Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Boy was supposed to go Sunday night at his grandparents' house, but he spent Saturday night on the bathroom floor, so his visit was postponed. The Girl, who was the first of our family to get the stomach virus earlier in the week, went anyway. As consolation, I took The Boy on an outing on Monday. He got to pick where we went and what we did.

He choose "the train museum," by which he means the Museum of Science and Industry. So, yesterday afternoon, The Boy, The Baby and I all headed south to MSI. I can't stand paying $12 to park, so I nearly always park on the street and walk the two or three blocks to the museum, even in the frigid temperatures and wind like we had yesterday. And yesterday, we parked on 56th Street and walked, although we ran across the open field in front of the museum (The Boy "won" the race; I was hampered by The Baby strapped to my front).

Our membership to the Notebaert has lapsed, so we had to pay the full fares to get in--$8.50 for The Boy and $12.00 for me, a discount of $1.50 for Chicago residents. I also rented a stroller for $2 to haul around our stuff and give my shoulders a break from schlepping around The Baby.

The Jollyball was experiencing difficulties, so when the ball got stuck, we went upstairs to the train hall. And stayed there for quite some time--over an hour, I think--watching the model trains go around, delighting in the details of the huge exhibit, and discovering new facets of the exhibit. The Baby nursed for a bit on the bench behind the streetcar, and later fell asleep in the mei-tei. After we were all done watching the trains, I let The Boy get a train from the Mold-O-Rama in the train hall.

We spent the next hour of our visit exploring various parts of the museum. Many favorite exhibits were closed for renovations, including the Coal Mine (although The Boy has never been), historical street with its ice cream parlor, and the Idea Factory in the basement. We did, however, get to watch a baby chick hatch out of its egg in the incubator in the Genetics exhibit, and see all the previously hatched chicks run around, eat and drink on the other side--The Boy really liked that.

We headed downstairs to let The Baby stretch his legs in the Idea Factory, but discovered that it was closed. We wandered around the corner through a circus exhibit and through the Eye See hall (also partially closed for renovation), and then to see the U-505 sub. We never made it to see the actual sub, because The Boy was scared by the darkness and ominous sounds leading up to the sub itself. I don't think I've ever seen the sub myself--it wasn't the sort of thing that I was interested in when I was a child on one of our many excursions to that museum. However, since I have read Shadowdivers, I now really want to see it. I told The Dad afterward that we should go back just the two of us sometime so that I can check it out.

We then headed back in the other direction to see the ships and the racing cars (also partially under renovation). We spent a good deal of time talking about the parts on the model ships and what they were for. I let The Baby down for some exercise and he was so mad that he couldn't get through the glass to touch the model ships!

The virtual simulation of the 1893 World's Fair exposition was going on over the weekend, but the tickets were all sold out/booked up by the time we got to MSI at around 1 p.m. I would have liked to have seen that, but perhaps they'll bring it back.

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