It’s fun to play cowboys in the backyard when you’re a kid. But imagine your child’s excitement over:
- seeing a life-size replica of a stagecoach up close.
- seeing where and how the money was locked up to deter stagecoach robbers.
- touching a saddle like those the cowboys rode upon.
- building a “campfire.”
- seeing a windmill in action (indoors!).
- hearing fascinating tales about life in the Old West.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum, located on the San Antonio Riverwalk (in the old Hertzberg Circus Museum building), houses a collection spanning five centuries of Western history and art. But what I learned about this museum, when I visited it recently as their guest along with other local bloggers, is how accessible they’ve made it for kids.
First off, admission is absolutely affordable for families. Adult tickets are just $5 per person and kids 12 and are admitted for free. A family membership, available for $80, provides complimentary admission to the museum for two adults and two children (under 18) for a full year. That membership also includes invitations for two to all members-only events and public programs.
The museum’s Lil’ Partners Program invites children to hear, play, touch, see, and explore the Old West with Buckaroo Bags and their Story Time Stampede. Buckaroo Bags, which can be checked out and used while touring the museum, contain games, tips, and fun activities to get kids to engage with the exhibits. Themes found in the bags include: Campfire, Grub, Call of the Wild, and Trouble.
Story Time Stampede, offered at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month (that’s tomorrow – October 11!) explores the American West, kid-style, through stories, art, and hands-on activities.
My son, who’s usually only interested in the adventures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles these days, immediately wanted to know all about the siege at The Alamo as he looked at the miniature replica of that historic battle. And he became endlessly fascinated with the idea of chuck wagons traveling across America and the possible dangers bank stagecoach crews faced from would-be robbers, eager to snatch their cash.
Most kids learn best through play and the active engagement of their senses. At the Briscoe Western Art Museum, they’re transported to another place and time in history through fun activities, clever interactive exhibits and stories, and, most importantly, through the sense that their presence here is not just welcomed by encouraged.
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