SAMA with Tweens & Teens - Family Love In My City

SAMA with Tweens & Teens

Monday, August 28, 2017

Before you read this entire post, don't forget that Museum Day Live! is Saturday 9/23/17. Get your free tickets here!

Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
As I'm writing this, my twins are having their 1st day of middle school. I can tell you that they are just about to leave their advisory period, because I'm a little obsessed with this transition at the moment. You know the transition of being, not just little to big kids, but big kids to teenagers. This tween phase.

They've got these moods, nothing horrible. I just can't tell if they are having a good time, or if they are bothered, or upset. And there are so many questions. How do we stay close? How can I keep them engaged in all the things that were so easy when they were little? How do I keep them off their devices?

I thought a visit to SAMA, the San Antonio Museum of Art, would be good for these big kids. It has been a couple years since our last visit and they could use a little art and culture in their YouTube loving lives.

So we went and they were all in!

We went to breakfast at Pete's Taco House before to fuel up on some tacos.

And then we just explored and just let the art spark the conversations.
Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
No rush, we just walked from floor to floor, from Contemporary to Latin American to Texas and Folk Art. To the current exhibit, Heaven and Hell: Salvation and Retribution in Pure Land Buddhism to Egyptian to Greek to Oceanic, Asian an Islamic art, we walked the entire museum in about 3 hours!

There were connections to art reflecting Mexico border crossings.
Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
Remembering the Mayans from their Mexican-American Studies camp.

We talked about religion and reincarnation.
Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
And had surprisingly long conversation about the animated Disney movie, Hercules, in Greek Mythology section.
Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens

Tips to visit SAMA with big kids, tweens and teenagers


  • Bring a friend: Mix things up. When we visited, my best friend was in town, so bringing him along helped create a new dynamic and new conversations! Next time, we will bring one of the twins' friends. They always love showing their friends places they've explored. 


  • Let them take pictures: I let each of them take an extra iphone we had, so they could take pictures just like I know I would be doing. It keeps them looking for more and allows them to see the art from a fun perspective. Just freshen up on the rules: No flash photography, stay at least twelve inches away from labels, display cases, gallery wall surfaces, and have the phones on silent. 
    Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
  • Pick up an Activity Cards or an Activity Backpack: Parents and caregivers may check out a backpack to enhance their Museum experience. Filled with hands- on fun, backpacks are a unique way to engage children in learning about world cultures. Available for checkout at the Museum Shop. You can also download Family Guides from their website before your visit!
    Tips to visit an art museum with big kids, tweens and teens
  • Make it a day: Have breakfast or lunch at some of the best spots downtown! Our SAMA tradition is Pete's Take House. But you can grab a bite at Guillermos, Commonwealth, the Luxury or even stop by the Pearl's newest cafeteria style restaurant for some Maybelle's donuts.


  • And plan ahead: There are some great exhibits and events coming up! I listed some below, but be sure to check out the events calendar and Facebook page for more info!
Tips to visit an SAMA, the San Antonio Museum of Art, with big kids, tweens and teens


You're gonna have a great time!

September 12, 2017
Art Fit: Art + Yoga
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

September 23, 2017
FREE DAY! Museum Day Live
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Get your free tickets here
October 1, 2017
Family Day: See + Do Science and Art

October 6–December 31, 2017

The Latino List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders presents thirty-one portraits of influential Latinos from the worlds of culture, business, politics, and sports.

October 27, 2017
Family Flicks: Selena
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

November 5, 2017
Family Day: See + Do Día de Los Muertos
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

There is also FREE General Admission to the San Antonio Museum of Art: Tuesdays 4:00–9:00 p.m. and Sundays 10:00 a.m.–noon.

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