by Linda (minnemom) of Travels with Children
Chicago has a lot of good museums, but our favorite–and one of the largest–is the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Museum of Science and Industry has enough varied exhibits that we happily stayed for five hours with four children aged 1-6. The only reason we left without seeing the rest of the place was sheer exhaustion.
When we go with the kids, they beg to go to the Idea Factory first. This hands-on area, just for kids, is definitely their favorite. From there, we go to the nearby Farm Tech exhibit, and they love driving the combine and tractor. (You’d think they’d have enough of farm equipment since we live on a farm, but it always seems more exciting in a museum, I guess.)
My husband’s favorite is the U-505 submarine. The story of how the submarine ended up in a museum in Chicago is interesting, but when you go in and see how big this thing really is, you’ll be amazed. If you plan your visit right, you can get a tour of the submarine, but even if you miss out on that, there are plenty of exhibits in the U-505 area.
If you like trains, there’s a big Pioneer Zephyr train just inside the museum entrance, but if you prefer models, there’s a great model railroad setup of Chicago. Also in that area is an old steam engine and a trolley car. This is a big draw for my sons.
For kids who have never flown, the airliner in the museum gives them an idea of what an airplane looks like inside.
You can learn about energy in exhibits about coal and petroleum; toys in a miniature fairy castle and “I Spy” windows; life at the chick hatchery; and earth in a variety of exhibits.
There’s a lot to see at the Museum of Science and Industry. We’ll keep going back until we’ve seen it all.