When I hit 30, I stopped paying attention to age. After hitting the age of car rental freedom, there were no milestones to hit. I celebrated my birthdays to be sure, but just forgot the number. Then one day while hanging out at the hospital just after the birth of our kids my father-in-law mentioned very casually, my age at the time. Thirty-seven.
He continued to talk, but my ears shut down. The number 37 loomed large. There were physiological and economic implications to being a new dad at 37. We overhauled the budget to allow for two part-time parents with full-time responsibilities to stay at home with our kids. This June dumped a new milestone – a 40th birthday.
I remember my dad’s 40th. I thought he was so old then. We’re a new breed of 40, right? His generation is now a new breed of 60 and 70-year-olds.
I’ve never been one to over celebrate surviving another year, I wanted to keep this one especially low key. I eschewed offers of a day in a trendy beer garden in Philly for an afternoon of my favorite underrated museums with my boys.
The Academy of Natural Sciences – Philadelphia, PA
The great thing about The Academy of Natural Sciences is like natural sciences itself, the museum takes a long time to change. It was founded more than 200 years ago and it’s still not overcrowded. It’s been 25-30 years since I was there and unlike some of the more popular museums on the parkway it’s not overcrowded on the weekends.
Some of the highlights for my wife and I and the kids include a butterfly room, it’s dinosaur exhibit and the brilliant dioramas that have been on display for nearly a hundred years. These detailed spaces, portray taxidermy animals as they existed in nature. They are both fascinating and haunting. It harkens to an odd time where many of the foremost scholars in wildlife where part scientist and part hunter. Where else could it be possible to see taxidermy panda bears. Thankfully someone figured out this is not a good long-term conservation strategy.
They have volunteers roaming the halls displaying all sorts of live animals from giant beetles to hedgehogs with as much info about them as your kids can handle. We spent much of the time in their
I’ve been to similar museums in DC, London and New York and the one on Philly is by far the smallest, but only in scale and not as much in content. It’s not a massive undertaking and you can hit this and another museum in a single day. The cafe is has a decent roster of healthy meals and snacks, including salads, yogurt as well as normal fare such as pizza and burgers.
Just across the street from the hotel is Logan Circle. No European style parkway would be complete without such a magnificent space. In Philly, on a hot day it’s just about the neatest back drop you can have for an impromptu pool party.
At this point, we were tired, hungry and ready to go back to grandmom’s for key lime pie and juice or beer. We had wanted to check out Sister Cities Park just across the street but ran out of time and energy.
This video captured all the emotion of feeling 20 on my 40th.