The New Secret to Enjoying Art & Culture with Your Kiddo

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Babies and toddlers don’t really care what they do for the first few years of life as long as they’re with you, and we know that non-stop agenda of poopy diapers, too-short naps and nursery rhymes can really have you itching to get out of the house. What to do? Strap your kid into the stroller and introduce him (and yourself) to a little early art education and enjoy some adult interaction with a Bottle Rocket Stroller Tour. Who knows, after a few tours of galleries and museums, your little squishy newborn or babbling toddler might be inspired to paint the next Blue Poles at preschool.

What is Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours?
Owned and operated by two Brooklyn mamas, Sammy Smith and Jackie Delamatre (who met in a mother’s group and miraculously discovered both their babies were named Edie and born on the same day by the way), Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours gives parents, caregivers and tiny, discerning New Yorkers a glimpse at the world of art and culture. You’ll know that you’ll get the best out of your trek because Jackie was (and still is) a museum educator at the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art and both moms share the desire to give stay-at-home moms and caregivers the chance to connect, learn and grow. Plus, since the company is still new, none other than Sammy and Jackie will be on every tour.

Where you’ll roll
Since starting up in 2012, Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours has led tours at places like Chelsea galleries, the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

2013 brings two new series of tours, called Passport to Modern Art and Passport to NYC. If you chose the Passport to Modern Art series, you’ll learn about the origin and future of modern art while visiting galleries such as the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, PS1 and Chelsea galleries. The Passport to NYC series begins in spring and takes you on a walking tour of famous New York City icons and neighborhoods like the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They’ve also just partnered with Urban Oyster for a neighborhood eats tour of Brooklyn complete with stops at Italian and Middle Eastern shops and chances to nosh on New American cuisine. Can you say, “Yum”? We bet your kid will!

What to expect on the day
Each tour is about 75 minutes long – just enough time to snap some great pics of your kiddos getting their culture on and ingest some great nuggets of information that you can tweet or Facebook about later. For example, did you know that after both the original Brooklyn Bridge designer John Roebling and his son were injured during construction, his son’s wife took over much of the operations? Each tour is limited to 12 adults, so you’ll be up close with your guide, who uses props to entertain the babies and an iPad to educate the adults.

During the tour, Jackie and Sammy will engage with your kids as well as helping the adults interact and learn. Information is given in small, easily digestible pieces, so if your little one has a total meltdown you can leave the group, bring your baby back to a hopefully docile temperament, and then continue on the tour without feeling like you have to struggle to catch up on what’s been said in your absence. Worried your kid will completely lose the plot in a very public place? Don’t be – the tour operators and guides are all used to screaming, crying babies, so you’ll be in the best company possible for any potential kid dramas.

What to bring
If your kid is eating solids, then pack snacks, snacks, and more snacks. You might even want to pack snacks for you too, and for the baby in the stroller next to you who will be trying to steal your kid’s Cheerios.

What not to bring
Older kids. For the time being, the tours are most suited to kids approximately two years and younger. Co-founder Jackie says they’re flexible with ages however, so shoot them an email to ask about your situation if you’d like to try a tour and you’re not sure if your kids are the right ages.

What if you can’t make it at the last minute?
Contact Sammy and Jackie to let them know – being parents themselves, they understand about scheduling problems due to nap times and sickness. If your tour is cancelled due to the weather, you’ll be able to use your ticket to another tour on a different day.

Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours

Have you tried Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours (or any other similar adventure)? Let us know what you loved about it. 

— Christine Knight

Photos courtesy of Christine Knight