Saturday, August 20, 2011

In which we go on a field trip and I continue to tilt at windmills

We went spent the day with friends yesterday.  We took walks.

(L. on left and G. on right)

Played in the pond.

K.

D.

P. with G.

And the stream.

L. on left, G. on right --they liked the stream much better

Had lunch and let M. rest.


Looked at flowers.

Picture by A.

Enjoyed trees...

TM

and being outdoors.


It was a lovely, if warm, day at the Morton Arboretum.  We were guests of our friends and had such a nice time that I looked into buying a family membership.  (I know my children would love to go back and spend a loooong time in the children's area.)  Well, here is where the tilting comes in.

You are familiar with my personal crusade for the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium to change their "family" membership policies to not dictate family size.  Well, sadly, I now have another institution to add to my list.  Here is a copy of the email I sent yesterday:

I just visited the arboretum today with my children, thanks to a friend whose membership allows her to bring guests. My family had a wonderful time and would like to be able to come back more often. I am very saddened to realize that we will not be able to do this. I am willing to purchase a family membership, but on looking at your website, I realize that it would not be worth it for us. You see, we have 9 children, and your family membership would only allow me to bring three of them with me (two, if my husband was able to join us). Since I am not willing to leave most of my family home from a family outing, and because I cannot afford to pay $25/$30 per visit on top of the membership fee, I am afraid that we will have to choose to not come at all.

I would suggest that you rename your so-called family membership, because that is not what it is. A family membership would allow parents to bring all of their children with them, and not be penalized because the number of children does not match some imagined, acceptable number. I cannot believe that letting in all my children will cause such wear and tear on your facility that we must have to pay more. And in our not bringing our family because of the exorbitant costs, you are losing out as well. First, you hinder your mission, which I imagine goes something along the lines of educating the public and helping to raise a new generation of children who care about the environment. If a child cannot visit your garden because they happen to be #9 in a family, then they are not exposed to what you have to share. Also, often when we take our children places, we will purchase snacks or other things for them. Our family size works to your advantage since we have to buy more than the average number of things. I would think you would want to take advantage of this. As it is, you lose out on any moneys we may have spent inside the gates, since we won't be there at all.

I am sorry that you have decided that only two-child families are acceptable. Our children bring a richness to our lives that far outweighs the irritations of being told we have too many.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Last year we had a family membership to the arboretum, and it allowed any two adults and any four children in. I noticed that they decreased the notion of family this year...so we did not renew (now we can't bring friends so it's not as fun).

ShelRye said...

We have the same issue with the Carnegie Museums here in Pittsburgh! They didn't much care that I wrote them a similar letter, so we just don't go. Our zoo however, still lets us decide how big our family should be.

comemorning said...

oh my goodness--i had no idea that is what they called a "family" membership! disturbing.

sandwichinwi said...

On our recent vacation we looked into visiting a mountain near Burlington, VT and discovered they limit you to a vehicle and 6 people when you drive up the mtn. Not sure which of our 5 children they expect us to leave at the bottom. I'm thinking it should be my rambunctious youngest and I will leave him at the gate with the rangers! Insane!

Jebmo and Gals said...

"Our children bring a richness to our lives that far outweighs the irritations of being told we have too many." That's right!

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