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I’ve researched the top 10 art museums for kids as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art. None of them are creating the environment we experienced at two galleries in Copenhagen. While USA’s museums have scavenger hunts and books and games to suggest related to the art, I found the activities created in Copenhagen to be inspired. In an art museum, what better way to create curiosity about art than to enable kids to make their own art?

The National Gallery in Copenhagen attracted me by highlighting it’s children’s drawing room. Sarah was immediately intrigued and wanted to go. While there wasn’t much for Catherine to do, sometimes a sister simply has to go along. Sarah loved it so much we went back another day and she drew some more. I loved reading what the museum had to say about drawing.

IMG_0096Sarah chose a statue of a little girl carrying kittens to draw. Brian and Catherine went off to explore. I simply watched, captivated, as i watched my 7-year-old daughter hone her sense of observation.

IMG_0095 IMG_0102 IMG_0103 They also had a children’s area where kids could make sculpture with hot glue guns, paint at an easel, or draw some more. Sarah worked hard on her painting of an airplane and her sculpture of a tree house that had a rope swing and a zip line.

IMG_0236IMG_0240IMG_0247IMG_0249IMG_0260In fact, she felt like she’d worked so hard on them, we had to figure out a way to get them back home with us. Fortunately, a mailing tube at the train station was perfect!

At Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, we found an entire Children’s wing. They approached the kids art program a little differently, which I really liked. Instead of just providing materials and hoping to spark creativity, they tied projects into the exhibits in the museum, so the kids would hopefully understand and appreciate the exhibits more. Making things out of sticks and paper like they do in structures in Africa, gave Sarah a greater interest in the Africa exhibit. And Catherine preferred the 3D opportunities in this museum as well.

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The inspiration. Architects are building these structures in Africa to create feelings of community.


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Sarah’s has the yellow cone top and Catherine’s is just under it to the right on a blue base.

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Peter Doig works with collage so the kids made a collage to add to this wall in the museum.

Peter Doig works with collage so the kids made a collage to add to this wall in the museum.


The sculpture garden inspired these charms. Sarah made a cat and Catherine and I made a 2 tailed critter.

The sculpture garden inspired these charms. Sarah made a cat and Catherine and I made a 2 tailed critter.


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A combination of string and a brush enabled me to make this wheelchair with wings moving toward the light. I didn’t even realize the symbolism until I completed it.

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A combination of string and a brush enabled me to make this wheelchair with wings moving toward the light. I didn't even realize the symbolism until I completed it.

A combination of string and a brush enabled me to make this wheelchair with wings moving toward the light. I didn’t even realize the symbolism until I completed it.


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I’d love to know where her imagination was taking her. This was another African structure designed to inspire community.


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Having just been dismissed from my employment, I found this to speak right to my soul.

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Sarah's two favorite pieces.

One of Sarah’s two favorite pieces. The other is the one above this one.

And the final example of making art was watching Catherine compose music with the camera from this computer. When it “saw” her move, it played music and she responded and seemed to know what she was doing immediately. Art comes in many forms and is one of the best ways to reach people with disabilities in my opinion.

Around Town

The

The “classic” view of Copenhagen – the neighborhood of Nyhavn. This photo was taken from the bus tour the day we arrived and were having a hard time staying awake.

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National Gallery – Not to be confused with the National Museum. Sarah’s walking to the middle of the reflecting pool to sit in that chair in the middle. Wouldn’t you?

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Showing off the art after drawing all afternoon.

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In Denmark, bottles are marked for recycling. You pay a deposit with every bottle you purchase. Then, you can return the bottles for money. We “paid” for a lot of groceries this way. And many people in CPH pull bottles from the trash to make money. About 4 bottles would get you a buck.

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We put Sarah’s Fanta bottle in right as they needed to change the crushed bottle container. She found her bottle sitting on top – the one with the orange label.

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One of the most interesting things we learned is that people in CPH believe there should be life in the cemetery. So they are often designed like beautiful gardens and on nice days, people go there for picnics and sunbathing and to play games. I like this idea.

