Headed to Chicago this spring break? Or you are a Chicagoan staying home to enjoy the city? Chicago museums have you covered when it comes to spring break fun with a dash of learning. Here are three exhibits at Chicago museums that you won't want to miss this spring in Chicago — one made entirely with LEGOs, one featuring 2,000-year-old warrior statues, and another that turns kids into TV meteorologists.
1) Brick by Brick at the Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry's newest temporary exhibit, Brick by Brick, is a must a visit if you have LEGO-lovers in your family. The exhibit features a collection of more than a dozen amazing LEGO-built structures, all constructed by LEGO Certified Professional and Chicago native, Adam Reed Tucker, including a 60-foot-long Golden Gate Bridge; the Hoover Dam, made with 42,000 bricks; and a 12-foot-tall Burj Khalifa.
My family especially appreciated the LEGO versions of some of our fave Chicagoland sights, such as the operating American Eagle roller coaster from Six Flags Great America and the reconstruction of the 1893 World Fair's White City. Brainy challenges, including the chance to walk on the beams of Chicago's Hancock Center and build a Chicago-style skyscraper of your very own, make this exhibit not only educational but also interactive and fun.
Brick by Brick (open now through February 2017) is not included in Museum Entry and requires an additional timed-entry ticket: $9 for adults and $7 for kids ages 3-11, available in Explorer ticket packages. Visit msichicago.org for pre-purchase (avoid the line!) and additional museum information.
2) China's First Emporer and His Terracotta Warriors at the Field Museum
Here's your chance to see in person what many consider the 8th wonder of the world: Emperor Qin Shihuang, commissioned an army of thousands of warriors, sculpted from terracotta, to protect him in the afterlife. Buried for centuries, the warriors were uncovered by a farmer digging a well in 1974.
This beautifully presented exhibit tells the astounding story of the tomb complex of China's first emperor, and features nine full-size human figures, including several warriors, a general, an acrobat, and an official, as well as one life-size horse. Two replica warriors are painted in the vivid purple, teal, and red that the terracotta army wore.
Be sure to sit down and view the short film that outlines this incredible archaeological discovery upon entering the exhibit.
Tickets to China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors (open now through January 2017) are included in both the Discovery and All-Access passes to the Museum. Visit fieldmuseum.org for prices and to purchase tickets.
3) Weather to Climate: Our Changing World at the Notebaert Nature Museum
Climate change can be difficult to explain to little ones, but The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum brings the issue to a child's level, showcasing the science behind climate change and helping kids think of ways that they can reduce their own carbon footprints. Kids will enjoy the simulated weather effects, including rolling thunder, swirling fog and howling wind. At an interactive weather simulator, kids can even mix up a thunderstorm or create a tornado of their very own!
Budding meteorologists can step in front of the green screen in the climate studio and report on the weather via a real teleprompter.
Live animals such as the Desert Hairy Scorpion, Brown Recluse Spider, Massasauga Snake and a Blanding's Turtle will be on hand to highlight how certain species are being affected by climate change and a fun "Carbon Reducer" game will show kids exactly how much CO2 they produce.
Weather to Climate: Our Changing World opens on April 2, 2016 at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 North Cannon Drive, just off Lake Shore Drive at Fullerton in Lincoln Park. For more info and tickets, visit naturemuseum.org.