Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation In Connecticut

Every summer (well, for the last 4 summers, at least), the kids and I make a trip to Connecticut to spend time with family. It's always been a bit strange because Kevin doesn't come with us and we are with his family for most of the trip, but it always seems to work and the kids always have a great time. And, as the kids continue to grow, we are doing more and more things with them.

One of our recent discoveries there is the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut in Niantic, CT (approximately a 5 minute drive from my in-laws' home). We sometimes sign Daniel up for a class that they are hosting and we always go and bring the kids to play. They have their favorite exhibits, including a real submarine for them to explore. They have water tables, sand, trains, magnetic blocks.....a kid's DREAM come true. We had a free pass to use by the Monday we were visiting, so we just decided to show up (in the middle of a HEAVY downpour in a summer beach town). It was SO crowded. I wouldn't be surprised if there were over 200 kids there, and at least that many parents or grandparents. It was so hard to keep track of our kids -- it was not only me and my kids, but my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and 2 nephews (12 and 3 years old). The 12 year old was chasing after Rachel as she couldn't stay with any activity and overall I just couldn't wait to get out of there. Then, when we got back to my mother-in-law's house, we looked through the brochures and we saw something that changed my views of this museum forever......a monthly AUTISM FAMILY NIGHT!!!!!!!!

My mother-in-law IMMEDIATELY called the museum to see if there was any available space that Friday night (the next scheduled event). They had space so we signed up Rachel and Simon. I was going to go with them and we decided that the 12 year old would come as well. Daniel heard about this and decided he wanted to go as well, so my father-in-law decided to come as well (so that we'd have one "adult" with each of my kids). Friday night came, and we headed out. After our experience on Monday, I was really worried about what was going to happen. How many kids would be there? Would there be adequate supervision? Would the kids all be having simultaneous meltdowns?

It was the most AMAZING museum experience I have ever had. All 3 of my children had a WONDERFUL time. They had at least one paraeducator for every child that was present. They were working to make sure that not only did the children have fun, but they had the opportunity to LEARN from the experience. Most of the kids there were quite young (I would guess 6 and under), with 1 exception. And I didn't see anyone having a bad experience. I spoke with the director and asked if this was an ongoing thing or if it would be ending soon. She told me that they have a grant through July 1, 2012 that allowed them to do this event monthly and they were going to apply for a second grant to have another monthly event to provide respite care for these individuals.

Now we know how best to attend the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut, at least for our family. I hope they continue to have these events -- it is a great experience and it allows these kids to experience a wonderfully designed children's museum without the insanity that would typically be present in such a place.

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Rachel was just EVERYWHERE!!!!! She had SO much fun!!!!!!

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Simon also had a lot of fun, but he REALLY loved the sand!!!!!!

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Daniel had a lot of fun too!!!!!

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But everyone loved to play with the spinning pennies!!!!!!

And, one more thing to share from this trip.....Rachel has become a true performer. I've posted at least one other link of her showing off her singing talents. Her love of the Laurie Berkner Band is never ending, and she is LOVING the band's new DVD, Party Day. One of the songs on this DVD is "Good Night". So, she would like to say Goodnight to all of my readers.

Goodnight from Rachel and from her Mom!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Cute!
    That's so cool that the museum has Autism night. We had a day at our Science Discovery center where they gave parents a couple of hours free and had one on ones with kids with disabilities AND their siblings. I thought that was pretty cool. They also provided lunch and had someone speaking about resources in the area(which I can't seem to find much in our area- most of them were an hour and a half away).