Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry


There are some sights that will take just an hour and there are some that takes a few hours to cover properly. It is the big museums that is more time consuming. So I normally would put in one such long visits for each day. For the second day, I decided to take the long journey from downtown Chicago to the outskirts of Chicago.

I remember taking a train ride heading south and then I had to stop at a station to hop onto a bus eastward to the Museum of Science and Industry. Along the train ride, I came across Chinatown. I wanted to get off and check it out but decided otherwise as I did not have much time. A lot of people got off the train at the Chinatown stop. And then the train was empty.

I was outside the safe confines of Chicago downtown. Sorry to say this but I was really worried about my safety on the bus. I recall reading a hotel review around this area that the guests were mugged outside the hotel and that the hotel advises their guests to take a cab. And so when I got on the packed bus and as it traveled to its destination, I can see the not-so-pretty side of Chicago. I double checked to see if I got on the right bus, lest I end up in a place I don’t want to be in. [Chicagoans, please don’t hate me for saying these things but I really felt I was sticking out like a sore thumb on the bus].

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And then an oasis of calm. The Museum of Science and Industry is located in a much nicer neighborhood. It is an impressive facility. I always wished that Vancouver has a museum like this. You know, Vancouver cannot claim to be a world class city without a museum like this.

The building is actually a legacy from the 1893 World’s Columbian Expo.

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There was quite a crowd already. After all, it was a Sunday and people are bringing their families out for a day in the museum.

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The one thing I wanted to visit is the German Submarine exhibition. The exhibit is centered around a real German submarine captured by the Americans during the World War II.

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The exhibit chronicles the hunt and capture of the U-505 submarine.

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And then lo and behold. Walking into the pit made especially for the submarine, it came across to me as one of the most menacing sights I have ever seen. It felt like walking into a James Bond movie.

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The long ramp runs downwards to the floor level with a lot of information about submarine. The high point is to get into the submarine. However …

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… I was too late! Shoot. If only I knew, I would have visited this museum earlier in the day.

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There was a video of how they put up this exhibit. They dug a huge pit on the lawn of the museum and then moved the submarine into it before building over it.

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What a waste … my plans were torpedoed.

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The rest of the exhibits were quite kiddo. There was a very very large model railway which stretches from Chicago (with replica buildings of the city) …

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… through rural USA …

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… and ending up in the shores of the Pacific … Seattle. Recognize the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Space Needle?

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When I was young I build airplane models as a hobby. Most of the models are World War II models. So I could recognize in an instant the Stuka Dive Bomber and the Spitfire. My favourite plane was the Spitfire which was instrumental in helping Britain to defeat German in the Battle of Britain. If the Luftwaffe had overwhelmed the RAF, today this blog will probably be written in German. OK, I am exaggerating. LOL!

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