We use so many products of science and technological development of all shapes and sizes that today, we don’t even think about it anymore. Public transport, bank cards, even the common pen are results of research and industry development. There are many museums in Chicago to visit. However, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago perfectly captures the way human beings’ lifestyles developed from the early stages until current times, through various exhibits about our accomplishments. If you are visiting Chicago and you’re interested in science, this is the museum for you!
Here are 10 of the best exhibits you should check out!
Earth Revealed is the ultimate futuristic experience inside a room dedicated entirely to the exhibit. Actually, the entire room is an exhibit made of a dynamic video sphere. The amazing setup will put you into space, where you can look at planet Earth from a step back. You can watch our gorgeous planet in a 360-degree motion.
If you are interested in the science behind the workings of the planet, this is a good place to start. The sphere uses nearly real-time imagery gathered from NASA and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration to help you see the “big picture.” You’ll see climate data, oceanic currents, weather formations and much more through the satellite’s point of view. This exhibit will certainly make you think about the future of Earth. Recommended for children 10 and up and adults, the wonders of our planet will definitely mesmerize you!
YOU! The Experience
As the title of this exhibit suggests it’s all about You! The quirky exhibit offers a good look at how the human body works through various models, both physical and digital, movies about the way the fetus develops over the course of the pregnancy and even fun interactive games for children and adults alike.
You can dance and have your body shape drawn out of lights on the walls in front of you, you can even see a 13-foot tall beating heart in motion right in front of your eyes. The exhibit aims to teach everyone about health and the way the human body works. You’ll come out of there thinking much more about your life choices and what is possible to achieve with your own body!
Numbers In Nature: A Mirror Maze
This exhibit opens your eyes to view nature in a very different light and, once your eyes are trained to see it, you can’t unsee it! The amazingly designed mirror maze takes you through images and interactive screens, sucking you into the mathematical perfection of nature. It is not overbearing, so the exhibit is enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
Also, you can have fun in a gorgeous forest of the mirror maze while learning about the Fibonacci sequence. You will observe it on the patterns in leaves, on giraffes’ spots and even butterfly wings. This colorful exhibit is not only fun but also dizzyingly innovative; the secrets of nature and its beauty are revealed in a visually engaging fashion and you can have fun exploring the maze while absorbing information.
The giant U-505 is a German submarine which used to prowl the Atlantic Ocean, trying to hunt down American and Allied Nations’ ships during World War II. But soon the hunter became the hunted as the submarine was captured in 1944 by the American Navy. Once it was discovered on their radar, the Navy rushed to bring down the submarine the size of a city block!
Their mission was successful, so the u-boat, weighing three times what the Statue of Liberty weighs, was captured and salvaged. Its currently on display on a large underground shed at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry! This is the only German sub displayed in the Western hemisphere and in the United States. Hence it’s a spectacular thing to see! While in the Museum of Science And Industry Chicago, you can even observe the marks of battle on the ship.
Additionally, you can have a look at the submarine’s exquisite exterior as part of a general admission ticket, but if you’re curious about how life was aboard it and you’d like to learn more about the secret mission to capture it, tours start every 15 minutes! For an additional $18 for adults and $14 for children between 3 and 11, you can walk through the submarine and study it even closer.
One of the most common topics to discuss between people is the weather. Everyone has questions about it, everyone wants to know the forecast and bring it up pretty often in a conversation. But how much do you know about the weather and the way it works? Well, if you feel shaky in your knowledge, the Science Storms exhibit is the place for you to explore.
In this futuristic room, you can experience a 40-foot water vapor tornado unfolding right in front of you. Also, you can watch the way a tsunami forms, learn why fire burns and see the way these natural elements of our lives take place. With the help of the pictured Foucault’s Pendulum, you can even see the way the Earth is rotating right now! You will learn a lot of chemistry and physics, but you won’t even notice while you watch the show nature puts up on a daily basis.
Yesterday’s Main Street
One amazing part of this creative discovery museum is its way of allowing its visitors to not just look at its exhibits but to truly feel like they are part of it. This is how Yesterday’s Main Street is set up as well. If you wanted to know what life was like in Illinois a century ago and you don’t have a time machine on hand, you can get lost in the 1910s here!
The exhibit is set up as a real depiction of Chicago’s Main Street. It features the beginning of the 20th century and is equipped with a dentist’s office, the famous Berghoff Restaurant, the pictured Commonwealth Edison, and more. You can also enter the Nickelodeon Cinema and Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat and watch movies!
The Transportation Gallery takes up a huge space in the Museum of Science And Industry Chicago because it looks into the industry of driving, flying and even trains. If you want to see the first attempts of humans to go faster, you’re in the right place! The exhibit contains the Great Train Story; a 330 square foot model railroad that you can view while learning about the train ride from Chicago to Seattle.
Also, you can have a look at one of the planes made by the Wright brothers. You can even experience what the Boeing 727 is like by walking into it and discovering its features. The large plain started commercially flying in the 1960s and stopped in 1984. You can even check out simple rides such as horse-drawn carriages, or iconic World War II jets such as the English Spitfire which helped the Brits win the war against Nazis.
Henry Crown Space Center
The crown jewel of scientific achievement is definitely the ability of human beings to explore space. The Museum of Science and Industry’s Henry Crown Space Center is the perfect place to explore just how awe-inspiring human ability is. Also, you can take a look at the Apollo 8 spacecraft; the first one to orbit the Moon. It made its pilots the first people to see the entire Earth from space. You can also discover the Mercury-Atlas 7 spacecraft, a lunar module trainer and other equipment and necessary items for space travel. The highlight of this exhibit is the Mars Rover which you can actually pilot with a remote!
One of the most important parts of our industry is making sure that we have enough food to eat. The industry revolving around getting meals on the table is vast and incredibly developed. However, it’s also unseen by many who enjoy nutritious, healthy and balanced diets just by going to the grocery store. Many of us, however, don’t really know where our food comes from or what people consume on a daily basis.
The aim of Farm Tech is to educate you on the way food gets on your table. From seeing tools and agricultural techniques to the necessary combines and tractors which work the field, you can walk through a normal day on a farm. Additionally, you can even play a game with the automated cow milking simulator. As part of Farm Tech, you can go to the Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery. Here, you can learn about how even the tiniest genetic mutation can affect our lives. The museum work on preserving breeds of chicks while showcasing amazing information about DNA.
Future Energy Chicago
Arguably one of the most important topics to discuss today is how we are going to power our lifestyle once our energy resources run out. This question is posed by the Future Energy Chicago exhibit; an interactive room in which all the choices you make will have a consequence in the future. Recommended for kids aged 9 and up, this exhibit really makes you think.
Also, you can play at the Simulation Lab which challenges you to maximize your energy efficiency while managing the trade-offs it comes with. The Simulation Lab uses real-world data so the stakes are high! However, pretty soon the museum might need to implement the changes you choose to input in the virtual world. But, once the choice is not in your hands, you can view real proposals and possibilities suggested by scientists and decades of research to create smarter cars and living conditions to care for the planet.
And, if you’re still not convinced that this issue is very important, here’s a challenge: the museum offers you a bike and a crank to produce your own energy to light up a lightbulb! It is an informative and eye-opening way of signifying just how much energy it takes to keep the lights on.