Need to knows:
Stroller or sling? Recommended stroller
Baby friendly restrooms? NOPE – go before you Gogh (lol)
Parking validation? N/A – free parking lot
I love museums. They’re serene, have flattering lighting, and they give me a false sense of superiority since I’m choosing a high brow activity when I *could* be day drinking.
Beyond Van Gogh isn’t a museum, but it brings a similar experience to the Circuit of the Americas. If you aren’t familiar with the area, apparently it’s a motor racing track by design. It also served as a COVID vaccine hub in early 2021, and they have other assorted events there like job fairs and concerts (the Rolling Stones are performing there in Nov). Beyond Van Gogh, the immersive exhibit, lives there until Sept 4.
I took my 9 week old baby to Van Gogh on a Friday morning. You have to book tickets ahead of time, and they come to $42.99/ticket. Definitely not a place to take a non-bougie type. Tickets are for an hour only, which I think is to limit the number of people in the building for Covid safety. Masks are encouraged but not required, and they don’t allow food or drink inside (nor do they have a cafe). There’s also no restroom inside (more on that later) so plan accordingly.
The first two rooms of the exhibit are decidedly underwhelming. If you’ve been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, then you’re well familiar with Vincent’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) life story. He started by mostly painting peasants/farmers, moved to fruit/flowers, hopped around France, was close with his brother, Theo, kept up with a massive community of other artists, went insane and chopped off his ear, painted A Starry Night from an insane asylum, fin.
My advice is to hot step it to room 3. Room 1 just regurgitates his life story, so if you’re familiar (and you can all say you are now – see last paragraph), it’s unnecessary and sort of feels like you’re waiting in line at a theme park. It’s told on a series of paintings and suspended frames, which I guess is meant to be clever but it doesn’t entirely work.
The second room is a transitional video that I’m not even sure is his work. There’s no other explanation or story to accompany it, but I did enjoy that it was somewhat glittery.
Here – I’ll include a video so you don’t feel you’re missing out on anything by hauling arse to room 3:
Ok so onto room 3 — the main exhibit. The staff explains that it’s a 35 minute looping video of his life’s work in no particular order. There’s a cluster of benches and bean bags on the floor, and people just sort of wander or plant themselves to watch the video.
This room was ideal for the baby, and I think my toddler would have enjoyed it also. The videos are accompanied with a classical music, so between the pictures, lights and music it was basically hypnotic. The pictures are all over the walls and floor, so when they get to his time in Paris it’s as if you’re walking on the Seine. Some of his pieces are animated and some are stills, and the transitions between pieces was maybe my favorite part. I’m including a video of Cafe Terrace at Night – a print I had in my college bedroom because I’m sure my bougie-ness precedes most – which then morphs into A Starry Night.
The room was very baby friendly, because it was easy to push her in a big loop if she started crying (which she did once or twice, as they do). If she would have needed to feed, I would have felt very comfortable feeding in there because it was dark, serene, and no one would have been looking at us. I always find it awkward to pop a boob when I lift her out of her stroller to feed and strangers immediately notice and start smiling at the baby, or – worse – asking me questions.
No one seemed to care how long anyone spent in that room, so we stayed for 1.5 plays of the video before moseying to the gift shop.
The gift shop was decent. I bought a kids puzzle for the toddler and couple of bookmarks, and it was $35. Again, the experience was not for the non-bougie.
On the way out, I tried to use the restroom, but there was only a couple of trailers with stairs (not ideal with the stroller when you’re on your own) and the handicapped restroom was a port-a-potty. No thank you.
I did appreciate the punny sign, though. I’d heed that advice, but definitely go at home if you can.
Anyways I recommend Beyond Van Gogh, so if you can get tickets you definitely should. It’s definitely a baby and (I think) toddler friendly activity.