Midwest Museum of Natural History

Midwest Museum of Natural History

Join the museum for Around the World in 90 Minutes. It is an action packed show given by Marty Essen.  It is one-part theater, one-part lecture, one-part comedy, and one-part slide show. It features interesting facts, humorous stories, and the best of thousands of photos taken while traveling the world for his multi-award-winning book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents. From swimming with piranhas to surviving a hippo attack, Essen’s high energy presentation is a unique exciting and educational opportunity.

Who:Suitable for ages 8 to adult.

Where: Sycamore State Street Theatre
420 West State Street, Sycamore, IL, 60178 — right across the street from the museum

Cost:  Tickets are $9 per person or $7 for museum members

When: Tuesday November 15th at 7pm

Homeschool classes at Burpee Museum

Homeschool classes coming up in Rockford. They have these available each month, and look like some great topics. I like that the teacher is a former homeschooler as well. You’re not stepping into a class with a teacher that doesn’t understand where you or your kids are coming from. That’s a great plus!

From the Burpee Museum website:

Education : Home School – Fall 2011

Burpee Museum has been offering classes for students who are home schooled for over 9 years. The current teacher home schooled her own four children, has extensive experience as a teacher in a local home school co-op, and has been on the education staff at Burpee for 7 years.

Classes are for 9 – 13 year olds and Workshops are for 6 – 9 year olds. Participants can sign up for the entire month, or pick and choose which classes to attend. These classes are inquiry based; hands-on activities and experiments are the core of all classes. The curriculum is based on the AIMS (Activities Investigating Mathematics and Science) and GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science) curriculums. Students will measure, estimate, observe, predict, classify, and gather and record data.

Burpee Museum reserves the right to limit enrollments or cancel any class. Every effort will be made to notify registrants when a class is cancelled.


When: Tuesday 11/8 2.00– 4.00 pm

Cabbage Chemistry

For 9 – 13 year olds
Students delve into proportions working with cabbage juice to study chemistry.
Pre-registration and payment is required
Call Education Department 815 965 3433 ext 1020 to register
Fees: $12 per child members, additional siblings $9 per child
$16 per child non members, additional siblings $13 per child


Tuesday11/22 2.00– 4.00 pm

Household Mysteries: What’s Lurking in Your Cabinet?

For 9 – 13 year olds
Students bring household chemicals from home and determine if they are acid or base, to develop a new understanding of chemistry.
Pre-registration and payment is required

Call Education Department 815 965 3433 ext 1020 to register
Fees: $12 per child members, additional siblings $9 per child
$16 per child non members, additional siblings $13 per child


Tuesday 11/29 2.00– 4.00 pm

Become a Field Biologist

For 9 – 13 year olds
Experience field biology techniques and data collection to study animal behavior.
Pre-registration and payment is required
Call Education Department 815 965 3433 ext 1020 to register
Fees: $12 per child members, additional siblings $9 per child
$16 per child non members, additional siblings $13 per child

Wanted: Archeologists, no experience necessary

Their blurb:

A new year of archaeological excavation begins at Garfield Farm Museum. Directed by Jim Yingst, volunteers are encouraged to sign up to help dig, screen, and wash artifacts. Check the website for dates. No experience necessary, we will train you. Financial contributions are also welcomed.

My 10 year old is chomping at the bit about this one. I hope we can find time to get out and get our hands dirty in a real life archeological dig. Older teens can be dropped off (or drive themselves), but other kids are welcome with an adult if they will be a help and not distraction to the work. You do need to register in advance.

I just called for some more information, and they want each volunteer to commit to at least 8 hours of work to compensate for the initial training and learning curve. These do not all need to be at one time, but need to be done during dig hours of 8-5 Wednesday through Sunday. The dates for the dig are September 21-25, and September 28-October 2.

Looking at the video it says they are trying to track down the original cabin built on the site that was later replaced by the current home structure.

When: September 21-25 and September 28- October 2, 8am- 5pm — contact them for specifics on times and to arrange a time for your family/group to participate

Where: Garfield Farm Museum –on Garfield Road just north of Illinois Route 38 between Geneva and Elburn, Illinois. It is about 3 miles west of Randall Road, which is at the west edge of Geneva and St. Charles. From Illinois Route 38 turn north on Garfield Road and go about 1/4 mile to the Garfield Farm and Inn.

Putting this address into your GPS should get you there: 3N016 Garfield Road Campton Hills, IL 60175

More Information: 630 584-8485 or info@garfieldfarm.org

In preparation for the dig I would recommend a book (or internet search) on the topic to help the kids know what they are getting into. A book that we enjoyed a few years back and will probably reread again now is Archaeologists Dig for Clues. Written for early elementary kids this book will give a look into archeological terminology and methods.

