In the many times I’ve visited Chicago, I never stepped once foot in the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). Before kids, my priority was to see family, visit the Art Institute, go shopping and try some new restaurants when I am in town. Part of the reason why I wanted to go this time around was to see their annual Christmas Around the World exhibit where about 60-something Christmas trees are each decorated with traditional ornaments from a particular country or region. We were happy to find both the Philippines and France were represented!
I also did not know prior to this visit that MSI is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. The actual building is in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Fair. The number of permanent installations are varied and fascinating from a replica coal mine and a German submarine captured during WWII to a passenger train and typical science demonstrations of lightnings and tsunamis.
If you are ever in the Chicago area, this museum is a must-see. Plan to spend most of your day as there are SO many things to visit. My favorite was the installation of the largest pinball (according to the Guinness Book of Records) that travels through various Swiss landmarks. It was amazing to see how someone can manually create all the landmarks and assemble them in such an artistic and fun way that would be interesting to both kids and adults alike!