I don't remember. I also don't remember the last time I went to the Field Museum in Chicago. I think it was some time in the 90's, when my older kids were still into dinosaurs, and when we thought it would be cool to drive 2 hours so they could get a gander at some prehistoric skeletons.
Nowadays they'd rather spend their time playing computer games, so we have to (literally in a few cases) drag them out of the house to get them to go on this kind of trip. Nevertheless, we packed our cooler full of tuna sandwiches, filled up the PTMobile, and headed south.
After trying to decide which was the lesser of two evils, i.e. wait on line and pay for admission, or sneak over to the membership line and become partial owners of the museum, we chose the latter. A cool $100 later we were ready to head to...
...the bathroom. Seriously, after 2 hours of driving and waiting in line, this was our first stop. The kids mostly waited for us while I suspect the Mrs. had to wait in yet another line for an available stall.
Then, feeling the pressure of "we just paid $100 for admission, and an extra $4 per person for the special exhibit", we decided to get in line to see...
...Pompeii. This was actually a pretty cool exhibit about the volcanic destruction of the city of Pompeii by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 (or CE 79 for those of you who care). I think I would have enjoyed it much more if I weren't competing with hundreds of other people for glimpses of the various artifacts and dioramas. It seems often I would push and shove my way through just in time to give The PT a view of a cast of a woman who had died in some ghastly manner. The exhibit was truly terrifying in many respects and I actually did learn a lot about volcanoes and Pompeii. I'd recommend it, but try to go at more of an off-peak time.
From there we went to see the new exhibit on Chinese Dinosaurs (seriously), where we were treated to the assembled skeletons of such beasts as Szechuanosaurus and Sweetandsourasaurus (not so seriously).
OK, now take a look at this:
They were trying to tell me that in life, this collection of bones looked like this:
I'll tell you what this looked like to me. It looked like there were extra bones that they didn't know what to do with. This is very likely what it would be like if I tried to assemble a motorcycle without directions. Guys, I really think you didn't put all the pieces together the right way.
From there, we went to an exhibit where we were magically shrunk down to the size of a small insect and stuck underground.
And I think the main point of this exhibit was that you never want to be magically shrunk down to the size of a small insect and stuck underground, because it's disgusting and dangerous down there. Seriously, I think the best thing we can try to teach our children is how many filthy, slimy, and and repulsive things there are slithering around in any given cubic inch of dirt. They will never want to play outdoors again.
From there, we turned to some of the older, more politically incorrect exhibits, like this Pawnee Earth Lodge.
Where I just had to snap a few shots for Wickwire.
We had a very Brady afternoon.
As we passed through the halls, I noticed a sign for The Auschwitz Album, and at first I didn't want to go in. The point of the afternoon was to have fun with the kids, and this didn't strike me as a fun thing to do. But somehow I found myself going there anyway. I have to say I wasn't that impressed with it. I didn't see anything I hadn't already seen before, or had described in more graphic and gut-wrenching ways by books like Maus or my mother's own Holocaust story. Still, there was something about the exhibit that made it difficult for me to keep my eyes dry. The point seemed to be to follow several individuals from their arrival at Auschwitz to their death in the gas chamber. The fact that names were assigned to people in the pictures made it more chilling, as you could follow them along their route to death. But somehow...it wasn't as horrible as it should have been.
I've read that Hungarian Jews were exterminated so quickly that they didn't have time to turn into the familiar, emaciated images we typically associate with concentration camp victims. That may be the case here. They look relatively normal up until we see the notation regarding who was killed. But maybe there was something about seeing these big pictures of the place where my grandparents died that made me emotional. I had to leave.
Fortunately, the exhibit was right next to a standing exhibit depicting a Maori meeting house, so I was able to get this beautiful shot of The PT:
So, after this, we left and decided to go out for dinner. Fear not, those of you with small children! You may not believe it now, but there will come a day when you will be able to go out to eat with your kids and actually sit down and enjoy a meal with them like mentchin, without having to pre-feed them or chase them around the restaurant! Have hope!