Robots and aMAZing mirror room tantalize at MSI

 

If asked what would you like a robot to do what would be your answer?

Robot Thespian by Engineered Arts greets visiotros at the entrance/exit of Robot Revolution at the Museum of Science and Industry. Jodie Jacobs photo
Robot Thespian by Engineered Arts greets visiotros at the entrance/exit of Robot Revolution at the Museum of Science and Industry. Jodie Jacobs photo

That’s a question that Tom, an employee who often can be found taking a shift in the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Robot Revolution” exhibit, asks the crowd of kids and adults who gather around while he explains drones.

Homework and housework are two of the frequent answers he said he gets.

If you go MSI’s Robots exhibit you can see a robot that is doing some housework. It moves along the floor cleaning dirt and debris. And that robot is on the market.

The other robots in the exhibit also exist in today’s world but are used by industry, health care and other commercial ventures. They are fascinating to watch. They come in all shapes. And they can do tasks that might be harmful to humans.

When you first walk in you see a person-type of robot. Press “How Do I Work” to have him talk to you and explain what makes him move. Don’t be surprised when you walk away if his eyes follow you even though he has stopped talking.

There are robots you can touch, such as a cuddly stuffed-animal that is used in hospitals and clinics that make patients feel better when they pet it and robot “bots” that you can put together yourself to do some things such as shine a light.

There are robots that can move up and down stairs and inclines that can be used in dangerous situations and robots that can be programmed to play soccer.

Just allow enough time to try everything in this exhibit but don’t forget to check out some of the science museum’s other wonders.

Enter the Mirror Maze to try and find the hidden room. MSI photo
Enter the Mirror Maze to try and find the hidden room. MSI photo

For example, on the same level as Robots is “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze.

It’s fun, dizzying and challenging. There are dead ends and a hidden room of images.

After tentatively trying it and figuring out that you can exit, go back in to explore it further and solve some of its puzzles.

The idea is to look at nature from a mathematical point of view that appreciates how patterns in nature are important.

There is so much to see and do at the museum that best plan is to allow several hours there.

The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For a museum  overview visit MSI.

 

Around Town: This weekend and coming days

There’s something for all ages and interests in and around Chicago. Just dress for the weather. After all this is Chicago.

 

'Where Did We Sit on the Bus' at Victory Gardens with and by Brian Quajada. Joel Maisonet photo
‘Where Did We Sit on the Bus’ at Victory Gardens with and by Brian Quajada. Joel Maisonet photo

 Theater

There is just a short time left to catch the awarding- winning actors, playwrights and shows is Victory Gardens’ Up Close & Personal series. Begun April 27 and running through June 4, 2017, the series features three plays.

“A Little Bit Not Normal,” written and performed by Arlene Malinowski, can be seen at 7:30 p.m. May 20 and 21. “Where Did We Sit on the Bus,” written and performed by Brian Quajada, is at 3 p.m. today, May, 20, and June 2 and at 7:30 p.m. May 24, 26, 28, 31 and June 4. “St Jude,” written and performed by Luis Alfaro is at 3 p.m. May 38 and June 4 and at 7:30 p.m. May 25, 27, June 1, 2, and 3.

The shows are in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.  For tickets and other information call (773) 871-3000 and visit Victory Gardens.

 

Stories

Chicago-area storytellers share experiences in “Israel: Many Voices from and of the Land 3:30-r:30 p.m. May 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Doubletree is at 9599 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie. Local theater and TV actor singer (Steppenwolf, Drury Lane, CSI: NY) Dan Tatar is the emcee. Tickets of $5 advance and $10 at the door (if available) include complimentary Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres before and after the program. For advance tickets and other information visit Spertus and call (312) 322-1773.

 

Be greeted by a robot at the Museum of Science and Industry. J.B. Spector and MSI photo
Be greeted by a robot at the Museum of Science and Industry. J.B. Spector and MSI photo

Robots

Interact with more than 40 robots at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Robot Revolution now through Feb. 4, 2018. Organized by the museum in 2015, the popular exhibit is back to have fun with Chicago area youngsters and adults following a highly touted tour. However there are also new robots such as Cube Solver that can do the Rubik’s Cube. But be sure to visit with RoboThespian, a humanoid robot that greets guests at the entrance and talk to Omron LD Mobile robot who roams the exhibit. Watch Soccer ‘bots play an autonomous competitive game and challenge Baxter, an industrial robot, to a game of tic-tac-toe. Visitors can also build their own robots with Cubelets.

The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. For admission and other information call  (773) 684-1414 or visit MSI

 

Beer

Chicago Craft Beer Week started May 18 but goes through May 25, 2017 and it’s not only inside the city limits. Beer events are also in Itasca, Antioch Lindenhurst, Plainfield, Lisle and Oak Park. They are also happening in Aurora, Evanston, Buffalo Grove, Darien, Romeoville, Glen Ellyn, Mokena and Schaumburg. To find an event near you on the date you want visit Chibeerweek and click on the date.

 

Chicago Riverwalk

OK, it’s raining Saturday, May 20, 2017 when the city celebrates its new fun area along the Chicago River next to Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. But you can also check it out any day. The May 20 events go from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Visit Riverwalk for event schedule and suggestions.

