School’s out for the summer, and we’re all fighting a battle against that slow loss of knowledge that infects our kids once the thermostat reaches 80 degrees. Strike a winning blow against summer brain drain courtesy of one of these far-from-the-classroom exhibits. Your kids won’t even realize that they’re learning because they’ll be too busy digging up dino bones, folding some intricate works of art or watching robots play soccer.
5 more sneaky smart exhibits you’ll love
- Science + You, Kohl Children’s Museum, May 10-Aug. 27
- Butterflies & Blooms, Chicago Botanic Garden, May 27-Sept. 4
- Brick by Brick, Museum of Science & Industry, through Sept. 4
- Our House: Rethinking Home in a Changing Climate, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, through Sept. 30
- Amphibians, Shedd Aquarium, through Dec. 31
A Rubik’s Cube genius and a real-life Rosie-from-The Jetsons are just two of the robots you’ll meet at the Museum of Science & Industry’s Robot Revolution. The exhibit returns to Chicago with some of your old favorite A.I.s, plus a few new friends and a lot of info on how robots can change the world. Your kids might even be inspired to create their own robotic pal! $12, $9 kids. May 11-Feb. 4.
We can hear that iconic music already. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Jurassic World but not getting eaten by a T. rex, here’s your chance. The Field Museum has teamed up with one of the paleontologists who worked on the movie to create Jurassic World: The Exhibition, a hands-on exploration of the creatures that give the fictional amusement park its bite. $15, $10 kids (daytime); $25, $20 kids (evening). May 26-Sept. 4.
If you’ve ever tried to create a perfectly aerodynamic paper airplane, you know the art of paper folding isn’t as easy as it looks. Magnify that by about a jillion, and you’ll be even more impressed by the artists behind Morton Arboretum’s Origami in the Garden. The 25 large-scale metal sculptures inspired by the Japanese art range in size from 2 inches to 24 feet—and will all make your jaw drop. Free with arboretum admission. May 19-Oct. 22.
Make way for dinos! Brookfield Zoo is already a pretty wild place, but it’s upping the exotic factor even more this summer. Dinos& Dragons brings 17 animatronic beasts, including the spiny Stegosaurus, to the zoo, as well as one living-and-breathing creature—a 6-foot-long Komodo dragon. Plus, aspiring Ross Gellers can get their paleontologist on with a dissection lab, dino dig boxes and an excavation site. $5, $3 kids 3-11. May 6-Sept. 17.
Prepare for August’s solar eclipse at the only logical spot: Adler Planetarium. The place for all things outer space presents Chasing Eclipses, an exhibit that delves into the eerie experience of seeing the sun disappear. It explains how our understanding of eclipses has changed over time and breaks down what to expect come 11:54 a.m. on Aug. 21 (other than those funny-looking glasses). Free with museum admission. Through Jan. 7.