Friday, July 6, 2012

Big City Fun in Chicago Part 3

Continued from part 2.

Chicago definitely has some big museums. A good portion of our trip was spent visiting these grand institutions and viewing the wonders stored inside.

7. Museum of Science and Industry
This is a big museum that is very well set up.  The place has interactive exhibits on tornadoes, tsunamis, avalanches, and fire.  They have a massive tesla coil which you cannot mistake when it goes off with a zap!  A 5 story high tornado simulator is very cool.  The space exploration exhibits has an actual Apollo capsule, space suits, etc.  The transportation area has a massive train diorama with full sized Stuka dive bomber, a Spitfire and an old Jet suspended in the air.  There is a lot to see here.
Our favourite exhibits here were the U-505 U-Boat Exhibit with a real captured German U-boat that you can tour through.  The interiors are claustrophobically cramped with valves and switches all over the place.  I wanted to watch Das Boot after touring the sub. When it was operational the insides of these "swine boats," as the German crews called them, must have been pretty rank as crewmen didn't have many changes of clothes or regular showers.  However, the sub still only smells like motor oil and diesel inside now.  They've done a great job telling the story about the U-boat crews and the capture of the U-boat and its Enigma machine.  A first rate exhibit.
There was a temporary Mythbusters exhibit there too that was a great deal of fun.  You could try your hand at busting a few myths and seeing the props and devices created on the show.
A must see for any Mythbusters fan. I cannot dodge a bullet based on my experience in one of the experiments.

8 . The Art Institute of Chicago
This is a wonderful art museum with a wide collection.  They even had some pottery on display from the Jomun period (I wrote about Haniwas and Dogus here) there along with some amazing Tang Dynasty ceramics.  One of the rooms there was designed by Tando Mori the famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando and it is quiet meditative space with these pillars.
 There is a nice collection of Impressionist art with Monet, Van Gogh, and Seurat as highlights.  Seurat's big painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was a star attraction. A giant Warhol of Mao was another nice thing that I saw.  The famous Nighthawks painting by Edward Hopper was pretty nice too.

A special exhibit of Roy Lichtenstein comic book style artwork was the big highlight of the visit.  His artwork is just wonderful in how it blends the simplified style of the comic book with something deeper.  I particularly like his work that has comic book panels with text.

The restaurants in the museum are pretty nice too and we made a long day of it here as there is so much art.

9. The Field Museum
A big old natural history museum with anthropological, geological, and paleontological exhibits. Star attractions here include Sue the most complete T-Rex Skeleton in the world along with a very nice Egyptian artifacts exhibit and a huge exhibit on the development of life on the earth from the earliest organisms, through the dinosaurs to the recent past.  The Americas native cultural exhibits were also very informative and includes a massive Aztec Sunstone replica.  Lots to do for kids too and you can spend a long time in here as it is sooo big.
Anyhow, this little trip to Chicago walked my feet off and was a ton of fun.  While I won't be back soon as there are many other places I would like to visit it was pretty worthwhile.

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