January 5, 2006


Robots Like Us Robots, robots and more robots. This is exactly what I saw when I walked into the Museum of Science and Industry's “Robots Like Us” exhibit. It displays more than 200 robots from the Robert Lesser collection, and you are greeted by the 7-foot Robby the Robot, who starred in the movie “Forbidden Planet.”

Most of the robots in the exhibit are from the 1940s through the 1960s. There was also a lot of information explaining the history of robots. I learned how far robots have come since then—and also what technology was like 60 years ago.  

Parents will probably like this exhibit because there is a small hallway with tons of robot displays from old games and TV shows such as “Lost in Space” and “The Jetsons.” It brought back a lot of memories for my parents.

If you go, be sure to watch the robot demonstrations that occur throughout the day. You can see a robot that vacuums floors, one that moves when you clap and a robot that follows a line on the floor. Younger children will be particularly interested in this part of the exhibit.

Personally, I found the exhibit interesting. But because of the technical nature, some younger kids may not enjoy it. Allie Sakowicz, 11, Park Ridge

Editor's note: The Museum of Science and Industry has recently designated “Robots Like Us” as a permanent exhibit.

“Robots Like Us.” 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $11, $10 Chicago residents, $9.50 seniors, $7 kids 3-11, free kids 2 and under. Museum of Science and Industry. 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. (773) 684-1414, www.msichicago.org.

Let’s go, yes or no?  Lost Spacecraft This weekend is your last chance to see a special exhibit at the Adler Planetarium. “Lost Spacecraft” holds the recovered Liberty Bell Seven space capsule, which rested at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for nearly four decades. It is a fascinating look back in time, when technology and space travel were pushing the limits of our imaginations.

But while I could have stared at the little dials and details of the capsule for an hour, younger kids were ready to move on after a few minutes, because all you can do is look.

Kids might be more interested in the model space capsule, where they can sit down, push buttons and execute a “splashdown” procedure—space lingo for “landing in the ocean.”

In addition to the spacecraft and model capsule, the exhibit tells how astronaut Gus Grissom narrowly escaped the craft in 1961 when the capsule’s hatch blew after splashdown. There are also other artifacts recovered from the ocean floor.

I recommend catching this glimpse of American history. If your kids get distracted, the planetarium offers plenty of other things for them to do. Mike Phillips

“Lost Spacecraft.” 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. the first Friday of every month. Through Jan. 8. Families. $7, $5 Chicago residents, $6 seniors, $5 kids 4-17, free kids 3 and under. Shows and audio tours extra. Adler Planetarium. 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. (312) 922-STAR (7827), www.adlerplanetarium.org.


Product Test  Story Reader Publications International, $19.99 (includes one book). Additional books start at $9.99. Three-pack sets cost $19.99-$24.99

My 3-year old loved this product from the first time she opened it. It works by reading a selected story aloud to your child as she turns each page.

It has interesting noises for page turning cues and books that are relevant to a child's interests. Elizabeth was able to pick out a book and match it to the cartridge by the pictures on both. She was also able to change cartridges without help, making the use of the reader a snap and allowing her some independent play. The reader is a manageable size for toddlers, the volume is adjustable and a child can reread a page as many times as she desires.

And we both really liked the fact that up to three books were on one cartridge. We especially love the Dora and Blue's Clues books. And with a variety of available stories, the Story Reader will keep the interests of both young and older children.

The product is priced well and the story books can be used independently of the Story Reader, when the child gets older and begins reading on her own.

There is some lag time between the page being turned and the story being read. Our 7-year-old became frustrated, as the story does not begin as soon as the page is turned.

But I would definitely recommend this product to toddler parents. 

It is a great help to an at-home mom who needs five minutes to put a load of laundry in or who needs some quiet time in the car. We go nowhere without it. Tracy Fink, mom of Matthew, 7, and Elizabeth, 3, Itasca

Editor’s note: The Story Reader can be difficult to find. The best way to buy is through the company’s Web site, www.storyreader.com. Click on the “browse library” link to find prices and to purchase.


Copyright 2017 Wednesday Journal Inc. All rights reserved. Chicago web development by liQuidprint