I’ve been itching to get out of the city for a few day trips, and the Children’s museums in Glenview and Naperville came highly recommended. Both are in walking distance of the Metra station, and both get great reviews. I looked ahead at their programming and had booked some dates for dramatic play activities on what I’m coming to think of as my “homeschool calendar” but when the weather took a turn for the worse again and my husband planned to work from home, I decided it was time to head to Ogilvie.
I found a Groupon for admission to the DuPage museum, link here. It’s $22 for admission for up to 4 people, but in this case it was only three of us- still a good deal.
We were able to easily catch a Lyft to the Ogilvie transportation center. Unfortunately, I found out the train I needed, the BNSF line, left from Union Station, which isn’t far away. I’m too busy to pad our schedule much, but it is a darned good thing we’d arrived 15 whole minutes in advance, because we had no stroller and I had to run in clogs holding my 40 pound three year old to the right platform, and buy tickets. But we made it! The train is no longer a novelty, and there were more passengers aboard than I’m used to on a weekday, but the ride wasn’t too long. The parking lot for the museum backs right up to the train platform, so it was very easy to find.
Once inside, Little Guy wanted to play with the ramps and bubbles pretty much the whole time. I was a bit exasperated since it was pretty crowded and the children wanted to divide and conquer, but we managed to see everything on a superficial basis and I see a lot of potential for learning about many things- they have some really impressive exhibits on light that I couldn’t photograph well, and a mathematics area upstairs that appealed to the geek in me but must have been perceived as educational by my children, since they didn’t even walk over to touch anything.
The cafe in the basement, the SMART cafe, was clean, bright and very allergen friendly. The museum is nut-free, and they offered a soy nut and jelly sandwich along with some gluten and nut free dessert items that I couldn’t resist.
We spent about two and a half hours at the museum, then Little Guy, who is now napping only sporadically, and skipped on this day, began to lose all control so we headed back. I then realized I lost my return ticket, and was trying to see the bright side, “at least it wasn’t a ten ride pass.” When both kids hit the wall of exhaustion and I regretted not having gone earlier or bringing a stroller.
We got back to the platform and I learned that although Amtrak has a ticket counter with live people and two kiosks, for Metra tickets you must pay cash on the train. Except I didn’t have cash. So I had to use the available ATM and incur fees I really dislike fees. But lesson learned. I do wish the whole RTA would accept the prepaid cards at this point.
So then it started to snow. And the kids were spinning and running on the platform, which had me freaking out and sounding like that mom who I do not like to be, but what can you do when they are both overtired and you are running between them like the monkey in the middle?
What we liked: the light exhibits, bubbles, and trains. I took time to study the Amtrak map while the kids “drove” a wooden train with some little friends. I also enjoyed checking out other bikes locked up at the train station, bike watching is a new hobby of mine.
Next time: Zip tickets somewhere safe. Leave early, and arrive at UNION STATION. Bring an activity for the train. Plan to do one-two exhibits in-depth, and to stop to read the amazing books they have to learn more. Skip the bagged lunch, get two simple meals to share at the cafe, and bring snacks for the train. And probably- bring a stroller. Because the younger would sleep if restrained, and what am I trying to prove?