Read the first part here.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Thanks to our late arrival, we were all sluggish and running late that morning. By the time we had dressed, cooked and eaten breakfast, gathered our lunch/beverages/school supplies, and ridden the shuttle van back to the airport, it was 11:00 a.m.
The Field Museum closes at 5:00 p.m. Ack!
The last time I took the train from O’Hare to downtown was over a decade ago, and I wasn’t sure how much it cost or how long it would take. We stopped at the information booth in Terminal 5 to ask for assistance.
The woman there was very unhelpful. She told us it would cost $40 to ride the train, and would take two hours. She didn’t know what transfer we would need to take, and told us to “just ask on the train”.
I doubted that would be possible. This isn’t Amtrak or even New Jersey transit, where there are conductors on the trains!
Still, two hours and $40…a cab would only cost $50 and would get us there in 30 minutes!
So the whole family piled in to a cab.
The kids were THRILLED to not be in carseats. I was less thrilled at the thought. However, we arrived unscathed at the museum just before noon.
The plan had been to pay for the boys and Darrel’s admittance, since I would get in for free as an employee perk, but when we first arrived we managed to go to the Membership desk by mistake. We soon realized our error, but by then we also had realized that some of the things we’d hoped to do at the museum were not covered by the regular admission fee.
To buy general admission tickets for the 3 fellas, plus 4 tickets for each of the special exhibits we wanted to see would cost just over $100.
Becoming members would cost $150, would give us entrance to all the special exhibits we wanted to see (and reduce the ticket price for the 3D dinosaur movie we wanted to see) and also would give us free admission in to a new museum that recently opened about an hour from our house!
Easy choice. If we come back to the Field Museum even once more this year, we’ll have saved money; if we go to the local museum at all, we’ll have saved money. We became Members of the Field Museum.
(Though, the old traveling adage of “take half as much stuff and twice as much money” is undeniably true! This trip cost more than we’d planned!)
Once inside the Museum, the kids immediately began whining for food. They’d been so excited at breakfast they hardly ate, so this was understandable.
We detoured to one of the “bring your own food” areas provided at the Museum and had a quick lunch.
While we ate, I set Jed up with his Field Museum Notebook to do some of his homeschooling work for the trip. He had been instructed before we left that anything on his trip that he really enjoyed, really disliked, found interesting, or even noticed, he was to journal.
He would draw the picture at the top of the page and was to dictate to me what he wanted written underneath.
It was fabulous fun to see what he decided to record! Oh, and I just have to point out Jed’s awesome “go finger” usage:
Our speech therapy center offered a free handwriting workshop led by an occupational therapist last month. We signed up, and the therapist instructed the kids on proper pencil holding: the thumb and first two fingers of your hand are the “go” fingers that you use to hold the pencil, and the ring and pinky fingers are “stop” fingers that you tuck away and do not use. Jed’s got it down!
For his part, Zac simply wanted to scribble in the book. We let him.
Lunch eaten, it was off for fun!
We started with the Underground Adventure zone; a special exhibit that fit right in with what we’ve been studying in school: soil.
I had high hopes for this exhibit; it’s designed to replicate what the soil looks like from underneath the ground, but in huge proportions! Tiny microbes were the size of your head; earthworms were the size of elephants! Very cool, right?
My hopes were dashed just as we entered the exhibit.
The Museum has cleverly set up the entrance as a “shrinking machine” to show the scale of the exhibit by pretending you have been shrunk down to 1 inch size. I thought the boys would have a great time pretending they were shrinking!
They didn’t. They freaked out.
The rest of our time in the exhibit was spent with the boys being terrified of every worm, microbe, and “soil critter” shown, and begging to go back outside “so we can be normal size again!”
Of course, as soon as we left, they begged to go back inside. Typical kids.
Oh, and on our way out I had to stare in horror at this sign:
Yes, Monsanto, the most evil, soil-destroying, poisoning the earth and our bodies corporation on the planet, is the lead sponsor of the Underground Adventure exhibit. Disgust and vomit, anyone? Ugh.
We had more ground to cover, so across the way we went to the kids science area.
This is a great place for kids! Just as you enter, there is a woodland scene set up to investigate, complete with easy on-and-off costumes for the kids. They can pretend to be turtles, bats, birds, or any other number of critters as they play in the woods. Very fun! Zac pretended to be a turtle for a while, but Jed didn’t want to play there.
He even bypassed the cool animal hand puppets they have at two puppet booths for the kids to put on plays.
No, he was drawn to the model Adobe House on display. The one with all the CORN.
It had fake corn fields “growing” outside, a storage bin with fake corn, and showed how people of the desert built their houses and survived on so much corn.
Because, corn. Jed loves it. It kills Zac. Of course!
Fortunately, Zac wasn’t as interested in the Adobe House. After a quick run through, he wanted to go elsewhere. So I left with Zac and Darrel stayed with Jed for the rest of our kids science adventure.
While Zac and I explored other areas, Jed, our social butterfly, apparently did his level best to make friends with all the other kids playing in the house, and figured out how to “harvest” corn from the stalks outside.
Meanwhile, Zac and I went into the music room, where he had a blast playing with all the bells, drums, and other percussion instruments.
Apparently, Darrel convinced Jed to at least try the music room, but Jed opened the door, heard the noise, and closed the door immediately reporting “it’s too loud, Daddy!” before running back to the corn fields.
Yes, thank you, Sensory Processing Disorder.
Zac spent a good 20 minutes banging away, though, before he wanted to see other things.
We left and went to another section, where Zac was drawn to an unbelievably cool microscope. It was designed to be very simple for kids to use, and you saw what was magnified on a TV screen mounted next to the scope.
There were lots of pre-made slides for the kids to look at, with butterflies, bugs, and other things flattened and laminated, plus many different kinds of rocks to examine.
At first, Zac didn’t know what to do. After showing him how the two different levers worked, though, he quickly caught on and refused help the rest of the time. “Me do it!”
He could have stayed at the microscope all day if we had let him! My little Scientist in the making.
This is getting long, so I’ll share the rest of our Field Museum day in the next post.
Have you ever gone to the Field Museum? Did your kids freak over the Underground Exhibit?