Field Trip – Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

One of the highlights of 5th grade – the annual field trip to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. I first experienced this field trip three years ago, when Erica was in 5th grade, so I knew what to expect this year – an early morning departure, nice coach style busses for the kids and a fun time getting to know the other adults as the adults car pooled up to the Windy City. A select few parents (read – gluttons for loud noises and putting up with a large number of very excited pre-teens) ride the coach busses with the students and teachers, but a majority of us “chaperones” drove separately.

The museum’s group entrance is on the back side of the facility, and since we arrived by passenger vehicle, we parked in the main parking garage and walked outside around the museum grounds. Look what you miss if you simply park and enter the museum through the parking garage:

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
The outside reminds me of the buildings at MIT, namely the 77 Mass Ave entrance and Killian Court’s Great Dome. All buildings are designed in the Beaux Arts style.

Once inside, I was assigned my charges for the day – my own son and his good friend, Trey. They wanted to hang out with classmates Alec, Brady and Eric, who were the responsibility of my friend, Leslie - a win-win situation for everyone.

The boys goofed off a little bit before the museum officially opened:
Out of the Photo Booth

We explored several exhibits, including this flight simulator, where Brian managed to crash every flight he was responsible for. I guess a career in flying might be out of the question.
Flight Simulator Crash

We spent a substantial amount of time in the Science Storm exhibit and I don’t recall it being here three years ago. The huge exhibit explores the physics and chemistry behind the natural phenomenon of storms – from tornadoes to avalanches, tsunamis to lightning.

There’s a two story vortex:
Look Up into The Vortex

And a series of prisms that separate the white light into individual components.
The Dark Side of the Moon prism rainbow
This exhibit also allowed us to adjust several solar panels to fuel small race cars around a track.
Through the Looking Glass
Even as an adult with a science background, I continue to be amazed by this museum – they continue to bring interesting, engaging features, all to promote science, industry (the original Coal Mine exhibit) and even a bit of history (the U505 Submarine). If you ever get the chance to visit Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see for adults and children.

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