Hans Christian Andersen is from Copenhagen and this statue of The Little Mermaid is the most visited tourist attraction in the city. Sarah loved seeing her and we went twice.

Hans Christian Andersen is from Copenhagen and this statue of The Little Mermaid is the most visited tourist attraction in the city. Sarah loved seeing her and we went twice.

What Do They Eat?

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Cheers with water the night we arrived. We made it.

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Gross Hotdogs. Sarah didn’t even want to try it.

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It’s always fun to see how McD’s is the same and different in other countries. Mostly the same, though the burgers tasted different. Probably actually meat!

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Salmon Smorbrod (open faced sandwich) and one with Roast Beef. These were really good at Louisiana Art Museum.

IMG_0547 On the Go

This is where we're going. So exciting.

This is where we’re going. So exciting.

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All on the plane and ready to take off. Eight hour flight? Piece of cake. The girls did great.

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We missed our stop on the bus and had to walk back to the National Gallery. Good shot of the way sidewalks are designed. It took a lot of concentration to keep Catherine’s wheelchair between the cobblestones. The smooth path on the right is bikes only.

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They look like seasoned travelers, don’t they?

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A great hand in Uno passes the time on the train well.

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Waiting for the bus. We traveled low budget which meant lots of busses and trains. Next time, we’ll look into renting a van.

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On a hot day, cold air blew up from this grate. Made a cute photo op.

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This photo shows an example to anyone who ever wonders why I still adore my husband. Thanks Brian. You could have gotten really irritated, and your quick shift to the escalator made me fall in love all over again.

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Love how Sarah is watching to be sure her sister will be safe going down the stairs. “Be careful Daddy!”

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Now, this is traveling in style!

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Bye Bye Copenhagen! Sarah cried when we left. So glad she had a great time.

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Leaving Copenhagen, Sarah wanted to give the passport control officer all the passports. That’s a lot of trust to give a 7 year old! She did a great job and kept them all very safe.

    Sleeping Abroad Is Different

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IMG_0060 We stayed in the Urban House – a hostel that had a hip, young vibe with a surprising number of families. Bean bags were welcome the morning we arrived after our long flight.

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Woke 3 mornings in the hostel to this little face looking over the top bunk.

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Catherine had a hard time adjusting the first morning and slept a lot despite the breakfast and activity surrounding her. She adjusted quickly after the first day.

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In the middle of the trip, we went to LegoLand and stayed one night. You probably can’t tell, but the bunk beds are toddler size and Ellen had to sleep there. Good thing I curl up at night.

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The last half of the trip, we stayed in a flat in Fredericksburg that we booked via Airbnb.com. It was neat to see how locals live and to be away from the center of the city of Copenhagen. We relaxed, took day trips and had a much better time out of the city. Yes, I’d use Airbnb again.

Sheer Beauty

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Now that the laundry is done – well, at least clean and in the hampers if not folded and put away – and we’re over the jet lag, we’ve taken a couple of nights to reflect on our journey. Thought you’d like to read our overall impressions of our trip in a superlative kind of way. Thanks so much for reading!

“What’s the best thing you did?”

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art –  unanimous!

A view from the museum to Sweden.

A view from the museum to Sweden.

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The museum had supplies for kids to create their own art based on exhibits in the museum.

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Everyone worked on a project.

Biggest Waste of Money

Hotdog and Fanta at a street vendor. (Ellen) He charged us over $10 for the Fanta and the hotdog was gross.

I'm not eating THAT!

I’m not eating THAT!

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It’s a weird bright red color covered with mustard and “fatty pig parts” (we later called those bacon), mustard, onions and did I mention the pickles? Yuck!

LegoLand hotel (Sarah, though she loved staying there!) It was about $500 for the night. We could have stayed for less and been really close to the park. It was a cute room though.

Look at all the FRIENDS.

Look at all the FRIENDS.

Funniest Moment

Middlefart! (Sarah) – Yes, that’s name of a town and we couldn’t control ourselves laughing about Topfart, Bottomfart and Middlefart. Or Leftfart, Rightfart and Middlefart. Or our favorite – Hotfart, Coldfart and Middlefart!

