My daughter Hari, Stacie and I were Discovery World when the big storm passed through the Milwaukee area today. We were calmly evacuated to the basement level not once, but twice. Unfortunately, this meant Hari (age five-and-a-half) was torn away from getting a tour of the wonderful schooner S/V Dennis Sullivan. We had just gone out to the dock to try and take a tour of the ship when they suddenly stopped all tours of the Sullivan out of concern over the suddenly-intense winds and burgeoning storm system. While this resulted in a great disappoint for my daughter, as five-year-olds often feel such denials of things they really wanted and were looking forward to.
But the real fun came some fifteen minutes later, when I heard someone yell “MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE.” The Discovery World staff was keeping a close eye on the weather reports, and opted on the side of caution, knowing that tornadic storm cells moving east towards the museum. They skillfully got everyone to head down to the parking garage on the lower level to wait the storm out.
We were eventually allowed to head back upstairs, only to be sent back downstairs a relatively short time later. Here I will say that Discovery World’s management exercised good judgement by sending a different staff person into the crowd, offering free drink tickets to patrons who would be staying at the museum. They didn’t need to, and it certainly was not their fault that we were being moved to the sheltered area. But in my eyes, the fact that they did give us the free drinks was a very good face-saving move.
(Waiting out the storm with us was fellow blogger Ken Mobile, author of Mobile’s Take. It’s good to see people in a slightly different context, which for me means seeing Ken at something other than Drinking Liberally. Ken’s a great guy, and I fully relate to his feeling uninspird to write blog posts. When you don’t have anything to write about, it can be hard to find even a creative way to type that up. Good luck, Ken, and may you soon find your voice again.)
Despite the meteorlogical interference with our plans, we had a good time at Discovery World. We certainly had more excitement than we had bargained for, with the dual tornado drill evacuations. That said, Discovery World’s staff and management deserve praise for handling the potentially frightening situation very well.