SciTech events next week

Received by email —

SciTech Science Camp of the Week for Aug 1-5 :

For Ages 8-10 and For Ages 11-14 CSI Crime Scene Investigator: You'll be able to say "Book 'em"
once you are done with this Summer Camp! Today's police work is part leg work, part hunch and a lot 
of Science! Spend the week learning how to find and analyze clues, examine evidence and draw 
conclusions. See what it means to get "booked" when you tour the Aurora Police Station.  Oh yeah, 
we'll see how ya look...with your own mug shot!

Two other great camps are available 8/1-8/5 each one with slots open for eager Science Campers:

Ages 11-14 Kitchen Chemistry: Crystals can be fascinating-and delicious, yes you can eat them!
What else?  Make your own S-L-I-M-E! (You will get to keep the recipe!)
Amaze your friends with "Kitchen Science" magic tricks!
Ages 8-10: Totally Ballistic: Launch Rockets! Cannons! Tennis ball Mortars!Sling a catapult 
from SciTech's own back yard.  Design your own Rocket and prepare for blast off!
These week long Summer Science Camps are Outrageously Fun! Camps are open from 9 am through 3 pm. 
Lunches available for $4, just call the number below to arrange lunch for your hungry camper.
Register now at www.scitechmuseum.org or call 630-859-3434 ext. 218

We look forward to seeing you at one of SciTech Museum's Summer Camps!

Best Regards, 
the SciTech Museum Team

SciTech Hands On Museum
18 West Benton St
Aurora, IL 60506

Homeschool Resource Fair

The Beacon Homeschool group has once again arranged a resource fair for homeschoolers in the greater Chicagoland area to share their services and look for opportunities.

Find this annual event at the Elk Grove Village Public Library.

From their website:

5th Annual Resource Fair
Tuesday, January 25, 7-9pm

Check out the many programs especially for homeschoolers.
Arts, Music, Academic Classes, Field Trips and more!

This event is open to all home educating families for free. Come out and browse the many opportunities uniquely designed for homeschoolers including Co-ops, Museums, Field trips, Art/Music/Horseback riding programs, Sewing/Science/general Academics classes, and Services for homeschoolers.

The first 100 attendees will receive a Resource booklet with many more resources.

Click here to be a vendor at the fair.

Homeschoolers looking for resources don’t need to register, just come any time during the open house to find more resources in your area.

Pals around the Pond

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers lots of hands on learning for all ages.

On Wednesdays you can enjoy a time geared toward 3-6 year olds meeting Pals around their Pond or Pals on the Prairie.

Description: Ages 3-6 Leave the classroom behind and discover the exceptional elements that make the North Pond a unique treasure in the city. To learn more about our early childhood classes, click here.
Registration Info: Class topics vary. Cost: $10/member or $12/non-member. To register, fill out a registration form or email familyprograms@naturemuseum.org.

All ages are welcome to attend. If you have kids that might not fit the target audience, feel free to call about attending with them as well.

They have other events that are free with admission, like pond tours, meeting with a Ranger, and nature walks.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Adler Planetarium free days

Free days at Adler Planetarium coming up next week. These are the free dates for the rest of the year:

Charter One
Charter One Discount Days at the Adler are made possible by the generous support of the Charter One Foundation.
7, 13-17, 21, & 28
5, 12, 19, & 26
2, 9, 16, 23, & 30
7, 14, & 21

Check out the Planetarium’s website for all the rest of the details and to plan your trip.

Free museum days this week!

More free field trips! Info from Free things in Chicago . . .

Looking for things to do in Chicago with the kids? Here are some of the museums in Chicago that have free days this week.  Found another? — leave a comment for the community!

The Chicago History Museum is free to the public every Monday, 9:30am-4:30pm.

The Museum of Science and Industry has free general admission (basic entry) to the public on Monday May 3

The Adler Planetarium is free on May 4th with hours being 9:30am – 6pm during the summer; 10:00am – 4:00pm otherwise; Charter One Discount Days at the Adler are made possible by the generous support of the Charter One Foundation.

The National Museum of Mexican Art is free every day but closed on Mondays.

Museum of Contemporary Photography. Free every day and open Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm (Thurs. until 8pm), Sun. 12-5pm. 600 S. Michigan Ave. at Columbia College, Chicago.

The Notebaert Chicago Nature Museum has “Free Days” every Thursday.

