We've been to a lot of open houses since our oldest was old enough to enjoy them, including three or four at various fire departments and one at a local airport. But the best open house of all was a couple of weeks ago at the Sanitation Department Depot in West LA. And I would be saying this even if my son wasn't obsessed with garbage trucks and anything related to them.
The open house was a smash hit from the get-go. We arrived a few minutes before it was scheduled to start, because we're early risers and we wanted to make sure we beat the crowd. I was both stunned and delighted that they were actually ready for us and let us in without hesitation.
There were a variety of trucks all in a progressive line. A driver came over and acted as our "tour guide." He explained the different garbage trucks and let our son climb up into the one that he drove and had a key for. We followed the line of trucks to a line of garbage bins, where someone explained how to get them repaired or replaced. Then we viewed the repair truck that goes out to rescue trucks and drivers with mechanical problems out on the road, and the man in charge of the mechanics and on-site garage gave us a little tour. There was also a set-up where the kids could push a button that activated the compactor in the back of a truck.
Once the tour was over, we headed for some information tables, where city workers explained about recycling and clean water and handed out goodies. Then, we picked up free hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda, water and cookies. And then we got in line to ride a small garbage truck around the yard.
I wish I had pictures, but we were so focused on making sure the kids were having a good time that we didn't take any. One of the best things about the open house was that all of the workers were just happy people. They clearly enjoyed their jobs - especially the drivers. I'd like to thank all of them for truly the best open house we've ever been to.