Built in 1893 for the World’s Exposition, the palatial outward appearance of The Museum of Science and Industry is fitting for this is one of Chicago’s biggest and most substantial cultural attractions. This Chicago icon is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere and houses a wide ranging collection of exhibits, many of which are interactive.
The Transportation Gallery includes a German U-boat from World War II captured off the coast of West Africa in 1944. Another rare item is the Pioneer Zephyr, an original 1930’s train with its sleek, silver bullet like appearance. Wonderful exhibits on ships and planes are also on hand, including an actual Boeing 727. Inside tours of all three are available. Of course one can’t miss the Space Gallery where the Apollo 8 command module can be found. The first manned space vehicle to leave earth’s orbit and circle the moon, Apollo 8 captured the famous Earthrise photo, taken as the craft rounded the moon while a new day dawned back on earth.
Science and nature come together in the impressive Science Storms exhibit revealing the fascinating science behind such things as lightning, tornados and tsunamis. The Whispering Gallery is another permanent exhibit opened in 1938 demonstrating how sound travels. Human genetics exhibits along with You! The Experience and Earth Revealed all highlight the complexity of life and offer valuable insight into the things that make us who we are both as individuals and as a species. Many other eye opening exhibits are on hand including one that offers a view into what life on earth might look like in the future.
The museum is located on the south side of downtown in the Hyde Park area. Metra trains from downtown stop at the 55th/56th/57th Street station just two blocks from the museums north entrance. Bus service is available from North Michigan Avenue on the #10 Museum which drops off at the museum entrance. Alternatively the #2 Hyde Park Express or the #6 Jackson Park Express drop off one block from the museum.