Two new exhibits teach kids about climate change

In case our flake-free January and February didn’t tip you off, the earth is getting warmer. Now two Chicago museums are shining a light on climate change with kid-friendly exhibits that examine the problem and provide solutions your family can try.

The Museum of Science& Industry opened Extreme Ice, an exhibit that displays photographic evidence of glacier melt (more than 90 percent of the world’s glaciers are shrinking). Photographer James Balog captured images over years that show melting glaciers in places like Mt. Everest and the Alps. In addition to viewing the photos, guests can also see the clothing, climbing equipment and camera that Balog and his team used and learn about the technology that makes his work possible.

Other hands-on elements of Extreme Ice include a 7-foot wall of ice and interactive maps that show the potential impact of coastal flooding. Plus, see how rising temperatures will impact Chicago (if you haven’t noticed already) and learn practical ways you can help lower the impact of climate change—it can be as easy as lowering your thermostat by just four degrees.

Free with admission.

Over at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, staff have created Our House: Rethinking Home in a Changing Climate, an interactive exhibit that helps families engage with climate issues and think about how simple actions can make a difference. Kids will love the giant wood block house that they can explore, as well as the chance to use their imaginations to come up with solutions for handling extreme weather.

The exhibit’s four areas introduce different climate change challenges, such as how natural features can protect coastal homes, ways for houses to save energy, and sustainable strategies that come from natural materials. And while much of the exhibit focuses on life here in Chicago, it also examines the challenges faced by other cities. Plus, keep an eye out for programming that highlights how local families can prepare for extreme weather caused by climate change.

Free with museum admission. Through Sept. 30.

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