$60 and One Excruciating Car Ride Home Later: Is It Worth It to Take Children on Day Trips?

We were gone for just half a day.

We traveled only 40 minutes from our house for our kids to have a little fun with us.

Yet our return trip was the longest 40 minutes in our lives.  We were trapped in our car with screaming banshees.

One was mad because we were on the way home too soon, and the other was fussy because we stayed too long. The combination of the two together was a lethal trip killer. 

My husband and I could barely talk over the noise of unhappiness and complaining coming from the back seat.

“I’m mad. You are bad parents. We didn’t get to see the entire museum,” wailed a very spoiled and self-centered Mr. Cool.

Baby Diva wasn’t talking.  Fussy babble was all that came out of her mouth.

My usually quiet and frugal husband managed to get a word in despite the chaos, and jabbed the planner of this family outing with these stinging words: “We just spent $60 in less than four hours, and this is what we have to listen to on the way home.  Is this really worth it?”

It is astonishing to think that one car ride home can totally erase the lovely four hours you just spent with your children and even make you question if you should have gone in the first place.

But when you are a parent, emotions can run high. 

The finale isn’t always fun. 

But, let’s rewind and start at the beginning.

Our morning at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science was full of pleasure. 

We saw dinosaurs.
NC Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC 

We sifted for fossils.

We rode a train.

We learned about butterflies.

We had a delightful family lunch over yummy food.

We played instruments.

We spent fabulous quality time with our children before our oldest became a slave to a new public school schedule. 

The time was special.

Our memories are now priceless.

The car ride home is now a distant memory.  

Believe it or not, we are now ready for an encore trip.  There was a lot we didn’t get to see.

Want to go:  The Museum of  Life and Sciences is located at 433 West Murray Avenue in Durham, N.C.  It is one of North Carolina’s top attractions.  Situated on 84 acres, the interactive science park includes a science center, a butterfly conservatory, and landscaped outdoor exhibits, which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves.

The Museum's Dinosaur Trail takes visitors on a journey through the Late Cretaceous period. Other attractions include a Farmyard, Ellerbe Creek Railway, Contraptions  a hands-on exhibit for older children and adults, a sailboat pond, The Lab in Investigate Health!, Play to Learn – an exhibit for children under six, more than 60 species of live animals and so much more.  Admission is $14 for adults and $10 for children 3 to 12.  Train rides are $3 per person.

There is a restaurant on site called Grayson’s Café. The food selection is wonderful, and it is the only food allowed inside the park.  Families are welcome to bring their own lunch and picnic in the area outside the museum.   The museum is closed on Mondays through December 13.

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