New at the Nature Museum: Nature's LunchBox

Next time you take the kiddos to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, you should definitely pack your lunches and take advantage of the new permanent exhibit called Nature's LunchBox, sponsored by Dominick's.

This formerly bland and boring lunchroom space is now a vibrant, interactive learning space. Nature's LunchBox illustrates the life cycle of food -- from the farm, to the market, and then (hopefully) into the compost bin.

As visitors enter the room, the exhibit starts with images of the types
of food grown on farms (plus information on how we turn that food into
things like soda and junk food). Next, kids head to the supermarket
section where they can check out the healthy (and also not-so-healthy)
options. Then off to the kitchen where kids can kids can lift the lids
off of various pots and smell what's cooking (like pesto pasta and
squash soup). 

The exhibit also touches on growing food in home gardens
(watered from a rain barrel, naturally). Kids can check out the recycling
and compost stations to see what happens to the food left on their
plates. Finally, a large, dimensional wall display highlights the
different types of foods available during the various seasons. 

The absolute best part of this space is the many different interactive activities
for kids of various ages. My 4 year-old loved tipping the watering can
and watching a tomato plant rise up from the ground. My 20 month-old son
just ran around pushing every single button he could find. I loved the computer kiosk where you can email yourself healthy and creative recipes created by Melissa Graham of Little Localvores.

This space will be used by school groups and is also available to all museum visitors. And look out for future special events in this room -- including chef demos and other fun tie-ins to the Green City Market.

The only potential downside of this fun lunchroom? My guess is that kids will be so excited to explore this space that they will hardly eat any of their actual lunches!

Have a peek at the photo gallery to get a better look what at Nature's LunchBox has to offer.

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