Today I took #1, #1’s friend, and #2 to the Franklin Institute. The day was very different from yesterday’s experience at the Crayola Experience. While unaccompanied fathers were still the minority—I saw just a handful—mothers were more frequently accompanied by grandparents, especially grandfathers, or fathers.
Perhaps because the Franklin Institute is a “science museum,” grandfathers, fathers, and mothers still subscribe to gender stereotypes that make science and places where science occurs a man’s domain. Perhaps grandfathers feel they need to accompany their daughters and grandchildren. Perhaps mothers think grandfathers and fathers would enjoy the Franklin but wouldn’t enjoy the Crayola Experience. Perhaps mothers are less comfortable going to the Franklin. Perhaps yesterday was an aberration—maybe most days unaccompanied mothers fill the place.
Whatever the case, the experience at the Franklin was considerably more pleasant: I was neither looked at as if I were a threat nor applauded for “being a great dad.” I was simply a parent spending the day with my kids. That, alone, was worth the price of admission.