Monday, June 20, 2011

Museum of Science and Industry

On June 1st, the kids and I went downtown by ourselves to visit the Museum of Science and Industry.  It's always been one of my favorite downtown Chicago museums, even since I was a little girl. It was the first time I took the kids by myself, and I was a little nervous how it was going to go. They've been much better about not dashing off away from me, so I thought it would be a good test whether or not we'd have a good time together, or if I'd feel too stressed.

I'm happy to say we had a wonderful time together. It's fine going with other families or other people in your own family to museums, but we felt so free to take our time seeing the things we really wanted to see and spending as much time as we wanted to at each exhibit.

One of my favorite exhibits was Science Storms. The had so many awesome hands-on simulations, including a storm chaser that kept us there for at least a half hour. It was like sitting in the passenger seat of a truck that chases tornadoes. Then it shows you getting out the truck, going around the back, and helping set up the equipment that would measure things like wind speed and air pressure.

The kids' favorite room was the Idea Factory, which is really a children's museum inside the museum.

Alexa was fascinated with this set of angled mirrors you can open and close. She'd run back and forth and put different things in front of the mirrors, and then open and close the mirror to see how often the objects doubled or tripled.

Jared stuck with what he loves to do best: throwing things. He spent almost the whole half hour (before they booted us out to make room for the next group) just picking up balls from the water and throwing them over the ledge at the top.

We worked also together at trying to balance the scale.

Then we headed to the miniature train exhibit. It's a huge exhibit; trains run through models of downtown Chicago, through tunnels and the countryside.

Next to the trains, you can sit in an old trolley car. The kids started holding hands, and Alexa told Jared they were on their first date. (Alexa's fascinated with the concept of "dates" now). I was lucky to take this picture of them hugging each other. So much better than fighting!

 After the trains we went to see the baby chicks. We've been visiting this exhibit ever since the kids were a year and a half. It made me tear up remembering how when we first brought the kids, we had to lift them up to see inside the glass since they were too short to look inside on their own.

I don't have a picture of it, but I can't end without recommending that you visit the Coal Mine exhibit if you ever go to the Museum of Science and Industry. We had to wait 45 minutes in line, but it was worth it. You go down with a group of about 15 other people in an elevator, and they turn off the lights to simulate what the miners must have felt like. You also ride in coal carts and stand in rooms similar to what the miners experience. It's an extremely sobering experience.

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