Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicago Children's Museum

I finally overcame my aversion to the idea of paying $24 for parking at Navy Pier (ie, I was finally prepared to just suck it up) and headed over with hubby and Mia last Saturday morning. I thought I'd beat the rush and get in easy by getting there right before the Pier and Museum opened at 10am - I thought wrong. It was a crazy mess getting into the lot and then finding a spot, and I don't know if this is typical or if it was because of some of the events taking place that day. I imagine that there is usually something taking place on any given weekend.

At any rate, after finally parking we headed on over to the museum. Once inside, we had a blast. The current Play it Safe exhibit is still a bit over her head, but she certainly enjoyed riding in the enormous red fire truck that greeted us just past the entrance. The huge steering wheel and buttons controlling the sirens were pretty exciting for her.

Mia's favorite area was Treehouse Trails, where she loved sitting in a cute little canoe and pulling fish out of a little stream. She was also able to do some climbing, something she's been mastering lately, going through a forest setting with trails and a big slide.

We also loved Kids Town - it's an area set up like a neighborhood, with a truck to sit in, a bus to drive or ride with real bus seats, steering wheel and dashboard, and a post office and grocery store. Mia was fascinated with the bus, since on the way over that morning we sat at a red light next to a bus, and it was the first time Mia had gotten a really good view of the people inside. So the bus actually made sense to her. I think.

We stopped into Big Backyard, which looked great but Mia was starting to get grumpy and it seemed a bit more suited to older kids. There was definitely PLENTY for a 22 month old to do here, and I can't wait til she's bigger to take advantage of some of the amazing things for the older kids. They had a great climbing area, where kids were climbing up rope tunnels, a WaterWays exhibit where kids can learn about how we use the power of water, and an arts studio with scheduled arts & crafts activities.

Overall, worth the Saturday morning parking hassle, and a great experience for kids of all ages. I'm planning to go back a lot in the summer when we can pop into the museum and then enjoy the rest of Navy Pier.

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