An overnight at the Chicago Field Museum. What could be more fun for kids than exploring through Egyptian tombs, holding tarantulas, and wandering amongst the dinosaurs? Well, doing all that and more in the dark, and way, way past bedtime; that’s what.
Arrive early, and pick out a place to set up camp. We bring sleeping bags and an air mattress for the old bones; ours that is, and just the sleeping bags for Bradaigh, 8 and Emma, 7. There are tons of families vying for space under the mastadon and saber tooth tiger. We opt for a spot under some African ceremonial masks. It’s out of the popular traffic pattern. We set up camp, grab our flashlights and get going.
G-Dad and I notice right away something unanticipated. Since the ratio is about 4 kids to every adult, and the number of attendees is limited, the kids can experience the exhibits much better than on other days we’ve been here. Of course, we’re willing to dawdle at each exhibit as long as the kids are interested. After all, we’ll be here all night.
Yes, I do let a tarantula walk up my arm, and I even hold the giant cockroach for a couple of seconds; just to prove I’m not squeamish. Bradaigh and Emma love pretending to be Egyptian mummies. We all got a little freaked out when we walked through the dinosaurs exhibit in the dark. It is easy to imagine being the prey of a saber-tooth.
There are lots of organized activities, amongst the exhibits. We get our name written in hyroglyphics and make a personal totem. Emma joins an African band. At last we head over for story-time before lights out. It’s midnight and we’re hard pressed to find one fussy kid in the crowd. The adults look so relaxed.
If you’re okay with roughing it a little, this overnight creates awesome memories for the kids and for the adults. It’s a little bit pricey, for a box supper, no privacy, and some scrambled eggs in the morning. But it’s worth every penny.
Bradaigh is now 13 and Emma, 12. Since this outing we decided to take a pair of grandchildren when they reach around 8 years old. Until our backs or knees can’t take it anymore. Here are a few pictures from our trips. This year will be our third adventure.