Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fly Away: Chicago Part 1: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

We spent our first morning in Chicago meeting up with our cousins at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (the museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences). It was our first time visiting the Lincoln Park museum and we thought it was AWESOME -- a perfect balance between a children's museum and a nature center with something for kids of all ages. Almost every exhibit offers a good mix of play and learning. We're pretty sure if we lived in Chicago, we'd take full advantage of the serious array of programming offered there.

Instead, we spent a rambunctious morning (it was our first time seeing our cousins this trip!) exploring the museum's exhibits. Favorites included Mysteries of the Marsh and the adjacent Family Look-in Lab(where we viewed lots of marsh-dwelling animals in tanks), the Hands-on Habitat (part playground part schooling on environments), the Butterfly Haven (a nice-sized room with identification sheets available), RiverWorks (offering a working/playing model of many of Chicago's water engineering feats), and the outdoor Nature Trails (of which we only briefly sampled). Mom was not excited about the Birds of Chicago exhibit, but thought everything else was well done (especially the art exhibit using insects to make wallpaper -- super cool).

(kane wasn't feeling that great ... but he perked up after this when we hit the riverworks exhibit)

After we exhausted ourselves, we ate our packed lunch in the sunny entryway next to the gift store -- there is not cafeteria per se, but there are vending machines and the gift store sells a small variety of drinks, sandwiches and salads. Free street parking close the museum is available, but we suggest arriving early to get a spot -- the Lincoln Park Zoo (which we checked out on our last visit) is right next door. The Green City Market will return to its outdoor location on May 4th (directly across from the zoo) and offers a good option for eating on Wednesdays and Saturdays AND RIGHT NOW is open Saturdays at the Nature Museum (we also went to the market during our visit to the zoo a few years back and are big fans).

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