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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

King Tut Review and Coupon Codes

(If you're looking for New York City King Tut discounts, coupon codes and info, click here) (If you're looking for a review of King Tut in NYC with Kids, click here).

I did a luxurious things. I went to a museum. By myself. There, I said it. I saw the King Tut exhibit at the de Young while the kids were in camp. And you know what? I enjoyed it much more that way. I feel like a slightly bad mom for not exposing my kids to the grandeur and history that is Egypt. But I also saved my sanity.

You see, it was very crowded in there. Very very crowded. And there were lines. And more lines. Kind of like Disneyland. You're done with one line and think you're in the door. But no. There's another line. And I bought my timed ticket in advance, for the morning. For a weekday. And it was still very very crowded.

A few highlights:

-On display - two children's seats (one from Tut's tomb, one from a relatives') - with gorgeous inlay and all original materials. Including the mesh seat.

-An ivory box of King Tut's that held some gold rings. The box looks so perfect and modern it's hard to belive it's from 1300 BCE.

-a coffin from King Tut's 5 month old stillborn baby girl.

-Some of the jewels and the gold sword he wore in his coffin. He wore more than 150 jeweled amulets in death.

-While his coffins weren't there, the display in the last room showed the size of the four outer containers (the largest being 16 feet long and 9 feet hight), which covered the three internal coffins - each with gold and inlaid stones.

-Did you know that Egyptians removed the deceased's liver, stomach and intestines? They were dried with salt and wrapped in linen, and put in decorative boxes in the tomb. Okay, so you knew that.

-But did you know that King Tut's brain was removed by the ancient Egyptians with a hook THROUGH HIS NOSE during the burial process??? Yuck!

-Photos taken during discovery showed the tomb chambers stacked with his items. Kind of like my garage. Not put in a fancy way, but just stuck in there.

-King Tut's tomb wasn't meant for a king - it was smaller, and not meant for royalty. Since he died so young (age 19), they weren't prepared for his death. They think his tomb was originally for his advisor, who then took over after King Tut died.

-A CT scan found a fracture in one of Tut's legs. They think maybe he had an accident a few days before he died, leading to his death. But they don't know how he died.

-While you won't see any of King Tut's caskets, there was a gorgeous gold-leaf covered casket from one of his female relatives. It's beautiful. The amount of detail on the gold work displayed in this exhibit is mind-boggling.

-They showed an ancient dog collar. Yes, a dog collar. Leather and bronze, and covered with drawings of dogs. Go figure.

-A glass headrest. Granted, it's decorative and in King Tut's tomb, but still - can you imagine sleeping on a glass headrest?

While kids were in there (and most were generally well behaved), I'd make sure you think deeply about your kids' ability to handle a museum show if you decide to bring them. It's not cheap (a family 4-pack is $99), it's dark and very crowded. I had visions of my kids going crazy in there and Mark dragging us out early.
It took me about 90 minutes, from getting in line (and my initial line wasn't that long) to getting through the gift shop. You can do it faster - I had the audio tour, which has about 45 mintues of narrative.

To get discounted tickets, check out Bay Area on the Cheap, where there are three discounts posted. If you're a member, you'll be treated to shorter lines and cheaper tickets.
Or make it a date night or moms' night out - go on a Wednesday night through September 30 (5-9 p.m.) when the museum offers a discount ($20 tickets for adults, $15/youth). They have a pre fixe menu at the cafe and evening views in the museum's cool observation tower.

Jamie Pearson wrote an excellent account of seeing the exhibit with kids at Travel Savvy Mom. She's much braver than I.


  1. Yes, I would be cautious about a family trip to see King Tut's artifacts. Still, I did take my 6-year-old son for a quickie tour (expensive but there was no line since we are members) despite the tomblike and slightly spooky atmosphere of the exhibit. I let him set the pace and was pleasantly surprised how he started to read the heiroglyphs for King Tut's throne name. His interest in all things ancient Egypt and mummified extended to a library trip for an armful of books and videos on the subject. It's almost like he's in school.

  2. I saw the original exhibit when I was a kid in the 1970's (those lines were insane!) and it made such an impression on me that I was considering flying to SF with my hubby and kids to see this one. I appreciate reading a review from a mommy's perspective.