With more than 23 million specimens in its collection, the Field Museum is the gift that keeps on giving. We hear there’s a collection of shrunken heads in the museum’s storage collections somewhere, but without scaring the bejeezus out of your kids, here are the five things at Chicago’s treasure trove you might miss the first time around but that are definitely worth knowing about.
There are more than 23 million specimens in the Field Museum’s collections, but here are the five things at Chicago’s treasure trove definitely worth knowing about.
Sure, the Field is famous for Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found. But to bring a little lizard home with you, stop just outside the McDonald’s on the ground level at one of four Mold-a-Rama machines. For $2, your kids can choose from Apatosaurus (green), Tyranosaurus Rex (Red), Triceratops (Blue), or Stegosarus (orange) and presto! an old-school souvenir from Chicago’s ancient treasure trove.
On March 26, 2003, a meteor exploded over the suburban Park Forest, showering the town – and several residents’ kitchens – with dozens of rock fragments, many of which are tucked up on the third floor of the museum, along with photos of the damage they did. next door, you can watch museum scientists work in the glass-encased lab, cleaning up and examining fossils.
Perhaps not for the youngest museum-goers, this glass-cased exhibit on the lower level is a surefire “coooooooooooool” from older kids and tweens. In 1898, these two lions reportedly killed and ate 135 railway workers and native Africans working on a bridge over the Tsavo River in east Africa. For a cuddlier version, try a Lions of Tsavo plush from the museum gift shop.
Ask a docent roaming the floor of the main hall for some help with this one. The floor of the main hall has fossils embedded in the tile. They certainly don’t compare with the 50-foot-long fossil of Sue that is the hall’s centerpiece, but it’s a hidden gem and a reminder that history is everywhere at the Field.
Fossils in the Floor
Bushman was a two-year-old, 38-pound baby when he was brought to Lincoln Park Zoo in 1930 (awwwwww) He eventually grew to a 6-foot-2, 547-pound behemoth (woooooah
Though we’ve certainly moved on from those days – and Chicago’s two zoos, Lincoln Park and Brookfield, are leaders in emphasizing natural habitats and wildlife conservations – there’s something awe-inspiring about Bushman’s story, and kids can see Bushman stuffed on the Field Museum’s ground floor and compare their own hands to the gorilla’s massive hands.