If you live close to Chicago, or have any reason to travel there with your kids, you owe it to your family to visit the amazing Field Museum.
The Field Museum is bar-none the best natural history museum I have ever seen. I’m a stickler for the “museum experience.” I look for clear delineation between exclusive exhibits, heavily notated displays and easy access to the good stuff. And at the Field, the good stuff is everywhere.
If you’ve never been to a natural history museum (or if you’ve only been to really bad ones), you may need to do a bit of prep with your kids. There is a lot of taxidermy in the Field Museum. So if your kid is squeamish/concerned about those things, this may not be for you. But, if your kid has always wanted to get up-close to an pangolin, jackpot! As far as the taxidermy goes, the Field Museum displays top-notch work and engages the animals in native habitats that are respectful of the creatures. It’s like a still-life zoo where you can get face-to-face with almost any animal you could imagine.
But for us, the dinosaurs were the big draw. The Field Museum houses the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton in the world, which goes by the name of Sue. Sue has become a mini-empire at the Field Museum, and you can buy her beautiful face on everything from story books to Christmas ornaments and art kits. Sue is awesome. You can also see pterosaurs, recreate the “hoot” of a parasaurolophus and learn that the brontosaurus is not a real dinosaur (The Flintstones lied to me!).
In honor of Sue’s 10th anniversary, they’ve unveiled Sue Escapes! a robo-dinosaur experience and a special 3-D movie which has been extended to January 2011. Through their website you can even send Sue a birthday gift (and get a response back via email).
The Field Museum is a part of Chicago’s Museum Campus, along with the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field. We went with a dino-savvy three year old and could have spent two full days at the Field Museum, so plan your visit accordingly and be sure to allot time for the Shedd Aquarium. It’s a unique experience where you and your family will learn and explore the wonders of the natural world and have fun. And what’s batter than that?