Two big birthdays happened in the past few weeks. I turned 35 and the little guy turned 2. You may recall that 35 years ago was the winter of 1978 to ’79, another miserable winter that my mom and many local meteorologists have referred to lately. Two years ago, the winter was nice and mild except, of course, for the snowstorm that fell on Chicago the day our son was born. Like mother, like son?
For his part, he definitely loves snow and would still play outside all day every day if I would let him.
Instead, I’ve been working hard to find indoor activities to keep him busy. This led us to spend some birthday time at The Field Museum. Lucky for us, it was free general admission day for all Illinois residents. We still paid $22 for parking and $33 for three adult admissions to the temporary exhibit “Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair.”
Still, the free day saved us $54 as the regular fee is $18 per adult just to enter the doors. Upcoming free days are today, Feb. 13, Feb. 18 to 19 and Feb. 24 to 27.
For information on tickets and hours, visit fieldmuseum.org.
The Columbian Exposition exhibit opened in October and runs through Sept. 7. Inside, we saw artifacts and specimens that were on display at the fair and have rarely been seen by the public in the past 120 years. I learned that many of the objects from the fair became part of the museum’s founding collections.
Some of these artifacts were pretty boring to me and my co-visitors. There was a case of birds and feathers, raw materials from South America, a sample of tree trunk specimens and examples of taxidermy. Collections came from all over the world and in 1835, I’m sure these were something to see. In 2014, I’m sorry to say I was expecting fair-related items that were a little more interesting.
The opening gallery did include a few cool artifacts such as souvenirs and archival photographs. Large scale projections were well done and technological enhancements included moving figures and waving flags to make you feel like the scenes were alive.
Overall, this exhibit was definitely designed for adults and not kids. If possible, I would recommend taking turns walking through as little ones enjoy other parts of the museum with another family member.
The museum’s Crown Family Playlab provided a more lively place for us and our son especially enjoyed the room of drums from other countries. He showed off his dance moves to the different beats and played a few tunes of his own. He also had a chance to uncover a dinosaur bone and play with a large scene full of dinosaur magnets. Both were a hit.
It had been a long time since we had visited the museum and it was the first time for the little guy. I think we all enjoyed a chance to get out and see new things in an indoor, heated setting.