The DoSeum: Reasons to get a Charter Membership now

The Do Seum: Reasons to get a Charter Membership now

My blogger friends and I recently took a hard-hat tour of the construction site for The DoSeum, 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 DoSeum is designed to address the shortcomings of the current museum. And, until August 31, 2014, The DoSeum is offering early bird savings on Charter Memberships.

San Antonio bloggers tour The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

San Antonio bloggers visited The DoSeum

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
Play Leaders help our kids build while we tour The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

Play Leaders helped our kids build while we toured The DoSeum site

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.
Stairs in the connector space at the The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

Bright, open spaces at The DoSeum

On our hard hat tour, we learned how The DoSeum 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 DoSeum 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.
Acoustic ceiling panels at The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

Ceiling panels will help control noise

  • 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.
Windows in a connector space at The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

Coming soon: a naturalistic outdoor play area

  • Food: The DoSeum will have a built-in café.

In addition to these improvement
s, The DoSeum will keep the best of the current museum. The trolley, the plane, and the skid loader will be part of The DoSeum’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 DoSeum and attend a members-only Inaugural Opening. Your membership will be extended for two months while both museums are closed.
  • Once The DoSeum 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.

Architect Sam Vonderau of Lake Flato and builder Cosmo Guido at The Do Seum | San Antonio Charter Moms

Sam Vonderau (Lake|Flato Architects) and Cosmo Guido (Guido Brothers Construction) with a sample gabion wall

In addition to becoming a Charter Member, another way to support The DoSeum 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 DoSeum’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.

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Inga Cotton

Parent activist and founder of San Antonio Charter Moms. Raising two children to be independent adults who do good in the world.