The National Gallery - For Moms

by Sasha

The National Gallery isn't the first place most people think of when it comes to activities for kids. But kids can appreciate art too. I'm thinking about the younger set. The much younger set. I don't know how much a baby gets out of the National Gallery, but I can tell you that it can be a nice place for mom.

Last week I visited the gallery with a couple of other moms, and our kids (aged 6 weeks, 6 months, and newly-walking 9 months). I'm not an art afficionado, but it was a nice place to walk around and just take in the ambiance. Basically a mall, with culture-cred.

I am actually sitting in the middle of the gallery right now, in an indoor garden space reminiscent of a medieval cloister. Not bad for midwinter in Ottawa.

Whenever baby gets fidgety from sitting for too long, we move on. In fact, I've moved twice so far in this paragraph :).

In practical terms, the gallery is a good place for a new mom. It not only provides a break from "four walls and a baby", there are change tables in the washroom, it is nice and quiet and has comfortable chairs to nurse (I recommend the arm chairs in the entrance to the Canadian Gallery). It also has underground parking, a real perk during an Ottawa winter.

And if, like me, you know nothing about art, I'd encourage you to take in one of the Docent's Choice talks, a ten-minute talk about a single piece of art.  My primary goals in today's trip were to get out of the house and to get this post written, but much to my surprise I wound up falling in love with a painting - so much so that I bought a gallery membership (I sure wish I'd known that before paying admission).

The other big concern for a mom with a new baby is the potential disruption if baby gets fussed.  Thankfully, I didn't have that issue today - when baby got fussy all I needed to do was keep moving.  The docent's talk was a particular worry for me.  But not only was baby well behaved, I got the distinct impression that, had it been any different, I would have gotten nothing but sympathy.

Have you been to the National Gallery with your kids? Where do you like to go to get out of the house with baby?

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