“Farm Tech” at Museum of Science and Industry
Between the gargantuan green Deere & Co. tractor and a “test your milking skills” station sits a display dubbed Poop to Power. It’s a visual explanation of the scientific process called anaerobic digestion, which allows farmers to recycle animals’ manure into power. Here’s how it works: One cow can give up to 16 gallons of poo daily. To make use of all that cow dung—which, as you know, produces the stinky gas methane—farmers convert the gas into electricity to help operate their farms. “Guests are surprised to find such a simple thing is so earth-friendly and resourceful,” says the exhibit’s project director, Ed McDonald. “It’s a great example of innovative thinking and science and technology at work.” Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr (773-684-1414, msichicago.org). Mon–Sat 9:30am–4pm. Sun 11am–4pm. $15, seniors $14, kids ages 3–11 $10, kids 2 and under free. Discounts for Chicago residents.
“Mammoths and Mastodons” at the Field Museum
Even though the main attraction here is Lyuba, the baby mammoth specimen frozen in the Arctic for nearly 40,000 years, we love the Name That Poop guessing game. In this interactive display, visitors match piles of replica dung with the correct animal. Adding to the good, clean fun is a vitrine of mammoth poop taken from Bechan Cave in Utah. The point? According to senior exhibitionist developer Franck Mercurio: “Kids and their families should know that besides finding bones, scientists actually look for poop to determine important factors like an animal’s age, diet and habitat.” Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr (312-922-9410, fieldmuseum.org) Daily 9am–5pm (through Sept 6). $15, seniors and students $12, kids ages 3–11 $10, kids under 3 and second Mondays free. Discounts for Chicago residents.