Today we finished off the summer field-trip trifecta with a trip to the New York Aquarium.  Knowing that my son looses his freaking mind late in the afternoon, we rushed out of the house at about 10:30am to get an early start.  We arrived at the aquarium just in time to see the sea lion show, which was kind of cute.  My boy didn’t drop a single four letter word and actually had fun.  He’s quite the grouch most of the time we are trying to enjoy an outing, so today was a welcome change of pace.  After we got tired of looking at sea creatures and creepy obese walruses, we walked the boardwalk and marveled at the strange people of Coney Island.  Devin and I even rode the bumper cars together.  That was fun…. 

However, as usual, I noticed that there were more black families walking the boardwalk than there were in the aquarium.  Many more.  The same thing was the case at the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo (and both of those attractions are in the Bronx!).  I’m not sure if it’s an issue of economics, lack of interest, or both.  The reality is that it’s expensive to go to places where there is knowledge to gain.  It must have cost close to $300 in total to hang out at all three places for half a day.  That makes it very unaccessible to those that are already marginalized, or the working poor.  Yes, there are free days during the week, but that’s when people are working to pay the bills.

It bothers me when I don’t see more than a few black dads out and about teaching their kids about wildlife and exoctic plants.  I’m allergic to EVERYTHING at the Botanical Gardens, yet there I was trying to explain what a damn cactus is to a three year old.  I think it’s mostly economic, though.  It’s cheaper and easier to go to a movie matinee, which can occupy a kid for two hours, especially after a long week of work.  I get that.  It sucks and it’s sad.  Another quiet example of how poor people (which means black and Hispanic in NYC) get the short end of the stick.