Time You Learned Something

26 Jun 2010 by Dear Bad Dad, 1 Comment »

Dear Bad Dad,

We’re taking a vacation to a city with a kids’ science museum as well as a child-friendly outdoor nature museum.  Since we only have time to see one, which would you recommend?



Amherst, MA

Dear Max,

First, let’s define our terms.  You say you’re “taking a vacation” with your kids.  That, my friend, is a physical impossibility.  For while your addled Dad brain (the one that tells you “How hard could it be to raise kids?  Jon Gosselin does it.”) lets you believe you’re “taking a vacation”, that same brain’s forgotten that “vacation” is defined as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.”

Allow me to be a billion-times-infinity percent clear: If the kids are along for the ride, you ain’t getting any of that.  And if they’re staying in your hotel room, then you ain’t getting any … period.

Know what I’m sayin’?  Of course not.  You have kids, ergo, you haven’t done the horizontal Macarena in months, ergo, you can’t possibly understand innuendo since your synapses which handle innuendo are clogged with unreleased man milk.

It doesn’t matter if you pick the science museum OR the nature museum OR the super-duper-funtime Museum of the Rape of Nanking.  Because children’s museums are bullsh*t.

Allow me to repeat:





Yes, yes, parents are easily impressed by the little placard next to the bin filled with plastic replicas of dung beetles. They read the placard and discover it’s chock full of interesting scientific facts.  Interesting scientific fact #1: dung beetles eat sh*t.

“But Dear Bad Dad,” you say, “those plastic replicas can be instructional.”  Oh, Max.  Poor, delusional Max.  How sad that you feel compelled to rationalize the admission fee and museum cafeteria’s preposterously overpriced “healthy” lunch of free-range tofurkey strips with a side of organic hemp paste, washed down with the sustainably produced kiwi-broccoli juice box.  You may believe it’s a nice break from the evil triumvirate of pizza, mac n’ cheese and breaded-n-fried chicken fingers … but not for $73.

And Dear Bad Dad hasn’t even factored in the obligatory trip to the museum’s gift shop, conveniently located right by the exit.  You know the only way you’ll get your kids out of the place is with a gift shop bribe.  That bribe will inevitably involve “educational” toys from countries like Europe and Scandinavia.

Time for a Dear Bad Dad Dramatization!


Look honey!  It’s replica of the Oslo underground system!

(DBD note: “Replica” — there’s that word again)


It’s a friggin’ subway train set. And it’s about as reasonably priced as lunch was.


No, America has subways.  Fascinating foreign countries have undergrounds.


Yes, they also have gas for $9 per gallon.


Per liter. And it’s called “petrol.”


Whatever.  Our kids have enough toys from fascinating sweat shops in China.  Can we go now?

Which brings us back to the plastic dung beetles.

Face it: informative placard or not, they’re toys, no matter how the marketing parasites at the overpriced children’s gear store pimp their developmental and educational value — I’m looking at you, The Right Start.

So when you see the little placard next to the dung beetles, ask yourself: “Can my kids even read?  And do they even care that “The dung beetle is indigenous to all continents except Antarctica?”

Didn’t think so.

Dear Bad Dad hates to break it to you, but you just paid 19 bucks a head (after the Auto Club discount) for the pleasure of watching your spawn act just like they would if you let ’em run loose in the Disney aisles at Target.

So if you want to educate ’em, screw the Museum of Butter Churning and learn ’em the basics of capitalism down at the local big box store.

The chicken fingers there are delicious.

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