The Oriental Institute. Free every day (suggested donation of $7 adults, $4 children). Open Tues.-Sat. 10am-6pm (Wed. until 8:30pm), Sun. 12-6pm, closed Mondays. 1155 East 58th Street at University of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago is free to the public every Thursday evening (May 6) from 5pm-8pm.

The Chicago Children’s Museum is free for everyone – every Thursday evening (may 6 this week) from 5-8pm

The Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open to the public 365 days per year. Generally open 10am-5pm.

Free admission to Holocaust Museum

The new Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will celebrate its one year anniversary on April 19th. For this one day you can enjoy free admission to the museum.

The schedule for the day includes:

11:00 – 11:45 Eyewitness to the Holocaust, Goodman Auditorium
Listen to the individual story of someone who experienced history firsthand. 
Q/A will follow.  Space is limited.

12:00 until closing Cake and refreshments, Pritzker Hall of Reflection
1:35 – 2:15 Eyewitness to the Holocaust, Goodman Auditorium
Listen to the individual story of someone who experienced history firsthand.
Q/A will follow.  Space is limited.

4:00 – 5:00 Symbolism in the Design of IHMEC – Stanley Tigerman, Architect
Seating is limited, RSVP required | email architect@ilhmec.org or call 847.967.4814

In the museum you can also enjoy an exhibit that shares the wartime escape of H.A. Rey and his wife from the Nazi invasion of Paris during WWII. Name ring a bell? He is the author of the well loved Curious George series, and as a Jew, had to flee to America in 1940.

Special events begin the day before, so feel free to check out the Illinois Holocaust Museum website for more details.

Also, if the holocaust is a topic of interest for you or your family you might want to check out the new season at the Provision Theater which will feature The Hiding Place, an amazing story of bravery and faith in the midst of persecution and hatred.

Free admission to the Museum of Science and Industry!

U-505 Submarine

I came across some amazing information at the blog of a Sonlight Rep turned bloggy friend of mine.

This information is taken straight from the Museum of Science and Industry’s website:

Home School Group Reservations

Individual families with fewer than 20 students receive free general admission on Monday through Friday except during holiday periods. Parents receive free general admission as well. No advance reservations are required; you will be asked to fill out a Free Admission slip at the ticket counter. No documentation is needed. Omnimax movies, Learning Labs and special exhibits like Smart Home: Green + Wired have additional fees and are not offered at a discounted rate for individuals. Check out our free day schedule.

Illinois home school groups of 20 or more students receive free general admission and regular school group discounts for Omnimax movies and special exhibits. Click here for school group pricing. Advance reservations and payment are required. One chaperone is needed for every 10 students. Reserve your visit online or by calling (773) 684-1414.

Learning Labs

Individual home school students can sign up for special Learning Labs. Advance payment of $10 per student is required. Call (773) 684-1414 to reserve a spot. Labs are limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-served basis. The next sessions are:

May 10, 2010 at 2 pm
Museum Crime Lab (ages 8 – 12)
ER/OR Lab (ages 12 – 16)

Home school groups may register for one of our regular Learning Labs offered during the school year from September to June. Labs have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 30 students, and each lab is $100 for the entire group (or $120 for special labs). Reserve a group lab by making a field trip reservation online or by calling (773) 684-1414.

Lab Etiquette:
Meet at the Information Desk on Main Level 2 15 minutes before the start of the lab. Parents and siblings are encouraged to walk around the Museum during the program.

Arrival and Parking

Plan to arrive at the Museum at least 30 minutes before any scheduled program such as Learning Labs, Omnimax movies or ticketed exhibits. An individual or group who is registered for a Learning Lab must meet at the Information Desk on Main Level 2 15 minutes before the start of the lab. Convienient indoor parking is available in the Museum’s underground parking garage.

Home School Policies

Download a PDF of our Home School Policies.

Tips for Your Visit

Make a pre-visit: If possible, visit the Museum before bringing your group to familiarize yourself with the building and the exhibits.

Take part in our live science experiences: From dissecting an eyeball to taking part in a discussion about climate change, our daily live science experiences make students part of the action. These programs are offered at no additional cost.

Make lunch plans: Pre-registered home school groups (of 20 or more) may reserve a lunch time in the student cafeteria. Other groups are invited to eat in the Brain Food Court.

Set expectations: The Museum offers 14 acres of exhibit space to explore. Set realistic expectations for how much your group can accomplish and what you want your group to learn. Our exhibits are designed to spark interest and engage the visitor. Rushing to see the entire Museum in one trip can be a frustrating experience. Use our map or visit planning tool to decide what to see and do, and check out our field trip worksheets and exhibit guides to focus your visit.

Contact Us

For field trips, call (773) 684-1414.  For other education inquiries, email edinfo(at)msichicago.org.