Great train exhibit worth a museum trip
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
Museum of Science and Industry a good stop
What if they got all the stuff from the real world and shrunk it, and they had a ton of trains? It would be just like the new model trains exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago! I don't like museums, but I really really, really love trains, so my Dad took me there.
The new train layout is bigger and smaller than the old one. It's bigger because it fills more of the museum, and it's smaller because the model trains are half the size of the museum's old toy trains. That means there's room for lots more stuff, like two big cities, lots of mountains and farms, and lots and lots of trains.
One of the cities is Chicago, with elevated trains and the Metra and the Sears Tower that almost touches the real airplane that hangs above the layout. The other city is Seattle, and it has an ocean and a boat full of containers that cranes put on a freight train. Amtrak trains and freight trains run on long tracks through the mountains and between the cities. When freight trains get back to Chicago, they unload containers in a freight yard that's like the Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard near our house.
There are secret things you can do in the model train exhibit. First, find the buttons in the corners of the signs. They let you cut down a tree at the lumber mill, close a drawbridge in the city and pour melted metal into a train car. Then, take the red elevator up to the balcony and find the glass walls near the airplane's wing and tail. You can spy down on the trains and all the people.
I give the trains exhibit two thumbs up and two thumbs down. I give it two thumbs up because I love trains, and I liked cutting down the tree. I did it 10 times. I give it two thumbs down because there were only six kinds of passenger trains and five short freight trains moving, and the long coal-car trains didn't move even one time.
Dad says he gives the model trains three thumbs up because I didn't ask to go home right away, there are lots of steps kids can stand on to see the trains and he could show me the factories and other places that trains come from instead of just counting freight cars as they pass the crossing.
I think I like museums a little more now, and I want to go back to the Museum of Science and Industry again to see the trains.
If you want to see "The Great Train Story" exhibit before you go to the museum, visit this Web site, www.msichicago.org/exhibit/great_train_story/index.html.Aaron Gyllenhaal, 6 of Oak Park, as told to his dad, Eric.