Can't make this stuff up.

Can’t make this stuff up.

Nine translations for Ketchup on the packet (Ellen) – Look closely at this ketchup packet. There are nine different translations for Ketchup and they all actually say Tomato KETCHUP! Contrast that to the fact that when we were at the train station, we couldn’t find a single sign translated into English and you’ll understand the IRONY of this.

IMG_0304Scariest Moment

Walking down a seedy street looking for dinner (Brian) – We moved past the tatoo parlors and into most likely drug zones before we realized it and turned around. We thought we were following the directions to a restaurant.

Having the Metro doors close on Sarah (Ellen) – She didn’t understand the need to get in quickly or it would be gone. I yelled more sternly than I think I’ve ever yelled at her, “GET IN!”

Haunted Ride at Bakken (Sarah) – A creepy looking girl turned into a ghoul unexpectedly. Yikes!

Runner up – Nearly getting a fine for not having bought the right ticket on the train. Fine would have been $750! Don’t worry – the story will make it to “Most Absurd.”

Most Frustrating Moment

Not being tall enough to ride the spinning ride at Bakken (Sarah)

Walking around pulling the luggage and pushing Catherine on the rough roads (Brian)

Brian pushed/pulled the luggage, we all wore daypacks and Ellen pushed Catherine. Made for a tight parade.

Brian pushed/pulled the luggage, we all wore daypacks and Ellen pushed Catherine. Made for a tight parade.

Closed elevators making us have to push and pull Catherine up and down stairs (Ellen)

Does this even need a caption?

Does this even need a caption?

Best Unique Use of Technology

Door Codes at Urban House (Ellen) – Our hostel didn’t require keys. At check-in, they emailed you a code and room number. You simply went to your door and entered the code. Upon check-out, it reset to a new code for the next person. And it was all managed by a computer at the front desk.

Cameras on the airplane (Sarah) – We could watch take-off and landings as well as see the land beneath us.

Best Travel Magic

Airplane Food (Brian and Sarah) – Yes, they really both loved the beef stew and potatoes.

SAS rep taking us to the lounge (Ellen)

Living the life when our flight was delayed.

Living the life when our flight was delayed.

Most Absurd Moment

Getting Soaking Wet (Sarah) –  When it rained on us in Tivoli, it poured! We were so wet it didn’t really matter that Sarah wanted to splash in puddles all the way home. I can only imagine how a kid must love the freedom to do that.

Moving the Wheelchair to Make Room for Bikes (Ellen) – We bought our tickets for the train to LegoLand and I told the woman we had a wheelchair. When we got on the train in the right car, we parked the chair in the area where seats fold up and took Catherine back to our seats on the train. The train attendant told us her chair couldn’t go there because they needed that room for bikes! When I asked where it should go, she actually made us take it off the train at the next stop and go load it into another car! Thankfully, some nice (non-Danish) guy helped Brian do it.

See all the bikes? Catherine got to stay in her wheelchair this time.

See all the bikes? Catherine got to stay in her wheelchair this time.

Buying a Train Ticket (Brian) – We bought our ticket for zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and while coming back from Louisiana Art Museum, we learned from the train attendant that we were in zone 40 and our ticket was no good. We had read the fines were $750 (making this a runner up for Ellen’s scariest moment!) and fortunately, the attendant showed us some mercy when we expressed utter confusion. You look at this map and tell me if you wouldn’t have been confused! We had so much difficulty on the trains we finally routed ourselves away from Central Station and opted for the Metro. Much easier!

Red is 1, Blue is 2, then Yellow is 30 and Purple is 40. Who can even see that?

Red is 1, Blue is 2, then Yellow north of Red is 30 and Purple north of that is 40. The Blue south of Red is zone 3 and the Yellow south of that is zone 4. What? And who can even see that?

Very Favorite Food

Waffles with Cream (Ellen) – OH – MY – GOSH!!! These are amazing and I wish I had taken a photo for you to see. Imagine 2 crispy waffles, buttery, shaped like a boat with cream in between them. You can’t. That would be one reason to go back. They had made them since the 1800’s.

