My wife and I do a lot of traveling, or did before the addition to the family who can only travel so far at a time.  There is in fact a blog called Random Trippers that my wife and I update on occasion about our various journeys and such.  And we see a lot of things, from popular tourist destinations like national landmarks or museums to more off-the-beaten-path types of roadside attractions and oddities.  Our honeymoon was an 11-day road trip across half the country where we did everything from go to a winery in a cave to sleeping in an authentic cotton-picker’s shack in Mississippi to off-shore fishing in Florida.  We just like a lot of things.

In the process of researching places to go I started to find a surprising trend.  I would add all these places to a list of prospects and Heather and I would go over them and narrow them down, agree what we wanted to see and how far out of the way we were willing to go to see them.  And then I would start to get more information about the place like the hours of operation.  And that’s when I started to see it.  Places were closed weekends.  And not just closed weekends, but actually only open Mondays through Fridays during “normal business hours.”  i.e. the same hours everyone else is usually working.

It led me to wonder what kind of a place would decide NOT to be open when a majority of people would be able to make the trip to see it.  I understand some places are run by volunteers and you have to cater to their schedules or else no one will go see it, but do none of those places understand that in order to have people actually come to your place you need to offer having it open when those people are available to see it?  Here’s an example:

My buddy Matt and I went to the Jolly Green Giant museum in Blue Earth, Minnesota.  It was essentially started by an ex-employee of the Green Giant plant down there and it houses an impressive array of items over the years that company has been in business.  It’s housed inside of the old fire station in town, but what is also housed in there is the city’s Chamber of Commerce operations.  The museum has the same hours as the Chamber of Commerce, which means you can only see it during the week while most people are working.  I only got to go because I was between contract positions at the time and Matt had already taken the week off.

So you’ve got these great places, places that people would like to get to go see, but they can’t go during those hours because they’re busy.  And if they can’t go then the place can’t make money to pay people to be there to let people in and take their money.  So it becomes a vicious cycle.  Again, I understand most of these places are run by volunteers and I’m not saying to just make the stand around all day if no one is going to be there, but you have to at least find a way to make the place accessible to people during what are construed by most people as their normal vacation hours: evenings and, most importantly, weekends.