the claustrophobic reality of underwater naval life. The full-scale Coal Mine,
which dates back to 1934, now incorporates modern mining techniques into the
exhibit. Get to these exhibits quickly after the museum opens because they attract
amusement-park-length lines during the day.
Kids who love planes, trains, and automobiles shouldn't miss All Aboard the
Silver Streak!, the museum's Burlington Pioneer Zephyr, the world's first
streamlined, diesel-electric, articulated train, which was moved indoors and
installed in the museum's three-story underground parking garage. A simulated
train station has been installed along the 197-foot-long Zephyr, and visitors can
explore the train and its onboard interactive exhibits. The Great Train Story,
which replaces the museum's 60-year-old model railroad exhibit, takes up 3,500
square feet and depicts the winding rail journey between Chicago and Seattle.
Kids can drive a Metra Train (our commuter line to the suburbs), open a draw-
bridge over the Chicago River, harvest timber in the Cascade Range, and bore a
tunnel through the Rocky Mountains. For airplane fans, Take Flight, an avia-
tion exhibit, features a full-size 727 airplane that revs up its engines and replays
the voice recordings from a San Francisco-to-Chicago flight.
Computer addicts should be entranced by Networld, which offers a flashy
immersion into the Internet (with plenty of interactive screens). More low-
tech—but still fascinating—is the giant walk-through model of the human
Educational exhibits include Enterprise, which lets visitors take on the role
of CEO for a day as they immerse themselves in the goings-on of a virtual com-
pany. Reusable City teaches children ecological tips with implements that they
might find in their own backyard. AIDS: The War Within, is also geared to kids
and when it opened a few years ago, it was the first permanent exhibit on the
immune system and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
And, not to be sexist, but girls (myself included) love Colleen Moore's Fairy
Castle, a lavishly decorated miniature palace filled with priceless treasures. (Yes,
those are real diamonds and pearls in the chandeliers.) The castle is hidden away
on the lower level. Younger children up to age 10 love to spend time at the Idea
Factory, a “learning through play” environment that allows kids to explore sci-
entific principles themselves.
A major attraction at the museum is the Henry Crown Space Center, where
the story of space exploration, still in its infancy, is documented in copious
detail, highlighted by a simulated space-shuttle experience through sight and
sound at the center's five-story OMNIMAX Theater. The theater offers double
features on weekends; call for showtimes.
When you've worked up an appetite, you can visit one of the museum's five
restaurants, including a Pizza Hut and an ice cream parlor, and there are also two
gift shops. Allow about 3 hours for your visit.
57th St. and Lake Shore Dr. & 800/468-6674 outside the Chicago area, 773/684-1414, or TTY 773/684-3323.
www.msichicago.org. Admission to museum only, $9 adults, $7.50 seniors, $5 children 3-11, free for children
under 3. Free admission Mon-Tues mid-Sept to Nov and Jan-Feb. Combination museum and OMNIMAX The-
ater $15 adults, $13 seniors, $10 children 3-11, free for children under 3 on an adult's lap. Mon-Sat
9:30am-4pm; Sun 11am-4pm (until 5:30pm daily Memorial Day to Labor Day). Closed Dec 25. Bus: 6 or Metra
Electric to 57th St. and Lake Park Ave.
Navy Pier All ages. After you've spent a couple of fun-filled hours at the
Chicago Children's Museum, check out Navy Pier—Chicago's top tourist attrac-
tion. Built during World War I, this 3,000-foot-long pier has been a ballroom,
a training center for Navy pilots during World War II, and a satellite campus of