Idea Factory

| October 5, 2008 | 7 Comments

By: Elizabeth Shapiro
The cold weather’s coming, and, like the birds, my son and I are heading south… to Hyde Park’s Museum of Science and Industry’s kid-zone: The Idea Factory!

The Idea Factory is our favorite kid-centered exhibit in any of the large Chicago museums. This massive space is the antidote for cold weather claustrophobia for kids of any age, with a massive separate area to keep crawlers entertained and safe from their rambunctious older counterparts and hands on fun for the toddler set. Don the complimentary rain ponchos and teach your kid about the power of water with the exhibit’s 3,000 gallon “Water Spectacle”, whose highlights include water cannons, a geyser that reaches the tall ceiling and a river with currents that carry multicolored balls throughout the space. Use cranes to move blocks, race tractors down bumpy and smooth surfaces, or try and float objects in mid-air over gusts of wind. You’ll brush up on and teach your child about some basic science principles, and they’ll just enjoy having fun with all the cool “toys”.

The MSI’s thought of everything, and The Idea Factory also has onsite family bathrooms and nursing areas, and is right around the corner from the giant tractors of the farm exhibit and the surprisingly fairly decent food court. On a recent visit, kid-friendly fare was not limited to the usual hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, but included some more interesting fare as well, including “worms in dirt” (chocolate pudding with gummy worms!) for desert. Street and Lake Shore Drive, is open seven days a week. Check out their hours and other exhibits on their web site.

Photo Credit: fellow mama Sonia Rousseau

This is an Original article.

Elizabeth Shapiro loves exploring her adoptive city with her two-year-old in tow when she isn’t organizing the Chicago Stay at Home Moms meetup group or cheering on her beloved Bears.

Category: See & Plays

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We love the MSI too. Not only can we spend hours and hours at the idea factory but “drive” a combine at the farm exhibit. To top it all off we can get a tractor mold-a-rama too!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It has been a while since we have been there. Thanks for reminding me about a fun place to take the kids.

  3. Cathy says:

    I haven’t been there in such a long time – sounds like we’re due for a visit!

  4. Sheila P. says:

    I have yet to bring the kids there! Thank you for writing about this.

  5. MJ Tam says:

    It has been awhile since I’ve taken the kids there so this is a great time for us to revisit.

    Thank you for sharing this Elizabeth!

  6. Danielle says:

    The idea factory is fabulous! My 2 year old loves to turn the crank to watch the gears move conveyor belts we line with foam cubes, pyramids and balls.

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