“Mom, I don’t want to go to the Ugh-enheim” 14 year old G whined.
“We’ve already been to the Prado” 12-year-old G groused.
Ahhh, the familiar parenting crossroads do you reason and explain how important art is or do you force the culture by becoming a dictator? I chose the latter. We’d been traveling at a breakneck pace for over a week and I was tired of listening to complaining. Really, complaining about doing something fabulous leaves me seeing red. I did think the “ugh-enheim” term was well-played and was duly noted after an incredibly successful three-hour tour of the museum. Yes, THREE HOURS! Why? How? The Guggenheim has private tour guides and it is the best 95 euros you will ever spend. In order to get the guide, you must book and pay in advance on the Guggenheim website you must also order tickets separately. Be sure to put the ages of the kids who will be on the tour. Our guide was fun, interactive and engaging. She knew exactly where to take the kids and gave the adults time to ponder the art in relative silence although I certainly learned a great deal from her as well.
The structure of the museum is interactive and many of the exhibits such as Richard Serra’s “Matter of Time” encourage participation- a good thing with kids. Jeff Koons has his “Tulips” and the wonderful flower “Puppy” (an all grown up chia pet). Our lovely guide, Susanna, took us into the Andy Warhol “Shadows” and had the kids study and then stand by their favorite canvas. They actually studied 102 canvases and noted the differences color can make. There was then an interactive exhibit in which different colors were projected onto the kids and Susanna would ask them to free associate about the color- the kids were in heaven! There was so much to do and to explore that the kids only wanted to leave once they became hungry.
p.s. There is a lot to do AROUND the museum from watching and tipping the gypsy’s with bubbles (for a tip they’ll let the kids have their hand at trying the bubbles) to trying to run through a randomly squirting fountain without getting wet to a great playground- you could spend all day at the Guggenheim and it’s nearby surroundings.