO. What the hell do they know or care about space?

I'm thinking they may have had a lot of fun in it if they could've actually gone inside.

See, there were more than three school buses that day. There were HUNDREDS of school buses that day. The friendly guy who took our picture told me, aside from the exhibit not being unpacked, there would also be 3,000 school kids in that tiny place and, well, maybe we might want to rush through everything in the next hour and get the hell out before it was too late.

And by the time I turned around, it was too late.

Can you say, stampede?

OH. MY. GAWD. He was not exaggerating.

You could not MOVE in that place. It was packed wall to wall with children of all ages, adult "chaperones", and clueless teachers who had no idea where most of their students ended up.

If they could've gotten into the play pit, that's where they'd have found them.

Now, there's a height requirement to the playground. Basically, if you're tall enough to ride the roller coaster at the fair, you SHOULDN'T go in the tiny kiddie play zone. All the field trip kids apparently missed school on measurement lesson day. As did their parents. And teachers. And the two "guards" positioned out front.

It was rough, but I took my kids in. Just barely. We were lucky to make it out alive.

Can you see Elizabeth back there under that girl's feet? Oh, don't mind us. We're just playing here.

We stayed just that long because I was afraid Elizabeth would lose a kidney and Adam declared that to be the stinkiest place EVER and wondered loudly if those kids had ever had a bath because they smelled. Oh, man, did they smell!

So for sixty some bucks my kids got to play in the photo op and the tiny rip-off photo machine.....

And OUTSIDE with sticks. Just like they could've done at home for FREE.

And then we left. But not before filling out a complaint form and being belittled by the manager about how I was pretty much an idiot for EVER thinking FRIDAY would be a good day to frequent their shitty establishment. Because, DUH, that's when they schedule their field trips. And you know, on Monday too. That's not a good day. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. And forget about Saturday because, Oh boy, is it crowded on Saturday. I really should've went on Sunday. Yeah, Sunday. From 10-11 because that. Is the best time. And if I look closely on their website and use my mind-reading tactics, I would know that if they open at 9, it's going to be a crowded day, but if they open at 10 it should be hunky dorey, and oh, yes, I do see where it says we are open at 10 on the web, but it shouldn't say that. Because this is a crowded day.

And at the entrance I paid the extra five bucks to get season passes.

Anybody want em?

Space Center Houston. It's over-rated. And pretty crappy.


Aunt Becky said...

I think I may fly my fat ass into Houston to visit this awesome space center! Because, hello, it sounds The Awesomest!

Jana said...

You are much braver than I am, my friend. I won't step foot in that place without reinforcements (like the hubs or a grandparent). Yikes!

Lynsey said...

I can smell the stink just reading the post. Ick. I would've been beyond PISSED!

The kids looked cute though, of course. :)

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Oh no! I hate when things go like that. But just think! You can now go back as often as you want!! Yay....

ChupieandJ'smama said...

So sorry about the exhibit. I bet it would have been cool.... if they bothered to put it up.
And the school buses... my neighbor and I took our little ones to the zoo last week and we ran into the same thing. There is only one more week of school here, but I guess every school is trying to fit in one more field trip. It was so packed it almost wasn't worth it. We didn't see much, but we have passes too and will go back after school is out and the temperature is 100 degrees (good times).

Crazed Mom said...

Oh my goodness. LOL. When I chaperoned my kids and their classes to field trips my groups stayed together under my fierce glare. I wish all parents could be like that, for other children's sake.

In retrospect the best times I had with the boys were at home, just us. :)

Maggie said...

Oh my gosh, what a waste!!! I can't stand crowds. Walmart was like that on Sunday when I was trying to grab a few things last minute for a b-day party and let me tell you, I about had to cuss a few people out cuz HELLO?! I was just shopping here!!! LOL

Wow, and I can't believe the workers were rude to you. They really should rent out the place in sections of time to 1-2 schools at a time. I mean, really, who would enjoy 1000+ kids in a packed, sweaty, stinky joint. Surely, not me.

Glad you made it out alive... and wiser. haha

gingermagnolia said...

Oh man, we took the boys there a couple of summers ago. They were kind of interested, but yeah, it pretty much blew. When they used to have NASA open it was much cooler. I'm sorry you lost all that money in exchange for a crappy time. :( Take 'em to the Renaissance Fair in the fall, we always loved that as kids!

I Am Boymom said...

Dang! That's a lotta money for nothin'! Bummer for you and the kids, hopefully the Stars Wars thing in July will make up for the crappy visit this time. I did the Science Center here with my kid's class and the situation was similar...about 9000 kids running wild and free, except for my group, who thought I was a witch for making them stay together so we could get through the exhibits quickly. They only managed to tell me how cool I was when they realized we were the only group who had the time to make it to the gift shop to get those rock candy suckers.'re welcome.