 

Around Town in early April

So what if you have to walk between the raindrops. It’s April!

There are enough events in the Metropolitan Chicago area to brush aside gloomy weather and news outlooks for the entire month. Indeed, there is so much going on that here is just a first look at what’s happening so you can get tickets and fill in a couple of calendar spots.

Steam engines are again going around the Illinois Railway Museum tracks. Photo by Webster's Unabridged Inc and Illinois Railway Museum
Steam engines are again going around the Illinois Railway Museum tracks. Photo by Webster’s Unabridged Inc and Illinois Railway Museum

 

RR Fun

Visit a mid1800s train depot and hop on board some diesel and steam locomotives and assorted Pullmans, dining cars and cabooses at the Illinois Railway Museum. The museum is about an hour northwest of Chicago in Union City.  Closed for the winter, it just opened April 2 for the 2017 season and will remain open weekends through October. Weekday hours go from May through September.

The Illinois Railway Museum is at 7000 Olson Rd., Union, IL 60180. For cost, hours, directions and other information visit Illinois Railway Museum or call (800) Big Rail (244-7245).

 

See  robots

Head over to the Museum of Science and Industry for National Robotics Week activities April 8-9 and 14-15, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Drone racing is April 8 and 9. .For more information visit MSI and MSI Robotics.

The Museum of science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago (773) 684-1414.

 

Listen to glorious music

Hear tenor Lawrence Brownlee (think bel canto) and bass-baritone Eric Owens (Lyric’s “Ring”) with pianist Craig Terry at a Lyric Opera recital at the Civic Opera House, 3 p.m. April 9.

The Civic Opera House is at 20 N. Wacker Dr, Chicago. For tickets and other information visit Lyric and call (312) 827-5600.

 

Around Town

 

Now that Super Bowl 51 is history, and yes, it made history, and Spring Training doesn’t start for a couple of weeks, it’s time to think about what to do away from the flat screen.

Fortunately Chicago has plenty of attractions to lure folks out of the house. Three ideas are offered here because they are either starting this weekend or will be free or discounted.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden 2017 Orchid Show opens this weekend. Photo by Maria Rebelo
Chicago Botanic Garden 2017 Orchid Show opens this weekend. Photo by Maria Rebelo

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

You can beat the crowd by going to the Members’ Preview Feb. 10, 5-7:30 p.m.  for cocktails and music  ($30). Or go Feb. 11 or 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when  orchids will be sold in the Orchid Marketplace and experts will be around to answer your orchid questions. The show starts this weekend but is extended to March 26, 2017 so there is time to return with more friends and orchid growing questions.

Cost: Adults: members/nonmembers: $10/$12, seniors 62+  $8/$10, children age 3–12: 8/$10. Nonmember parking is extra but can be bought in advance for easier garden entry and there is a Two Pack deal for parking and two tickets.  The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. Call  (847) 835-5440.

 

Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Program

It’s always interesting to see what’s going on at the museum and to check out two special programs there during Black History Month. But if you are an Illinois resident you can do so free of charges this week, Feb. 7-9, and next week, Feb. 14-16.

The Juried Art Exhibition, an annual show since 1970, features professional and aspiring black artists from across the country, now through Feb. 19, 2017.

The other program is the Innovation Studio where visitors learn about African American contributions to the sciences and can add their own ideas and solutions. It is there now through March 4, 2017. The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake shore Drive, Chicago.

 

Bigfin Reef Squid are now swimming at the Shedd Aquarium. Photo compliments of Shedd Aquarium.
Bigfin Reef Squid are now swimming at the Shedd Aquarium. Photo compliments of Shedd Aquarium.

Weird squid at Shedd Aquarium

What has eight arms, two long tentacles, looks right at you and isn’t venomous?

It’s a Bigfin Reef Squid. It’s fun to watch them glide on the mezzanine level of the Abbott Oceanarium. Having just been raised by the Shedd, they are new to the tank where visitor can see them.

Illinois residents have free entry Feb. 10-14, so this week –weekend is a good time to go. A free general admission day is also a discount day which means the Oceanarium charge is less.

The Shedd Aquarium is at 1200 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For other information visit Shedd and call (312) 939-2438.

 

Holiday fun times five

The signs of the season are there. Macy’s windows have come alive with moving characters, holiday market tents are going up in Daley Plaza, a giant evergreen is hoisted in Millennium Park and people are wondering if we should pray for cold to have good ice in the park or warm weather for good shopping.

The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography
The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography

No matter what the weather holds, here are a few of the jolly, holly ways to celebrate the season in the Chicago area.

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Six free and discounted museum visits to ease the budget

Listen up if looking for a weekend activity that won’t empty the pocketbook. Think outer space, mummies or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s famed painting.  With the apple picking season beginning to wind down, the coming weekends are a good time to visit one of Chicago’s world class museums whether interested in art, history or science. Fortunately, free and Illinois discount days offset the necessary fees the museums have to charge to make up for cuts in state and other government subsidies. Here are six free and discounted museum ideas.

The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.
The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.

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Museums: What ends soon and what’s coming

We’ve all done it. We say we’re going to catch something we really want to see or do but before we realize it, the final date has passed. So here are some events and opportunities you may want to put on your calendar.

Tattoo is coming
Tattoo is coming

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