This was one of my most fun weekend. We had originally cramped a number of activities in two days but we didn’t realise that exploring just one museum can can take up so much of your time! Anyways…nothing went in vain…we did manage to finish all the things on our list..just not on one weekend. That is exactly when the idea of a themed weekend cropped in my mind..there are too many things to do…its difficult to do them all at once, enjoy them thoroughly and still have energy for Mondays 😛
I had been in Chicago for almost a month and the crazy winters had prevented us from exploring much of the city. But there was a weekend coming by on which we just wanted to get out of the house and do some exploring! So there was exploring to be done…but indoors and I hadn’t checked out the museums here yet…so it was decided…a museum weekend!!
To start out…we cover most of the tourist spots in Chicago in one weekend…but later we split them. We had purchased the Chicago City Pass for this. Here you get to visit the best tourist attractions in the city at a discounted rate. The Chicago City Pass give you entry to 5 of the following destinations
- Shedd Aquarium
- Skydeck Chicago
- The Field Museum
- Museum of Science and Industry or Chicago observation Deck
- Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago
This pass is valid for 9 consecutive days from the first visit and all the visits are priority or express…so less waiting time and more fun time 🙂
So we started our Museum themed weekend with The Field Museum. Located in Chicago’s Famous Museum Campus, the Field Museum is home to a massive collection of exhibits from all cultures and eras. With the Chicago Citypass, we had priority entry into the Museum along with choice of one movie from the number of movies playing on that day and access to all paid exhibits! This museum is also home to the largest skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex ever excavated named Sue which is a major attraction here. Unfortunately Sue is on the move…they are relocating it to another floor in a new home so we got just a tiny glimpse of her 😦 (Sue will be out on display from March 2019)
The Museum has some really interesting exhibits such as inside Ancient Egypt where you get to view one of the largest collections of mummies found in any U.S Museums and get a view into the dioramas of ancient Egyptian workshops to see how the mummification process used to be conducted. Their Main Level has a huge exhibit of Nature Walk, where you will see numerous animals from different parts of the world and how they evolved.
The museum is divided into Ground Level, Main Level and Upper Level with every level having at-least 8 extremely detailed exhibits, discovery centers and labs for the kids in addition to their 3D Theater and special exhibits which they change regularly. It took us more than an hour to complete the tour of each floor in addition to the movie which we choose to watch.
Another interesting exhibit in the museum is the Dinosaur Hall, which has a massive collection of Dinosaurs. Every exhibit is explained in detail and this makes it more of a fun learning experience for everyone!
The Museum has two cafes, the Explorer Cafe on the Ground Level and the Field Bistro on the Upper Level. Both of these serve some really delicious meals which is something you need on a day full of walking and exploring!! So day one for us was just the Field Museum, it left us tired but this place is something I can go back to again and again and never get tired 🙂
Day 2 – Shedd Aquarium
If you are an animal lover like me…be prepared to starting waving and talking to all the lovely fishies here 😛 . Also situated in the Museum Campus, the Shedd Aquarium is home to a huge variety of aquatic species. With our City Pass, we again had priority access into the Aquarium and a choice of one movie.
The Aquarium has a multi-level layout with different exhibits on each level. On the main level all the aquatic creatures are placed as per their regions of origin. Further these exhibits are made to replicate their habitat so they feel more at home.
As you move down to the lower levels you get to see the larger exhibits and check out their aquatic presentations. Make sure to check the daily presentations at the entry point and get your ticket from the kiosks situated at various points in the aquarium at the earliest. The dolphin and penguin presentation gets filled up pretty soon! This is because it is an amazing and entertaining presentation where you get to meet their dolphins, penguins and watch how they are cared for by the aquarium staff. This is also an interactive presentation so if you enter early and grab the seats up front you are in for a treat 😀
The Aquarium has a number of interactive activities which you can participate in and they are especially fun for the kids..these activity spots however tend to get crowded pretty soon so be patient for your turn 🙂 Our day 2 concluded with the Aquarium visit and a walk around Museum Campus where we got this amazing view!!
- The Museum Campus is a great picnic spot so if you visit in summer or spring I would suggest make it a outdoors picnic at lunchtime
- Don’t forget to check out Lake Michigan from 12th Street Beach behind the Shedd Aquarium…I will be visiting it soon in summer 😀
- The Museum has its special free museum days for residents of Illinois, the next ones are on June 20 – 22 so mark your calenders!!
- The Shedd Aquarium has free days too on June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19…so an ideal plan would be to visit the Aquarium on June 19 and the Musuem on June 20th 😀 !!
- The staff at both these places is amazing!! They are more than happy to help you out…so if you are confused which movie to watch or which exhibit to go for…just ask them they will guide you to the best one