Chicken Nuggets at Bakken (Sarah) – She said they were something really special and gobbled them up quickly to go ride more rides.

Hamburger Steak and Gravy at Bakken (Brian) – I guess it was worth all the back and forth of “Where shall we eat?” prior to choosing the place. Whew!

Best View

Tivoli from the Skychair Swing Ride (Sarah)

Sweden and the sea from Louisiana Art Museum (Ellen)

Countryside out the Window of the Train (Brian)

The Most Craziest, Awesomest, Interesting, Silly, Cool Thing

Tivoli Show (Sarah) because they made sailboats sail on the stage

Doesn't this look exactly what you imagine Tivoli to be like?

Doesn’t this look exactly what you imagine Tivoli to be like?

Penguins (Sarah) – They were visible from the roller coaster at LegoLand when it went through a tunnel. It really was a pretty cool idea.

Funhouse Bakken (Sarah) – The floors moved and stairs were set at odd angles making it extremely difficult to walk. We walked very slowly initially and then Miss Confident, Sarah, ran through it the second time.

Music Demo at Louisiana Art Museum (Ellen and Brian) – We listened to a 3 piece ensemble on the lawn of the museum overlooking the water to Sweden. We realized one of the men was “playing” his computer. As he moved his body, his computer was producing sounds in parallel. If he waved his arms wildly, the music was fast and loud. If he wiggled his hand, the music might actually be the sound of raindrops. Then he would sweep his arms in large arcs and the music would sound like waves. It was very interesting. Afterward, I asked if he’d ever used the system with kids with disability. He said he’d never thought of that and asked us to bring Catherine over to try it. Sweet success. Catherine moved to make the music herself. Wow. That was worth the price of the airfare. I’ll be looking him up to see if there is a way we can play with a copy of it. Turns out… he is the guy who wrote the software! I love when the world works like that.

Advice to Other Travelers

Go to the amusement parks – especially Bakken. (Sarah)

Stay outside the city – much nicer. (Brian)

Figure out how the transportation system works as soon as you get there. (Ellen) Pick up a map of the whole system at the airport when you arrive. We found it our last day!

Advice for Wheelchair Users

Have patience.

Work out before you go if you’ll be the one pushing the chair.

Embrace the wobblestones.

Finally

We believe there is a lot more world to see before we’d head back to Copenhagen. We had a great time and accomplished our 2 objectives, so that makes for an excellent trip. Most important – we learned we can do it again. Where shall we go next??

Home!

Nothing like getting your first arrival stamp coming back into the USA!!!

  
I’m so proud of both these girls!! They got the travel DNA from my grandmommy and did great on our journey. Welcome home girls. We did it!!

Wow!

I think I know what it felt like to be snuck across a border during a war. Shortly after SAS made an announcement that our 12:20 flight was delayed to 13:30, some very nice man wearing a uniform appeared asking if we preferred to wait in the lounge. Sure!

He took us, our boarding passes and waved our passports to get us back through customs. Then he led us to the SAS first class lounge with a nice buffet and drinks for us to enjoy while we wait. 

He explained that TSA is doing an inspection and everything must be 200% right so he hoped we would only be waiting for 30-45 minutes. Of course if this were a movie plot it’s possible he just made us miss our flight! Guess we’ll just have to wait and see….

  

Delayed

Apparently there is a security delay on our flight. Happy happy joy joy. The crew is providing water and juice so people don’t leave the gate area. And Brian’s theory is that they are training some newbies. I’m sure we’ll never know. It’s a good time for Sarah to practice tying her shoes!

  
And our only family selfie!

  

Heading Home

So much more to write about the trip and so little tIme to write. Yesterday we filled the day with amusements from Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park. 

  
Not much for Catherine to do other than smell the amusement fare and listen to the really good music. Sarah, however rode nearly every ride – some as many as 10 times!

   
 Thought to be the world’s oldest rollercoaster. 

And now we are boarding our flight. So gotta go for now. 

  

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