Friday, November 07, 2008


The Boy, The Girl, The Tot, and I observed today's CPS professional development day, which gives The Boy and The Girl the day off, by going on an old-fashioned museum outing. We met Cara and Gracie at the Museum of Science and Industry, using The Boy's first-day-of-school voucher to gain admittance to the museum gratis.

As usual, parking on Hyde Park's streets was easy to find, so we skipped $13 underground museum garage and trekked the block or so to the museum's main entrance. Fortunately, my kids are pretty used to my cheapskate ways about parking; they didn't even complain about the walk, although it was quite cold on the return trip. The landscape of the area -- LSD dividing a treeless lakefront from the wide lawn of MSI creates a wind tunnel: it is always blustery and windy down there. It was also overcast and the temperature dropped all day, so it was windier and colder than usual today.

We had arranged to meet Cara and Grace in front of the Jollyball, but ran into them in the elevator instead. The Boy was thrilled to see that the Jollyball was fixed and all 4 kids spent the better part of 1/2 an hour glued to the rail in front of it. It was The Tot's first real viewing of the contraption and he took it in silently, pulled up to the railing with a serious look on his face. Meanwhile, I enjoyed a cup of coffee from the nearby Brain Cafe and marveled at the lit and decorated Christmas trees already dotting the interior of the museum.

After my cuppa, we went upstairs to The Great Train Story exhibit, otherwise known in our household as "the choo-choo hall." It is an area that can (and has) easily occupy The Boy for most or all of our visits. The Tot, who has just discovered trains himself, was similarly enthralled with the trains. Unlike The Boy and The Girl, however, who run from step to step around the exhibit to see the trains from different vantage points, The Tot was content to watch everything go by from a single location.Alas, the girls were not content to watch trains all day and we moved on to the Genetics exhibit to watch the baby chicks come out of their shells. The Tot liked this as well. There were a few small school groups in the museum and one of them had named all of the hatching chicks, which was kind of cute. One of these days, perhaps on a future football Sunday, I'm going to have to go back to these museums without the kids so that I can actually explore the exhibits on my own timetable. The kids were completely uninterested in learning about the double helix structure of DNA, genes, genomes, etc. All in good time, I suppose.

Next, we went downstairs to the Idea Factory, which was mobbed. They were at maximum capacity, so we actually had to wait a few minutes to gain entry into the area. I barely saw The Boy once he got in -- he was quite happy "running the factory" toward the back of the exhibit. The Tot spent most of his time getting utterly drenched, taking balls out of the river and putting them into the air tube.

We all had lunch and then did a quick twirl through Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle. Twice (for The Girl -- Cara, Gracie and the boys checked out the fireman's area just outside of it). By then, we were all pretty tired so we decided to call it a day. On the way out, The Tot noticed the Silver Bullet/Zephyr; I told him that it would have to wait for another day.

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