For 25 years, American Girl has been using something girls love-dolls-to teach them something they might not like as much: history. Now the Field Museum and American Girl have teamed up to take that commitment to another level with an American Girl tour.
I wanted to check it out for myself, so I recruited 9-year-old Holly and her Bitty Baby Michael and 12-year-old Grace and her Molly doll to experience it with me.
American Girl tour groups meet at American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue and are then transported to the museum for a tour.
Our Field docent name-dropped AG favorites as we made our way through exhibits, although the connections weren't always obvious. Grace and Holly completed a scavenger hunt, which encouraged them to listen and ask questions.
Our guide also discussed how girls of the past lived, a real-life take on the historical section in each AG book.
Some topics seemed to go over the girls' heads, and younger kids might have difficulty concentrating for longer explanations. At an hour and a half, the tour leaves little time to linger, but does consider other famous Field attractions.
Grace said she liked the sections about the Mayans and Aztecs best, and Holly preferred the totem poles. They both called the tour "really interesting."
From the Field, we went to American Girl Place, where we enjoyed a meal in the café that's designed to make girls feel grown up.
If you don't like pink, stay away, as everything down to the lemonade is that color. Our four-course meal included a plate of mini-cinnamon buns, healthy appetizers, a main course (options include kids' faves as well as more sophisticated adult fare) and a full dessert.
The café also accommodates its littlest visitors, the dolls, with chairs that hook to the table and a mug of "tea." Those who don't own a doll can borrow one for the occasion.
If you have a little girl in your life who loves American Girl, this tour is a fun and hands-on way to learn about history. And even for mom, it fulfills the fantasy of that inner 10-year-old … at least if she likes pink.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.