After some web research and recommendations from friends, we decided to focus on seeing the full-size Sub, the Zephyr train you can walk around and go on, the enormous model train area and the airplane area above the trains. We had some incidental contact with other exhibits, but we focused on those. We probably could have skipped the airplane one because by then Silas was getting a tad overwhelmed, but really i couldn't have asked for a more fun outing.
We started by exploring the outside of the Zephyr train and found out they offered free tours inside the train every 15 minutes. I told Henry we could do it on the way out and we all agreed we go off in search of the submarine. It's a pretty meandering path through some other exhibits, but we made our way to the Sub are. Silas says "submarine" but it sounds just like "halloween" and i kept getting confused when he'd talk about the big halloween.
There are all these movies and mini exhibits about the war on the way to the submarine. Henry wanted to stay put and watch each old black and white newsreel but a) i'm not sure wartime newsreels are the best "screen time" for him and b) Silas was not interested and a little scared. But we finally made it down to the enormous room where the full-size submarine is kept. You walk down and around and get to see and do lots of little exhibits along the way. Henry found some more videos and Silas found buttons (which come to think of it is exactly how we spent our museum day a year ago). Henry and I started having a pretty big conversation about war at the tail end of the exhibit and he revisited the topic as i was tucking the boys into bed. I answered a few questions and told him we could talk more today. But his brains all stirred up and hopefully won't beset by too many bad dreams.
Next up was the enormous model train exhibit. We spent a long time there, checking out all the different aspects of the model train country. Silas finding all the buttons, Henry scanning for the built-in steps to stand on for a better view. Silas' favorite part of the museum was here, where you could push a button near the Sawmill vignette and listen to "TIMBER" and the crack of a loud tree falling. We did that many, many times.
Upstairs for a quick poke through a big airliner, a bit of getting lost trying to get back down, and then the promised tour through the Zephyr train. Seems it was the fastest train in 1930 and was able to travel 120 miles an hour. It made a special trip between Denver and Chicago for the World's Fair, and a donkey was picked up in Denver, brought on the train, and presented to the train president (i think) once they arrived in Chicago.
All of this to explain why a portion of the tour was led by an animatronic donkey. When the boys were questioning the donkey on the tour i explained it was a robot. But then later i said maybe it was magic donkey. On the way home we debated which was probably right (Henry-- robot, Silas- magic donkey) and Henry told me we'd have to go back and be scientists to figure it out.
Then pb&J in the car, a little belly-aching and some good rest for all our sore legs. Plus we cleaned the house, which i will write about (scintillating cliff hanger) in my next post.