August 24, 2009, 5:00 am

Buy Buy Buy, You Parents! – Walking with Dinosaurs Show –

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal,Personal Finance
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over-consumingI officially just came back from my vacation and I must say that I had a blast! We did a lot of cheap activities during our vacation such as:

– Cycling on an island bordering the St-Lawrence River,

– Going to the Zoo (I used my Air Miles to get free tickets 😉 ),

– Going on a picnic and pretending to be pirates (there was a boat 😉 ),

– Enjoying a glass of wine on a rooftop terrace of the vacation property (while the kids were sleeping),

– Starting a campfire and eating roasted marshmallows,

– Walking on the beach and chasing the birds (can’t help myself… I’m still a kid!).

However, we did a few expensive activities as well:

– Going whale watching ($150 without meals… we brown bag ours).

– Going to the spa.

– Renting a vacation property was far from being free…

– Seeing the Walking with Dinosaurs Show (take a moment to see the preview below, it is amazing!)

I would like to talk a little bit more about the Dino Show. Walking with Dinosaurs is a 2 hour show with “live” dinosaurs. There is a narrator explaining the Dinosaurs’ evolution through different periods (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) until their extinction. Walking with Dinosaurs not only makes them look real but also shares a lot of interesting facts about each historical period. It was informative and entertaining at the same time. Even my wife, who is far from being a Dino Lover, was truly impressed by this show.

Unfortunately, there was another show going on in the amphitheatre while we were watching the dinosaurs’ evolution. The show was called over consuming parents, driven by their kids.

I don’t know if you have ever been to a family show or fair, often, there is a weird phenomenon happening at these events: over consuming at its peak! There were tons of concessions hawking dinosaur gadgets with multicolour lights and sounds… at $25 a piece. Chips, popcorn and cotton candy were also proffered at the shocking price of $7 each.

While I don’t really mind entrepreneurs trying to make a few bucks off me with ridiculous prices (I am free to buy or not after all), I have a problem with the fact that the kids playing with their Dino lights were not even taking a look at the “real” dinosaurs nor were they listening to the interesting narrative.

I didn’t buy anything for my son that evening. It wasn’t because we couldn’t afford it but because we felt it was more important that he enjoy the show. He soooo wanted to see it and had been talking about the show for the past 6 weeks. It would have been discouraging to see him play with some stupid toy, during the show, that would likely break before the end of it anyway.

I find it sad though that I had to justify to a 4 year old that I felt those toys were not that cool (especially when their lights were flashing in his face!). During family shows, many parents seem to forget the value of money and just want their children to smile. Saying “no” to a child seems to be forbidden in today’s society. Having your kid crying and screaming has got to be the last thing you want to happen during a show when 10,000 people will judge you as “a bad parent for making your kid cry”. Buying peace has always been deemed a better option by the masses I presume…

So please, parents, think twice before buying useless stuff for your children. They are already privileged enough to attend to a very nice show. Let them appreciate the moments without distractions and fluff. Money should be used to create magic family moments, not commercial ones 😉

image source: Newton Free Library

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Your article on this blog is fantastic.
Well done! I’m a big fan of your blog and be sure to keep up the great work.
I plan on returning and linking to your site.
Alan H.

Hey, I may have been at the same show. I agree that all the concessions at these shows are shockingly priced. I generally have a problem with facilities raising the prices of concessions and then banning food or drinks, usually for “health license reasons.” I don’t get the people who buy branded stuff they don’t need for many times the price they would be worth unbranded. Especially since most of it is junk — how long before the twirling light is broken?

All that distracting junk takes away from the show itself also. I know they’re after money but it seems a shame that they develop such a great show only to cheapen it by distracting the kids with toys during the show. My wife noticed the same thing at the zoo where they misguidedly try to involve the children with activities. It seems to backfire and the kids are so involved in activities that they still miss out on the exhibit. She mentions something I didn’t know about how museums are laid out to prevent these distractions because the museum’s goal is for visitors to be able to experience each piece of art.

Compare “Walking with Dinosaurs”, which is a spectacle that is mostly focused on making money and entertainment, compared to “Body Works” which is more an educational thing I would say with some entertainment value and money, and a museum where the goal is primarily to appreciate and educate.