Last Friday we went to see Thomas the Tank Engine. It was a weekend exhibit at Het Spoorwegmuseum (Railway Museum) in Utrecht, Netherlands.
It was crowded. Beyond belief.
I know. I know. Kids love Thomas.
We thought we were doing things right. We went there on a work day instead of a weekend. We went in the afternoon to avoid the morning rush. But, I knew as soon as we parked that no amount of “avoiding the crowds” was going to avoid the crowds.
The website says in plain English that it gets busy (on a regular day, not even a THOMAS day). Parking fills up. It’s best to take the bus from the train station
We ignored their advice. There was street parking within a 10 minute walk, and with a 10 EUR price tag for 4 hours. The worst part was walking to the museum and seeing bus after bus driving by. Each one filled to capacity. Filled with families with strollers. Knowing those families and their strollers were going exactly where we were going.
So, in honor of my very crazy, hectic, trained-filled Friday at a really cool, crowded, toddler-friendly train museum, I share with you five tips for handling crowded tourist spots at lunch time.
Tips for Handling Toddler Tantrums at Lunchtime while at Museums.
- Lunch in Europe means 12:00. To avoid the rush, avoid that time. Now, I realize that this could be true everywhere. However, before kids I ate when I was hungry and that was rarely noon. My kids, though, they like their schedules. Since I’ve only had kids in Europe, this noon lunch-rush is something I associate with Europe.
- If a website tells you they are going to be busy on a normal day, and you are visiting on a day when a childhood idol is going to be in attendance, and you plan your arrival to avoid the morning rush, but not to avoid the lunch restaurant-rush… then eat before you go. There is absolutely nothing worst than standing in a long restaurant line with Thomas || this far away with a toddler that has forgotten he’s hungry. Unless, of course, you love starving with screaming toddlers in enclosed locations, and people staring at you and shaking their heads.
- If you spot a restaurant with an especially long line, ignore the map the attendant gave you that said there’s only one restaurant. Go ahead and just ask someone to be sure. Because some places actually do have the foresight to have more places to eat located throughout the museum grounds for this special occasion. Since they know it will be busy and all.
- If your toddler runs out the restaurant door to take matters into his own hands, leaving with you no option but to leave your baby girl in her stroller to chase after him, really emphasize in your facial expressions that you made eye-contact with your husband standing only a few feet away and he’s watching the stroller. That way, people won’t look at you like you are the worst mother for either having an uncontrollable toddler or leaving the baby behind unattended or both.
- Later, when you’re walk through the museum with your child satisfied with the trains he saw and no-one starving, take note. There are other families with screaming, crying children. It’s not just you. Smile and enjoy your day.
Have you had any really difficult days when taking your kids out to see something they love? Please share in the comments so I know it’s not just me.