Even though it might be crowded, you could still hear your footsteps echoing as you explored the many galleries of the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago, Ill. People had come from around the world just to explore this well-known point of interest located within a couple hundred yards of Lake Michigan. From Lake Shore Drive you could see a German Submarine that had been captured and brought to its final resting-place at the museum. Once entering the museum through its massive doors, you can’t help but stand in awe at everything that lies all around you. As you gaze toward the ceiling, planes from as far back as the Wright Brothers to the once futuristic supersonic jets, hang suspended as if frozen in time.
Suddenly, the shrieking sound of a steam whistle forces everyone to glance further into the museum where a replica of a working coal mine is located. To enter the dark, dangerous underworld of mining, we have to climb at least 30 feet into the air on metal stairs that can bring out our unknown fear of heights that has lain dormant until now. Once, we are greeted by a guide wearing a hard hat with a lamp attached, everyone is herded into a rickety old elevator. After being packed in like sardines, a heavy metal door slams shut, thus securing us for our long trip down into the unknown world of the miner. After experiencing these make-believe dangers, everyone was led out of the darkness and into one of the many great halls of the museum.
Glancing into one of the many large rooms, I spied what would end up being my most favorite part of the museum — the large electric train display. I can’t even begin to remember just how many different trains were on display, but there were many. I watched in amazement as trains entered and exited the many tunnels that worked their way through imaginary mountains. Some were freight trains that traversed through the open country, while others wound their way around small towns and manufacturing sites. Miniature people stood on make-believe street corners as if waiting for a bus, while replicas of children and dogs played in yards that surrounded their tiny houses. Trains were coming and going in every direction, so much so that I became dizzy trying to take in all that was happening before my eyes. I often pretended that I was small enough to be riding on one of the passenger cars that were heading to some unknown and exciting destination.