A Mastodon? In Wheaton?

The weather, the gray skies, sports’ schedules, basically February…It just doesn’t bode well for getting out and about to see and do fun stuff around town.  I decided to change that, but stay close and walk over to Wheaton College for a field trip of my own.  I had heard about a previous Mastodon finding that was housed and on display in the Science Building at the college.  No need to head into the city, pay for a taxi or parking, or even admission to a museum.  A friend and I had this bad boy all to ourselves.  We weren’t sure of where it was exactly and asked a college girl as soon as we walked into the building.  She said…Keep walking, you can’t miss it.


She was right.  Big as life…or death…was this huge Mastodon that had been found intact in Glen Ellyn, on October 16, 1963.  It had been on display in a different building until 2010 when the new Science Center was built.


There is a little information and some photos on how it was unearthed.


You can get up close and personal for a good look at teeth…


and bones…


The inside skeleton…


And the tusks…



Any science enthusiast or curious kid, in general, will love getting a view this close.

They can enjoy just a little light reading…


and an added bonus… A lower level with some “local science” exhibits!  These are sooo kid friendly.

They have rocks…


and underwater fossils…


Wild game…



And some local facts about our area.


They even have scientific info on what is going on in the science field with Wheaton College students today…



…what they are testing and what the real deal looks like.


And all of this is under the careful watch of Perry the Mastodon.

But no field trip would be complete without a trip to an old fashioned cafeteria…except this is no old fashioned cafeteria!


Of course they have salads, but no boring iceburg lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and croutons here!  They have the most healthy choices.  It is a nutritional foodie’s dream!  They have sweet potato salad, and quinoa salad, and they even have added ingredients like ground flax or pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top.


They have a sandwich bar and panini station for making your own creations…toasted or not.


You can make it or they can make it.


They have all different ethnic food stations…


Italian, Asian, Mexican, or good ol’ American classic comfort food…


And of course desserts.  The day I was there we had a choice of pies…


or fresh fruit for your way out.


But just so you remember that it is definitely a college cafeteria and that you haven’t died and gone to Heaven…


There is any hot sauce you could want. (Or maybe for some like my son, this IS heaven.)

When asking a student (who just happened to be my cousin’s daughter) how she likes the food in the cafeteria, she said, “It’s ok.  Kind of a lot of stuff in it.  I’d like it a little more plain.”  I can see it.  If I was her age, I would have said the same thing, but now, after cooking for myself and family for over 20 years, this really is HEAVEN!  The food was to die for and the menu for the week is incredible.  It is not just delicious either.  It has so many conscious choices.  Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free.  It is also environmentally conscientious. They worry about waste and a low carbon footprint.

If this is what college kids are getting these days, SIGN ME UP!  (In my best whine…I waaaaaant a meeeeeeeal plaaaaaaan at one of the best cafeterias in the country!!   But be ready kids, enjoy it while it lasts…it ain’t like this on the outside.  Someday you’ll have to lift a finger, buy your groceries, and make a meal that no one likes.

If you have a hankering for seeing some local science, giving your kids a look at a college campus, and having some deeeeelicious food, head over to Wheaton College for a Spring Break staycation.  The community is welcome.  Hopefully the sun will be shining, your schedule will be lighter and it will make March go faster.

*One tip ~ At lunch at 11:30 it was like a thundering Mastodon was let loose into the cafeteria.  I think the whole campus came at once. Be ready.


(Instagram photo by Leah Olson)


Leave a comment