Friday, July 31, 2009

Museum of Science and Industry

We love going to the Museum of Science and Industry. If you are visiting Chicago, it should be a must-do item on your list. We've been with the kids five or six times already. My mom and I took the kids on June 19th, and we had a really good time despite how crowded it was. The museums here seem to have free weeks about two to three times a year, usually around January or February, June, and September. When we hit the free days in September of last year, it was relatively uncrowded. Since I'm not in a school mind-set, I didn't realize that now most kids wouldn't be in school and it would be MUCH more crowded. We didn't even make it into the Idea Factory, an area the kids LOVED last time, because the wait would have been too long.

As the kids get older and I can bring them down here by myself without help (now they would still run in opposite directions and want to be carried a bit), I want to get memberships to most of the fun places we would like to visit more often. I figured it would only cost a little over $500 a year to get almost every single membership to all the major museums, zoos, aquariums and arboretums we would want to go to. That would be just under a quarter of the cost it would be to send to kids to a medium-priced preschool.

Our first stop is always to see the baby chicks in the incubator. I'm always really sad, however, to see the chicks without their mother. I've always had a huge weakness for animals. When I was in my early twenties, I remember going into a mall pet store, watching the puppies locked inside the cage, and embarrassing myself by crying the ugly cry. You know, the cry when snot runs down your nose and you're bawling out loud. Luckily, it didn't happen this time.

Another huge hit with Jared and Alexa is the combine and tractor. The bad thing was because it was so crowded we had to wait in line about fifteen minutes for each piece of equipment, and then they were only able to play inside it for a few minutes.

It was really cool to watch an artist outlining a new mural on the wall.

The trolley in the train room is always fun.

These pictures are out of order a bit, but one thing I had been wanting to check out was the free lab demonstrations they give at the museum. You can do anything from dissect a cow eyeball to look at your own DNA. Today we watched a chemistry demo where they mixed different chemicals to make huge fireballs. Jared wound up sleeping in my arms before it started, but he woke up at the end to see this huge fireball go off. It really startled him! Alexa found it interesting, but I think in a few year, this type of thing will be really exciting for the kids. It was for me!

I didn't think it would interest them, but Jared really liked looking at a model of an electric generator invented my Thomas Edison. The next week we read some books on Thomas Edison, watched an episode about Thomas Edison in the Animated Heroes Classics series and watched another film about his life as well.

It was so crowded that we had to have a picnic on the ground in the hallway!

More combine/tractor pictures.

Here's a really cool unschool coincidence. We went upstairs to look at the planes, and Alexa runs up to this model of the Wright place and says "There's Wilbur!" We had just finished reading a book about Wilbur and Orville Wright and watched and Animated Hero Classics episode about the brothers. It was so fun to see her recognize that, and it made the display so much more real to her. And the best part about it all was that is wasn't even planned!

They have a real plane at the museum that has actually been used as a commercial aircraft. The kids have been inside it when they were much smaller, but I wanted them to sit in it again to get them excited about our upcoming vacation to Grand Cayman Island. However, it was so crowded that we weren't able to get a seat. Still, I think they liked the quick peek we were able to get.

One last explosion.

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