One of the resolutions we made for the year 2011 was to try to make Sunday afternoons family time. It is January and both property and quarterly income tax time, plus there isn’t much snow and the wind chill is below 0F! What is a frugal (aka just about broke) family to do? Answer: Look around for a free indoor activity that will interest everyone.
If you have a university near you, be sure to check their website for free activities they might have to offer your family. The University of Wisconsin Madison is within easy driving distance of our little farm in town and has a lot to offer. In the summer, there is the Allen Centennial garden, Picnic Point, Indian mounds, Lake Mendota, and there are a couple of museums that are open all year.
The museum we visited this Sunday was the Chazen Museum of Art (http://chazen.wisc.edu/home.htm ). It cost us a little under $2.00 to park in a nearby ramp, and it was a short walk to the museum. Admittance was free, and it was open until 6:00 p.m. which made it an easy place to visit on a Sunday afternoon. The featured exhibit was illuminated manuscripts. If we had wanted, we could have stopped here, but we decided to move on into the main galleries.
A note of caution: If you are concerned about your children seeing the undraped human form, you will have to be highly selective in most art museums. Our child is of an age and stage in development that we were comfortable taking her through most of the museum. There was one area of the collection that we decided wasn’t appropriate, and fortunately, it was easily bypassed.
On the way home, we talked about what our favorite art pieces were and why. My favorite painting was big and brilliant and told a dramatic story (http://chazen.wisc.edu/shop/Notecards/00000016_f.jpg ). I also enjoyed the abstract sculpture (http://chazen.wisc.edu/popups/pop.asp?ID=2001-46) . We all thought the illuminated manuscripts would have made the trip worthwhile even if we hadn’t viewed any other part of the museum!
I was more than satisfied with our first family outing of the year. I can hardly wait until next week! Begonia