How do you get a 4-year-old little girl to beg for a trip to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City? Remind her that Olivia the Pig was there. My husband promised to take my daughter to see the Degas ballet dancers on day when she was watching Olivia on TV, who was at The Met with her m They were checking out the ballerinas.

This scene also appears in the first Olivia book. The book version was actually adapted from a Degas ballet dancer painting at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris (which will come in handy when we go there, too).

When we got to the Degas section at The Met, my husband launched in to a very kid-friendly lesson regarding how Edgar Degas used pastels, kind of like crayons for adults, and why these paintings are so special.

Then, we walked to the nearby Jackson Pollock paintings. In the book, Olivia declares she can paint it herself. She splats paint on her wall and then gets sent to timeout by her mother on the following pages. It’s cute.

Here it is in real life. We giggled a lot about how Olivia tried to recreate this massive painting.

By this time, my daughter was tired, but we had gained enough momentum to see the mummies, which we all thought were really cool.

There was one very funny moment when my husband was trying to explain what an impressionist painting is, while we were standing in front of Monet’s Water Lilies. There were some art enthusiasts clearly impressed (pardon the pun) by his ability to do this at a preschool level. All she could manage to do is stare in his ear, since he was holding her. She was totally not listening. People laughed.

In the end, we were able to keep her interested at the museum for 90 minutes, which is 89 minutes longer than I had anticipated. I credit my husband for having the creativity to turn The Metropolitan Museum of Art into an Olivia the Pig experience.

*Photo credit: istockphoto/JayLazarin

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. I love this as well. We did a Percy Jackson tour of NYC including the Met which kept my son engaged. It’s such a fabulous way to bring their favorite books to life! BTW – I was totally unimpressed with Jackson Pollack until someone told me that painting(I believe) was a ballet – He did the movements as he painted the picture. Now I really like it.

  2. Love this. We are heading there this weekend and my daughter (who is 9) has created our itinerary for us— we cannot wait.