Chicago Travel: Five Must See Exhibits of The Field Museum

In a city full of museums, art galleries and skyscrapers, The Field Museum stands out as one of Chicago’s top tourist attractions. Founded in 1893 as the Colombian Museum of Chicago, The Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. It is also the home to the most complete T. Rex ever found. With roughly 1.39 million visitors last year alone, the Field Museum has proven time and time again to be popular with tourists of all ages.

The Field Museum continues to be at the forefront of scientific education for all ages with four different learning centers dedicated to conservation and research. Visitors to the Field Museum can spend an entire day combing through its collections, with exhibits dedicated to world cultures, endangered animals, and fossils. Below are five of the resident highlights of the Field Museum that every visitor should see:

  1. SUE the T. Rex. Sue is the most popular attraction at The Field Museum. Her massive frame greets you as soon as you step into the lobby, cementing her place as the crown jewel of The Field Museum. Her head is on the second floor in a glass case; weighing in at over 600 pounds, it’s far too heavy to be with the rest of her fossil. She has been on display since 2000, and since then has drawn over 16 million visitors.
  2. Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egypt collection is set up inside a replica of an Egyptian tomb. The tomb spans all three stories of the museum and is full of hieroglyphs, sarcophagi, and even a Book of the Dead. The Egyptian marketplace exhibit details what daily life in Ancient Egypt was like. You can even peer inside the remnants of an actual sarcophagus. The museum shows a companion film to the exhibit, but you don’t have to see the film to enjoy the collection.
  3. Tsavo Lions. The Tsavo Lions may not be as well-known as SUE, but theirs is a story draped in both blood and infamy. The Tsavo Lions were famous at one time; the pair terrorized a Kenyan railroad camp for over ninth months in the late 19th century. People claimed the lions ate over 130 people at the time but scientific testing estimates the final number was closer to 35. Their skins and skulls were donated in the 1920s by Lt. Col. John Patterson, the British Army officer who killed them and ended the threat.
  4. The Mesoamerican and Central American Collections. These exhibits contain thousands of pieces of pottery, weapons, statues and textiles that highlight the rich and dramatic history of the Americas. One thing that stands out about these collections is the sheer size of many of the pieces; there’s a replica of an Aztec calendar stone on display that takes up an entire wall, and wood carvings that stand from floor to ceiling. Most of the items are in cases, but even through the glass you can see the detail in the works and the excellent care each piece receives.
  5. The Fossil Collections. The fossil collection at the Field Museum is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From dinosaurs to modern species, the fossil collection is one of the most impressive collections of the entire museum. The dinosaurs are the highlight of the fossil collection, with an entire room dedicated to the extinct predators and herbivores of yore. If you’ve never seen a dinosaur fossil up close, this is an experience that can’t be passed up.

 

 

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My Experience at Venice Beach

 

Venice Beach was one of those places I just had to go to. But every time I went out to Los Angeles, I Googled how long it would take to drive to Venice and it always seemed to be a little too far for the amount of time I had available. Like San Francisco and Seattle, it seemed to call out to me from a very young age. It was a city full of hippies and creative types, according to my parents and everyone I knew that had been there. Two summers ago, I was finally ended up on the famous Venice Boardwalk for the first time. And it was magical.

venice-beach

Go to Venice early in the morning or late in the afternoon

 

Venice Beach is next door to another iconic California tourist spot – the Santa Monica pier. If you’re walking along the boardwalk, you can see the famous ferris wheel in the distance. My friend and I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and stop at both before we hit the road for home. Because we went later in the day, parking wasn’t an issue. If you decided to visit Venice in the summer (or any beach, really) I recommend going either first thing in the morning or close to sunset. I employed this tactic in Venice and San Diego, and it worked like a charm.

Pets Aren’t Allowed on Venice Beach

 

We tried to walk on the sand with my dogs, but we were quickly guided back to the boardwalk by lifeguards on duty. Venice Beach does not allow dogs on the sand, but Santa Monica does. You can, however, walk with your pets along the shore on Santa Monica Beach. While we were on the Venice side, we strolled up and down the boardwalk, past the (actual) freakshow, marijuana tents, dancers, artists and characters that make Venice so famous. We even got to witness a few beach goers try their hands at the rings, poles and ropes that make up the infamous Muscle Beach.

Tips aren’t required but appreciated

 

If you decide to venture down the boardwalk, keep plenty of cash on you. You never know what treasures you’ll find, and it’s the easiest way to do business with the artists. Plus, you’ll want to have tip money if you find a character or performer you’d like to take photos with. During our visit, I met a man who, for a penny, handed me a sticker with the words “Who is John Scott?” printed on the front. I was so curious, I went and Googled him. He’s also known as “L.A.’s Oldest Vandal”.

Venice Beach is a must-see if you’re in the Los Angeles Area. If you’re looking for a unique beach experience, Venice is guaranteed to give that to you. You never know what may happen on Venice Beach, but you know that whatever it is, it’s going to be interesting.