Even little kids know that whales are really, really big. But it is hard to truly comprehend just how big the giants of the deep really are -- which is why the Field Museum's new whale exhibit will thrill kids and adults alike.
Before you even enter the exhibit, be sure to look up at see "Stanley," a life size, inflatable whale hanging from the ceiling in the main hall. This model is a great way for kids (and you too!) to really get an idea of just how large whales are.
This first-class exhibit looks at whales from a variety of perspectives -- evolution (did you know the first whales actually had feet and walked on land?), anatomy, cultural significance, historical context, etc.
Highlights of the exhibit include the sperm whale skeleton, measuring in at 58 feet long. My kids also loved the opportunity to run through the life-size model of the heart of a blue whale. They also enjoyed a dolphin "video game" where the objective was to keep the dolphin alive by catching fish, getting enough air, and avoiding ghost nets and other dangers. I liked the collection of beautiful items carved from whale bone and teeth (although the kiddos could have cared less about this aspect of the exhibit).
A few notes . . . . this exhibit is really better for kids age 7 and up. My two little guys ran through the place in record time. With a few exceptions (like the dolphin video game), this exhibit doesn't offer a ton of interactive opportunities for kids to help them connect to the content. Also, there is a video that documents a whale stranding (and the whale's subsequent demise). I would skip that because it seemed a wee bit to graphic for the kiddos.
Whales: Giants of the Deep will be at the Field Museum through January 16, 2012.
Check out the photo gallery below to learn more about the exhibit.
Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary admission to the Field Museum so we could check out the new exhibit.