Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
well as for children up to age 10. Several permanent exhibits allow kids a maxi-
mum of hands-on fun, and there are always creative temporary exhibitions on
tap as well. Dinosaur Expedition re-creates an expedition to the Sahara, allow-
ing kids to experience camp life, conduct scientific research, and dig for the
bones of Suchomimus, a Saharan dinosaur recently discovered by Chicago pale-
ontologist Paul Sereno (a full-scale model stands nearby). Another permanent
exhibit, Play It Safe, addresses possible safety issues in an interactive house and
backyard. WaterWays allows visitors to learn about the uses and benefits of
water resources by constructing dams to direct the flow of water, constructing
fountains, and teaming up with others to blast a stream of water 50 feet in the
air. Face to Face: Dealing with Prejudice and Discrimination is a multimedia
display that helps kids identify prejudice and find ways to deal with it. There's
also a three-level schooner that children can board for a little climbing, from the
crow's nest to the gangplank; PlayMaze, a toddler-scale cityscape with every-
thing from a gas station to a city bus that children under 5 can touch and
explore; and an arts-and-crafts area where visitors can create original artwork to
take home. The museum store is filled with educational and multicultural
books, science toys, videos, music, and art supplies.
Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. & 312/527-1000. Admission $7 adults and
children, $6 seniors. Free admission Thurs 5-8pm. Tues-Sun 10am-5pm (Thurs until 8pm). Subway/El: Red
Line to Grand/State; transfer to city bus or Navy Pier's free trolley bus. Bus: 29, 56, 65, or 66.
The Field Museum of Natural History All ages. Kids love the Field
Museum for its wide-open spaces—we're talking 9 acres of floor space—giant
dinos, and hands-on exhibits. Little ones can indulge their inner Indiana Jones by
exploring the shadowy tunnels of an Egyptian tomb or feeling the thrill of a
passage across the Pacific Ocean in an outrigger canoe. Or explore the African
continent by visiting a royal Cameroon palace, witnessing savanna wildlife, and
traveling across the Sahara and back to Nigeria. Gleaming gems, giant stuffed ele-
phants, mummies, and Native American artifacts will have your kids enthralled.
Scores of permanent and temporary exhibitions—some interactive, but most
requiring the old-fashioned skills of observation and imagination—can boggle the
mind with their sheer quantity. Some of the diorama-type exhibits have gotten
musty over time, but many others have been completely overhauled, with plenty
of activities to keep kids interested.
Start with the grand Stanley Field Hall (where you enter from either the
north or south end). Standing proudly at the north side is the largest, most com-
plete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed. Named “Sue” for the pale-
ontologist who found the dinosaur in 1990 in South Dakota, the specimen was
acquired by the museum for a cool $8.4 million following a high-stakes bidding
war. The real skull is so heavy that a lighter copy had to be mounted on the
skeleton; the actual one is displayed upstairs.
Families should head downstairs for two of the most popular kid-friendly
exhibits. The pieces on display in Inside Ancient Egypt were brought to the
museum in the early 1900s, after researchers in Saqqara, Egypt, excavated two
of the original chambers from the tomb of Unis-ankh, son of the Fifth Dynasty
ruler Pharaoh Unis. This mastaba (tomb) of Unis-ankh now forms the core of a
spellbinding exhibit that realistically depicts scenes from Egyptian funeral, reli-
gious, and other social practices. Visitors can explore aspects of the day-to-day
world of ancient Egypt, viewing 23 actual mummies and realistic burial scenes,
a living marsh environment and canal works, the ancient royal barge, a religious
shrine, and a reproduction of a typical marketplace of the period. Many of the
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