We had a fantastic time in Chicago, and saw so many wonderful things, but one of the more unexpected places we visited was the Museum of Science and Industry. While it was on our list of things we would like to see, it wasn’t on our lists of things we HAD to see, like the Willis (Sears) Tower, the Navy Pier, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Millennium Park. However, after hearing other guests talking about how much they enjoyed their visits, we decided we would check it out one day. We were both so glad we were able to spend a few hours exploring this intriguing museum.
With the name Museum of Science and Industry I was expecting it to be filled with test tubes and Bunsen burners. Welcome back to high school science class, lol. However, it was not at all what I was expecting and we learned about their vision statement: To inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. After receiving our tickets, we checked out their map and decided what to see first. It is a huge place and we were glad for the map, as there are over 2,000 exhibits which are displayed in 75 major halls. Definitely helpful.
The first exhibit we checked out happened to be The Great Train Story, and it was wonderful. I have a friend who loves train and I kept wishing he was with us. He would have loved this exhibit. It presents 2,200 miles of scenery and stories from Chicago to Seattle along 1,400 feet of winding track, with 20 trains winding through this continental journey replicated in astonishing detail and scope. Everything is represented from the heights of Rocky Mountain ranges and Chicago skyscrapers, down to the tiniest crossing lights and floating seabirds. To make it even more authentic hey even have a “nighttime mode”. It’s pretty cool.
Being an aviation enthusiast, Gene really enjoyed the aviation exhibit a lot. I have to say that I found it very interesting as well. I really enjoyed looking at the Wright Flyer replica plane. It reminded me of our visit to Kitty Hawk during their 100th year Celebration of Flight. It was so nice to see it and read what they had to say about the inaugural flight. He really liked the all-star lineup of early aviation planes hanging above the exhibit. Some of the highlights are the barnstorming “Jenny” biplane and the lethal WWII Stuka dive-bomber, only one of two left today. There is also a Boeing 727 plane that you can walk through and learn a little about aviation technology. It was a really informative exhibit.
After walking around for a couple of hours we decided to take a break and check out one of the two Omnimax movies. They were showing National Parks Adventure and Great White Shark. Both sounded interesting, but we decided to see the National Parks Adventure. The movie follows world class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe, and artist Rachel Pohl as they bike, hike, and climb their way across America’s most pristine parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Redwood, Arches, Devils Tower and the Everglades. It was phenomenal. I really liked watching them hiking / climbing up a frozen waterfall. Pretty amazing.
There were so many things to see and do at the Museum of Science and Industry, but we didn’t have enough time to see and do everything we wanted to do. The thing we would have liked to have done was the U-505 Submarine On-board Tour It is the actual submarine that stalked the waters of the Atlantic before it was blown to the surface and captured on June 4th 1944. They state that it is an interactive walk through a piece of history that you’ll never forget.
We had a great time on our visit through the Museum of Science and Industry. There were so many more exhibits and site to see, that we will definitely have to go back and see one day. In the meantime, I will end this with some practical information about the museum. It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, with extended hours to 5:30 during the summer. As of this post, current prices are : Adult – $18 Child (ages 3-11) – $11. Check out their website for more information and prices for Omnimax and the U-505 Submarine On-board Tour. Definitely worth putting on your to-do list while in Chicago.
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