The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry: making science fun
The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is one of the top must-sees in the Windy City. If you're used to a ho-hum museum experience with dusty exhibits and "Don't Touch" signs, get ready to have you preconceived ideas of what museums are like blown away.
The Museum of Science and Industry houses a whopping fourteen acres of interactive, hands-on exhibits guaranteed to delight and impress patrons of all ages. First opened in 1933, it was the first museum in North America to showcase interactive exhibits, and today, it boasts an impressive 35,000 artifacts, including the Swiss Jolly Ball, the world's largest pinball machine. It is the largest science center in the western hemisphere.
Plan on spending the whole day, or even two if you have the time, at this amazing science extravaganza, so you can take your time and enjoy all the museum has to offer. If you want to save money for one of the spectacular shows at the Omnimax 3D theatre, consider taking the bus to the museum to save on parking fees.
Check out the museum's website or call ahead to see what exhibits are showing and if any of your I-have-to-see-it picks charge an extra fee. As you look around, taking in all of the exciting hands-on fun, make sure you check out some of the live science experiences that are conducted on a daily basis. Different experiences may be done on different days or at different times, so check the schedule when you first arrive to make sure you see your favorites.
If you want to be sure you hit the highlights, there are four sure-to-please exhibits that everyone will enjoy:
- U-505 Submarine: Get an inside look at this real German submarine, the only one currently in the United States, that was sunk off of the West African coast on June 4, 1944. For an extra fee, you can take a short guided tour of the sub, or if you really want to get the full experience, check out the private, two-hour, on-board tour offered on weekends before the museum opens to the public. The sub also has an interactive component where you can try to steer and control the ship while watching it on a plasma screen.
- Coal Mine: The first interactive exhibit offered by the museum, the Coal Mine has been wowing guests since 1933. See all of the different steps that go into mining as you tour the mine and experience this realistic display. There is an additional fee for the tour, and it is not wheelchair or stroller accessible, so plan accordingly.
- Yesterday's Main Street: Take a walk down memory lane as you stroll the streets of this early-twentieth-century downtown Chicago replica. Look inside the windows of various businesses, take in a silent movie at the Nickelodeon theater, or get your picture taken in a 1902 motor car.
- Science Storms: This large exhibit takes up two floors and 26,000 square feet to give you access to over fifty experiments designed to show the true power behind sunlight, fire, tornados, lightning, avalanches, tsunamis, and even atoms in motion.
No matter your interests, age, or profession, the museum has something for everyone. Whether it's your first time experiencing the exciting world of hands-on science or you are a veteran of the interactive fun, Orbitz.com can help you plan your trip to the incredible Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
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