Spotlight On: The Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and IndustryThe Museum of Science and Industry was opened in 1933, and it is still the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. It has many diverse exhibits, including a German submarine from World War II and Apollo 8, the first spacecraft to carry humans to the moon. Located in Jackson Park, the museum is situated between Lake Michigan and the University of Chicago, and it is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts that was built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Some of the extraordinary exhibits include Coal Mine, the first interactive exhibit at the museum that includes a tour of what a fully functioning mine would look like. The submarine on display is one of only two German submarines captured during World War II. This unique exhibit, called The New U-505 Experience, was introduced to the public on June 5, 2005.
United Airlines donated a Boeing 727 to the museum for their Take Flight showcase, and it is now housed in the Transportation Gallery. The museum cut off one of the wings and cut a few holes into the side of the jet, making it open to visitor access so they can explore the inner and outer workings of an actual plane. One of the other transportation exhibits in the museum is The Great Train Story, a 3,500 square foot model railroad showing transportation from Chicago to Seattle. This features more than 190 custom models of landmarks and buildings including Chicago’s Willis Tower and Union Station, along with Seattle’s Space Needle and King Street Station. This exhibit was funded with $3.5 million in donations from multiple donors.
One of the exhibits, called Genetics: Decoding Life, features adorable baby chicks in a hatchery. In this exhibit, visitors will learn all about human and animal genetics and how they affect each other. The exhibit includes an incubator, where the visitors can watch baby chicks hatch from their eggs, as well as a different pen for those already hatched, allowing visitors to  watch them interact and grow.
Another very interesting exhibit in this museum is the Toymaker 3000 where you can actually watch a toy being made, and then you get to keep it! This is a working assembly line that teaches visitors how products are manufactured, as well as how humans have managed to streamline the automation process with machines.
Next to the Toymaker 3000 is the Wanger Family Fab Lab where visitors can literally “build anything.” This exhibit is a small-scale workshop with machines creating prototypes that allow you to dream up, design and create almost anything you can imagine. Some of the interesting equipment that can be found in this lab includes a laser cutter, which is used for sheet metal cutting, the Modela milling machines used for 3-D milling and scanning, and electrical stations that have an abundant amount of electrical equipment including circuit boards, resistors, LED lights, solar panels and small LCD screens.
The Museum of Science and Industry is open daily with extended summer hours from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Beginning Sept. 1, the museum will be open regular hours from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Museum entry is $18 per adult, $11 for children ages 3 through 11 and $17 for seniors 65 and better. You can also choose to purchase museum Explorer ticket pages, which include entry and access to special exhibits. These tickets range from $18 to $36. In addition, parking is $20 per vehicle. To purchase your tickets online, click here.
To learn more about the Museum of Science and Industry, visit