Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fly Away: Chicago Part 2: The New Tinkering Lab at the Chicago Children's Museum

On our last visit to Chicago a few years back, we visited a highly crowded Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier (after a rainy, but pretty awesome, sail on Tall Ship Windy). This time around, we went with a real mission: to check out the new Tinkering Lab, which is chock full of real tools and real materials to create, destroy ... tinker. Fortunately our Aunt Carrie is now a member of the museum and members can get in to the museum an hour early on Fridays and Sundays. Sweet.

We took a brief detour at the firetruck, but then headed on up to the Tinkering Lab, where Kane and I about lost our minds. We quickly donned safety goggles and rummaged through the bins of materials and tools. Mom set us up at a real work table and we got into it. We used real drills, hammers and screwdrivers to start building (mom drew a line at the saws). Then Kane discovered the wall of "take apart" items and scored a CPU that the museum staff had used to build a sort of sculpture. And he got to take it apart and put something back together again. He said he was building a super secret spy phone booth.

Me? I told mom I was making her a latte -- you know, with a paper cup and a hand drill that looked a lot like a milk frother. Mom was a fan of my tinkering skills.

In addition to open access to all the materials and many serious tools, the Tinkering Lab has a "power tool bar" where you can use real power tools with the assistance of a museum staff member. The museum can get so crowded, but we seriously recommend checking out the Tinkering Lab -- we've never been anywhere else like it.

Once we had tinkered around for a while, we walked out to find a beautiful day on Navy Pier AND OUR DADDY! He had finally arrived. It was way too nice out to head back inside, so instead we took a touristy cruise with daddy, grandpa and mom (our cousins were planning to go back home for lunch, but ended up sticking around on the pier -- it was that nice out). We sat on the top deck for almost the whole ride and arrived back to find our cousins waiting for us.

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