My blogger friends and I recently took a hard-hat tour of the construction site for The Do Seum, the new-and-improved San Antonio Children’s Museum, set to open in mid-2015. If you’ve been holding back from joining the San Antonio Children’s Museum, now is the time to take another look. The Do Seum is designed to address the shortcomings of the current museum. And, until August 31, 2014, The Do Seum is offering early bird savings on Charter Memberships.
Have you driven by the construction site, on Broadway just south of Mulberry? It seems like it changes every day. It’s been in the works for a while: In 2011, a major gift (earlier post) allowed the museum to buy land at a prime location across from Brackenridge Park. In 2012, a little sign popped up: “Future Home of the San Antonio Children’s Museum”—photos in this earlier post.
When we first joined the San Antonio Children’s Museum several years ago, my daughter, G.N., was just a toddler, and I carried her in a frame backpack so I could try to keep up with my son, F.T., when he took off running—as preschoolers tend to do. The staff got to know me as “the lady who runs with her baby in a backpack.” As my kids have grown, they keep discovering new exhibits and events to enjoy, and we keep renewing our membership. Some of our favorite things about the current museum:
- Exhibits that are fun and educational, including Powerball Hall, the airplane, the trolley, and the skid loader
- Rooms for parties and classes like Pint Sized Science (earlier post)
- Gift shop with one of the best selections of innovative toys in San Antonio
Some of my friends have hesitated about whether to buy memberships, and I can understand why. The current museum facility has some issues.
- Parking: There’s no free parking. The museum will partially validate your parking at the Houston Street garage. For a typical visit, we usually pay $3 or $4.
- Traffic: I’m a big fan of downtown San Antonio, and I don’t mind one-way streets or stopping for buses and carriages, but I admit that there is a learning curve to driving downtown. I have not yet mastered the art of getting downtown on VIA or B-cycle.
- Noise: During special events and busy times (e.g., H-E-B Free Family Night on 3rd Tuesdays), the noise inside the museum can get overwhelming, especially for special needs kids and introverted adults. We avoid the crowds by going on weekdays or early Saturday mornings.
- Light/Dark: The retrofitted building on Houston Street lacks windows, and there is no outdoor play space or green space.
- Food: In the basement, there is a place to eat with a few tables and chairs, and vending machines stocked with healthy snacks. We often pack a lunchbox.
On our hard hat tour, we learned how The Do Seum will address these concerns.
- Parking: A surface lot on the north side of the museum will have 250 free parking spots. There will also be space for buses to drop off students for field trips.
- Traffic: The Do Seum has an ideal location across the street from Brackenridge Park and Lion’s Field, and close to other cultural attractions: the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, the historic Pearl Brewery complex, and more. It’s near the intersection of Broadway and Mulberry, and the Mulberry/St. Mary’s exit of Highway 281.
- Noise: Sound-absorbing materials, including ceiling panels and wall coverings, are already being installed at the new facility.
- Light/Dark: The new building is a series of three big boxes containing the exhibit halls, party rooms, etc. The two transition spaces are full of light, with places to rest and look through the glass walls to the outdoor play spaces to the east and west.
- Food: The Do Seum will have a built-in café.
In addition to these improvements, The Do Seum will keep the best of the current museum. The trolley, the plane, and the skid loader will be part of The Do Seum’s “Little Town” exhibit. Powerball Hall will come back bigger and better, on the second floor, with a new engineering exhibit. The gift shop, in an earth-covered space with a skylight, will offer a larger and more topical selection.
Charter Memberships are available now. If you join or renew by August 31, 2014, you are eligible for an early bird discount. Here are the benefits:
- Free admission at the current museum until it closes on March 31, 2015.
- During April-May 2015, visit previews of new exhibits at The Do Seum and attend a members-only Inaugural Opening. Your membership will be extended for two months while both museums are closed.
- Once The Do Seum opens, members will get free admission, express entry, discounts at the gift store, discounts on party reservations, and access to special events for members.
Join or renew online, in person at the front desk of the current museum, or by calling Membership Coordinator Claudia Gomez at 210-212-4453 ext. 1319.
In addition to becoming a Charter Member, another way to support The Do Seum is to join the First 500. Sponsorship opportunities (including a name or inscription) are available for pavers, benches, stools, and trees. Read more at “The Do Seum’s First 500: Be a Part of San Antonio History”, Brooke Meabon, Alamo City Moms Blog, August 14, 2014.
Our family membership is up for renewal now, and we are looking forward to becoming Charter Members. My kids and I will be going downtown several more times before school starts.
If you would like a chance to explore the current museum without kids, then please join me for for our First Birthday Bash hosted by Alamo City Moms Blog (I’m a contributor) at the San Antonio Children’s Museum, 305 E. Houston St., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 17, 2014. Buy tickets in advance—the event is likely to sell out.
- “The Do Seum: San Antonio’s new children’s museum is perfect for our City on the Rise”, Colleen Pence, San Antonio Mom Blogs, July 23, 2014
- “A Sneak Peek at The Do Seum, San Antonio’s New Children’s Museum”, Brooke Meabon, Alamo City Moms Blog, June 4, 2014
- “The Do Seum, San Antonio’s Kids Museum, Taking Shape”, Robert Rivard, Rivard Report, July 3, 2014
- “Do Seum taking shape”, Stefanie Arias, San Antonio Express-News, July 2, 2014
- Exhibit prototypes at Argyle Design