Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (aka, MSI) is running a contest at present – looking for someone to spend a month living 24/7 inside the museum and documenting all their experiences. If I was still in the place I was in when I first moved to Chicago five years ago (free as a bird and temping) I would absolutely apply for it.
MSI is a cool place to spend a day. It’s also a happenin’ place this summer, or at least that’s my assumption from the hordes of people who were in attendance today when I visited with my Dad. We did it up right, getting not only our general admission tickets, but also tickets to the U-505 Submarine tour, as well as the Omnimax film “The Ultimate Wave Tahiti.”
New at MSI is the Science Storm exhibit, which is pretty spectacular. Avalanches, Tornadoes, Tsunamis – you can explore the science behind them as well as try and create your own. The exhibit is apparently permanent, so check it out.
Hands down my favorite thing at MSI is the U-505 Submarine exhibit, which is just massive in scope (both in the sheer size of the room and the epic story of the events surrounding U-505. ) This time, I actually took the twenty minute tour that leads you through the submarine, and it was a really unique and interesting experience. Our tour guide (who I swear said her name was Betsy, but who’s nametag read Sarah..whatev) was wonderful. This girl knew her stuff, was personable, and kept things moving swiftly. The submarine is cramped and hot, but it gives you a great idea of what it must have been like for the 59 guys who lived on it for three months with no escape.
Also cool as can be at the Museum is all the space paraphanelia – including parts of Apollo 8.
(This is my Dad, doing his best astronaut impression.)
“The Ultimate Wave Tahiti” Omnimax film was sort of a crazy experience. MSI’s Omnimax theatre is five stories tall, and just walking into the theatre is overwhelming and disorienting. However, once the film starts, it’s a really unique way to see a movie – especially one that’s educational. In this film, surf champion Kelly Slater travels to Tahiti to surf the “demon wave.” It’s 45 minutes long and filled with great footage (including that of blue whales!) and was really enlightening.
Other things I love about this museum - The focus on transportation (including the 727 that you can walk through) and the Farm tech exhibits. Also, the Museums gift shop is expansive and full of clever things. And there’s a coffeeshop, so… you know I’m there.
Check it out.
Though – if you don’t like crowds, maybe check it out on a weekday morning/afternoon. Saturday at noon-ish was pure craziness.