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Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry Ignites Spark in Future Scientists

Question: Where can you climb aboard a World War II submarine, fly on a 727-jet plane, plunge into a working coal mine and work alongside robots in a toy factory?

Answer: The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, is the place with more than 35,000 artifacts and 14-plus acres of hands-on exhibits designed to solicit scientific inquiry and creativity.

The museum’s most popular exhibits:
This U-505 Submarine is the only German U-boat captured during World War II. A prized artifact, it is one of only five U-boats still in existence and the only one in the United States. In 2005, the vessel became part of a new indoor, 35,000-square foot interactive exhibit that tells the story of its dramatic capture.

The Coal Mine, a reproduction of an Illinois coal mine, takes visitors 50 feet in a real hoist to the bottom of a mineshaft.

ToyMaker 3000, a real toy factory staffed by 12 robots, features an automated assembly line that make 300 toy tops per hour.

The Great Train Story, a dynamic 3,500-square foot model train display, illustrates modern rail operations in America. This permanent display includes more than 30 trains racing along 1,400 feet of track on a cross-country trip between Chicago and Seattle.

Take Flight
uses a real United Airlines 727-jet plane to explain commercial flight. In 1994, the museum landed the Boeing 727 aircraft at Chicago’s Meigs Field. (The jet was the largest plane ever to land at the airport). From Meigs Field, it was towed across Lake Michigan and over Lake Shore Drive to the museum, where it was cantilevered into the east balcony. Take Flight allows guest to experience a simulated take off and landing.

Genetics: Decoding Life provides guests a better understanding of the basics of DNA. Also located at this exhibit is the Baby Chick Hatchery, which still excites and amazes guests. The first baby chick was hatched at the museum in 1956.

Game On: The History, Culture and Future of Video Games
made its U.S. debut at the museum in 2005. More than 100 playable games take guests through 60 years of this ever-growing industry.

Every Visit a Unique Experience
Live demonstrations, held daily, encourage deeper exploration into the concepts introduced by various museum exhibits. Guests can participate in four 10-15 minute demonstrations: “See Your Own DNA” (Genetics), “Magnets: The Rules of Attraction” (Reusable City), “Petrochemicals, Polymers and You” (Petroleum Planet) and “Materials Matter: It’s a Nanoworld After All” (Reusable City).

In 1893 in Chicago’s Jackson Park, the Palace of Fine Arts was constructed for the World’s Columbian Exposition, which opened the same year. Forty years later, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago opened in that same building. It was the first in America to feature interactive exhibits and continues to fascinate visitors even 70 years later.

Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637-2093
(800) GO-TO-MSI
(773) 684-1414

Photos Courtesy: Pioneer Zephyr - Scott Brownell, Museum of Science and Industry; Transportation Zone - Scott Brownell, Museum of Science and Industry; ToyMaker 3000 - Scott Brownell, Museum of Science and Industry.