Monday, April 11, 2011

Free Tourism! Sweet!

Since it was pretty chilly while I was in Chicago, we did a lot of our tourism at museums. I got lucky and happened to be there on a free day for the Aquarium, the Planentarium, and the Field Museum. I love free tourism! The only detriment is you don't get to see all the exhibits in each museum. Ideally they hope you get intrigued by the cool stuff you're not allowed to see on free day and come back some other time at full price.

I thought the aquarium was the least interesting for what you got from free day. All of the stuff I really wanted to see wasn't included. I didn't bother taking any pictures inside the aquarium because I already have a ton of sea animal pictures from 2 trips to Sea World, a trip to Seattle aquarium, and a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium. But it would be fun (and free) for a little kid who might be scared by the bigger shark exhibit. I also enjoyed the lovely view of downtown Chicago from just outside the aquarium.

Next we walked down to the planetarium and enjoyed the views of Lake Michigan along the way.

I liked the astrology charts all around the building.

But the most interesting place to see was the Field Museum. Though there were exhibits we couldn't see as part of free day, there was still plenty to occupy our time. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. This was the full size replica they have of Dino Sue.

Further in to the museum was her actual head. Her full fossil isn't stable enough to display in its totality. It was cool to see her, though, since I'd seen the Dino Sue replica at Disney's Animal Kingdom in August 2009.

These elephants in the front hall also looked really cool.

A good portion of the museum is dedicated to some incredible taxidermy. I felt a bit conflicted by it knowing that these animals had been killed just to be displayed, but I was still really drawn to it. These deer were beautiful.

I heard that these pandas were killed by Teddy Roosevelt's sons before pandas were considered an endangered species.

This was a replica of a giraffe's intestines. It's LONG!

Moving on to the history part of the natural history museum, I liked wandering through the ancient Americas section. I didn't realize until later that I wasn't supposed to take pictures in this area.

I loved this little nativity set inside a tomato!

I loved the architecture of the museum's main hallway.

And I really liked the jewelry section! I would have liked more time there.

It was interesting to see colored diamonds. There was a yellow diamond there (which I personally thought was really ugly) that's valued at millions of dollars.

I was sad the museum was closing right as we were finding the jewelry section and we couldn't take many pictures.

I loved the daggers.

A museum employee told us we needed to exit, but we took the long way so we could see more stuff. I liked this double helix.

And this display about beauty varying from culture to culture. It's bizarre that people were willing to have their necks and heads permanently stretched just to wear these neck and head pieces. But they'd probably think we're just as bizarre by permanently altering our bodies with tattoos and gauge earrings.

The museum also looked really nice all lit up outside. What a fun day!

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