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Welcome to MOMS in the MIX, a Virtual VIP Insider Playgroup devoted to Chicago Moms featuring: special outings and VIP opportunities at The Museum of Science and Industry and other Chicago attractions for kids, the latest mommy news and parenting tips, Monthly Mom Blogs, best kid friendly places to eat and play, and much more.
By Melissa Haak
We spent one of our spring break days exploring the U-505 Exhibit and all of our children (ages 4-12) were engaged, entertained and learned something. And while I don’t expect the youngest ones to take away any life-long lessons on the atrocities of WWII I do think they have a slightly better understanding of how different life is now.
If you are unfamiliar, the U-505 is a German submarine that terrorized the Atlantic. The exhibit covers everything from the science — how do you hide something that is the length of a city block — to the basics — where did they sleep, how did they live on the boat — to the history of the capture in June 1944.
You can enter the exhibit, see the boat and explore all the levels around the boat for free with your general admission. I highly recommend taking the onboard tour, which is an extra (timed) entry.
Gabe, our docent and guide, really brought the history and story to life for our children. He was also more than willing to listen to their questions at the end, even the ones from the littlest ones.
If you are taking the tour, keep the following in mind:
• While the museum recommends you arrive at least five minutes before it starts, half the exhibit is on the winding path down to that locale. Even moving through quickly, it took us almost 20 minutes to get through.
• If you are claustrophobic, this is not for you. It’s very small and tight.
• All ages are welcome on the tour, all my kids lasted through it (it’s about 22 minutes long). However, it is a multisensory experience. Lights flicker and go out, there are crashes and explosions, you can feel some vibrations in the boat. Children with sensory issues will not enjoy and small children should stay towards the back of the group where it will always be less dark.
One of the parts my youngest children loved the most was at the beginning of the exhibit. There are telephones. Each one is linked to a different U.S. sailor giving their oral history of that day. The kids really enjoyed hearing all their different voices and “talking” to all the people.
After you get off the on-board tour or walk around the sub, the entire lower level is filled with hands-on activities to teach you about how the sub worked, using the Engima machine to decode or the periscope to see around you. There are artifacts and memorabilia from both sides and even a model of the living quarters.
Parents will also like to know that there are bathrooms on the lower level before you leave the exhibit. Also, like many modern museum exhibits, it does send you into a gift shop before you exit.
The U-505 should be on your museum to-do list if you haven’t seen it in its new(ish) home yet. The whole family is sure to take something away from the experience.
By Katie Niekerk
As cliché as it might sound, spring cleaning is a chance to start fresh, to throw open the windows and get rid of all that stuff you don’t need. It’s an annual opportunity to lighten your load (not to mention donate those clothes you never wear and bestow new-to-them toys upon the neighbor’s kids).
For me, spring cleaning conjures up images of my basement. Basements are horror movies in our collective human subconscious, but mine is particularly bad. The sump pump is broken and apparently can’t be fixed, so every time it rains, I expect an inch of water on the floor. I’ve learned not to keep anything I care about on the ground, but this leaves a mess of disposable things that get soaked, from drugstore Halloween decorations and waxy faux wreaths to cardboard boxes with nothing in them (why, Katie, why?).
Starting in April, I’ll be tackling this disaster. I’ll single-handedly keep Target in business for a weekend with how many clear plastic storage bins I’ll buy. And I’ll go through everything in the basement, piece by piece, determining what I actually want and what’s down there because I didn’t know what else to do with it.
The thing is, my basement is otherwise a basically unlivable space. The laundry machines are down there, along with a Christmas gift drum kit that my 7-year-old son played for exactly two days (Dec. 25 and 26). The space unfinished and pretty depressing—it’s certainly not like I’ll scrub it sparkling so I can host dinner parties there every night.
But I’ll clean it anyway, because the psychological benefit is worth it. Every time I do laundry, I won’t feel the need to cringe. Every time it rains, I won’t roll my eyes in frustration. And maybe, just maybe, every time I bring something new downstairs, I’ll check myself first.
Source: Moms In The Mix – News