Amy Clark

Lessons Learned from a Day Trip to the Museum

You guys left some fabulous vacation tips in my last entry- thanks for the tips on all of the things to do in the Chicago area and ways to see the sites in the US for cheap!

Well, we survived a day trip with the two children to the Museum of Science & Industry, in Chicago, Illinois. We were in survival mode, as Emily did not enjoy any portion of it and cried almost the entire day. She did not seem to appreciate the sites or the train ride there. Lesson #1 learned: Taking an 18 month old to the museum is quite challenging and no amount of tricks in mommy’s bag were interesting enough. This stage is very hard with kids because they don’t want to ride in the stroller for any length of time, but she is also not walking so we couldn’t set her loose either.

The hard part, for us, was that the returning train times were so limited. The first one (around 12:30) would have been too early, but the one later (after four), was way too late. We had to wait for the later train and the kids were both too tired to enjoy anything as the day progressed. Six hours in a museum with two children who desperately needed a nap was too long for them and for us us. We must have looked pretty bad as a man came up to us and told us that he could tell that we looked like we had a long day. I mentioned that the train times were limited to South Bend and he taught me our next lesson. Lesson #2 learned: There are many more time slots available taking the train out of Michigan City versus the South Bend location. Although we would have to drive 45 minutes, we would still not be driving in Chicago, and we would shave some of the time off of the train trip. We are definitely going to be doing that next time!

Ethan did enjoy the train ride though and struck up a long conversation with the conductor including telling him his age, his cousin’s age, and all about where he was going. He was in heaven on the way there, but the novelty did wear off on the return trip.

Ethan’s favorite part of the museum was definitely the train exhibit. If you have a little boy who is into trains, this is a great place to take them. They let you tour a train with a conductor and learn all about it. There are also amazing trains to look at and train sets to watch. He wanted to stay in that section for hours.

We also appreciated the museums, “Idea Factory” which was a special play area for the kids to burn off some energy. They had a section of the area dedicated to children under 36 months, with tons of things to look at and do. Emily enjoyed playing in the water table and playing on their baby jungle gym. As a side note, they had a changing area and an area for mommies to able to rock their little ones and nurse them privately. When I was nursing, this was a huge perk for me, so I thought I would mention it!

Overall, we did have a wonderful trip. I think next time we will either pick the train up at an alternate location, or next time just take Ethan on his own. The important part for us was that we create some really great memories for our family, and I think we accomplished that! We look forward to many more of the free admission days in Chicago and we thank the Museum of Science & Industry for giving us the opportunity to visit such an amazing museum for free!

Total spent for train: $40 (the children rode for free because we took advantage of the train’s Family Fare)
Total spent at the museum: $12 (for drinks & a special treat at the end of the day)
Cost for a day in Chicago for a family of four: $52

I hope you enjoyed your virtual day trip with us!

Published June 05, 2007 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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