Written by: Beth Boston

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is the largest science Museum in the Western Hemisphere—and it’s right here in Chicago! If you haven’t checked out MSI in a while, or even if you have, there is always something new to discover and great family memories to be made. In addition to the countless iconic favorites at MSI—the U-505 Submarine, the Coal Mine and the Baby Chick Hatchery—here are just a few other suggestions for what to check out at MSI this fall:

Explore 80 Years of Innovation: The Museum turned 80 this year, and to celebrate, we’ve selected 80 artifacts from the Museum’s collection of more than 35,000 pieces to help tell MSI’s story—and the story of innovation. In the 80 at 80 exhibit, you’ll see some nostalgic pieces from past MSI exhibits, but also some remarkable inventions for the time. See an 1870s “dog treadmill” used to help generate power around the farm, learn how modern-day GPS started with the 1909 Jones Live Map Meter; or witness a 3-D sensor navigation system at work, which may one day allow for self-driving cars.







Check out the exhibit with a “Twist”:The Museum’s new Science Storms exhibit features more than 50 hands-on activities and challenges that showcase the science behind nature. But there’s one in particular that’s hard to miss: the 40-foot indoor tornado! Guests can manipulate this swirling vortex of vapor and learn the physics behind the phenomena. After your time with the tornado, don’t forget to experience our avalanche disk, wave tank, lightning-producing Tesla Coil—and much more.

Get Re-energized: Challenge yourself in the Museum’s newest permanent experience, Future Energy Chicago. You’ll compete on a team in a fun and fast-paced simulation game that will have you thinking about how we use energy in a whole new way while designing an energy-efficient car and house, improving tomorrow’s neighborhood, and reinventing Chicago’s transportation and power grid systems. You’ll also have the chance to play in the Energy Garden, which uses your body’s own power to make the exhibit come alive.

Have a “Fab” Experience: In the Museum’s new Wanger Family Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory), Museum guests become inventors in short, facilitated workshops. The Fab Lab—with its cutting-edge software, materials and laser cutters—allows you to create a keychain design, make a sticker and come away with your own MSI invention! 

Dig a Little Deeper into MSI:  Get your tickets for MSI’s WOW! Tour and take a behind-the-scenes look at some of MSI’s favorite and secret spaces. You’ll learn what it takes to keep The Great Train Story running, see how a giant-screen film projection room works, and even get the opportunity to operate some iconic MSI exhibits.

There’s something for everyone at MSI, and we hope to see you and your family soon!  For easy tools to plan your visit and to purchase tickets in advance, visit or call (773) 684-1414.

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM