Feeling antsy

A better-organized person might not have started a Web site and blog just before going on vacation — I’ve successfully forgotten much of what I learned in the first two days — but there it is. I wanted to wade in. Now I start again.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the plan to move the Chicago Children’s Museum from its Navy Pier site to Grant Park. While there are many reasons why this is a bad idea, let’s look at a few positives.

First, why shouldn’t the city, via the park district, get a cut of the $9 a head the museum currently charges adults and kids alike? (Other museums give kids a break; the Children’s Museum — because it’s all about the kids? —charges everybody equally. As museums go, it’s in the middle of pricing: The Aquarium and Planetarium are cheaper, Field and Science & Industry more expensive.) Presumably, though I don’t know the details, a move to the park would bring more money to the city than leaving the museum where it is. Not to mention the whopping break the museum would get by being on public land.

But the best reason to do the park deal lies in the museum design. It’s a bunker. The museum’s Web site includes a cutaway diagram of what the proposed three-story underground playground would look like, and frankly they’re missing an opportunity here. Instead of putting all of it underground, make the east side of it just like the diagram: a three-story-high glass wall, so people on the outside can look in. The park district could put terraced seating across from the wall and the thing could become an attraction like the Bean. And, like the Bean, it would have its own nickname: the Ant Farm. Call it a children’s museum if you want, but it’s the Ant Farm.

And a big one, too. At 100,000 square feet, it’s a little smaller than a Home Depot. Personally, I hate going to Home Depot, but I’d be tempted to sit outside one on a bench and watch people stroll around inside trying to find stuff. How much more fun to watch parents who just dropped $9 a head try to lead their kids away from the Legos and off to the next fun thing.

Feeling lucky

Of course, another approach might be to reconsider the whole idea of the children’s museum. Instead of charging admission and then letting kids do the kinds of things they can also do at the Museum of Science & Industry, how about making it free, and selling them tokens — a minimum of $9 worth, say? — good for various free-enterprise games.

Like the Number Wheel, where Mr. Digit will show how a certain number of tokens placed on a number and a color — say, red or black — can become a lot more tokens.

Or none at all. Valuable lesson in managing money. I mean tokens.

Then it’s off to the track, where Thomas the Tank Engine and his pals hold races, and kids can back their favorites with as many tokens as they like.

Hey, here’s Bob the Builder, too, disguised as a big Duplo slot machine. Put in a token, pull the arm that holds the hammer and see what happens. And nobody says you have to use the tokens, either; want to just hold them and spend them at Chuck E. Cheese’s later (forgot to mention the valuable corporate sponsorship opportunities here), you go right ahead. But this, too, is a chance to learn valuable lessons about capitalism. Like “faint heart never filled a flush.”

Plus, there’ll be free juice and free snacks (healthy ones, of course). Surround the thing by a moat (and if the leakage problems the nearby Harris Theater is having are any indication, it may be partway there already) and it’s a shoo-in for that lonely gaming license. The Kiddie Kasino. Right inside the Ant Farm.

Coming soon

Good news for those of us waiting to see “Diminished Capacity,” the film of Sherwood Kiraly’s novel of the same name. It’s supposed to be out in July.

Kiraly mentions the date in his current Coastline Pilot column, which Cubs fans ought to read. A former Chicagoan and Hinsdale-ean, Kiraly has lived in California for many years, but not nearly long enough to become a Padres fan.

 

 

17 Responses to “Feeling antsy”

  1. Greg says:

    Kudos for your brilliant insights! The public is clamoring for MORE!!!

  2. You know this is a very good post i hadent thought about this for quite a while and you have like sparked me to look into it further and re educate my self in the subject….thanks,hope to see more of your posts soon

  3. hippie443 says:

    How does this tie to one of the previous stories? Maybe I’m slow… because I could’ve been on a differnet blog. lol Nevermind. At any rate, it was a solid post. Thanks

    Kelly Malthus
    Exfoliating sponge

  4. Ali Revelo says:

    Hi….Just wanted to give my Thanks for providing this information to all of us…its geatly appeciated and i look forward to seeing any thing else you may post in the future..A+

  5. Great job! Nice! Keep it up!

  6. Nice post — thanks for sharing.

  7. I didn’t quite understand this at first. But when I read it a third time, it all became clear. Thanks for the idea. Certainly something to think about.

  8. Useful info shared I am very delighted to read this particular article..many thanks for providing people wonderful tips.Fantastic walk-through. I enjoy this blog post.

  9. Helpful tips shared I’m very happy to go through this article..many thanks with regard to presenting all of us nice tips.Fantastic walk-through. I enjoy this kind of blog post.

  10. Helpful info shared I’m very delighted to read this article..many thanks with regard to providing us nice material.Fantastic walk-through. I truly appreciate this kind of write-up.

  11. Definitely agree with exactly what you said. Your explanation was undoubtedly the least complicated to understand. I tell you, I typically get annoyed any time individuals discuss matters that they obviously do not know about. You were able to strike the nail on the head and explained every thing without complication. Possibly, individuals can get a sign. Will more than likely be back again to get even more. Thx

  12. Helpful tips discussed I am quite delighted to go through this particular write-up..thanks for presenting all of us wonderful info.Excellent walk-through. I enjoy this write-up.

  13. Yeah! Great piece, continue to keep in place the terrific job. This is the kind of knowledge that should get worldwide recognition pertaining to it’s workmanship. More internet writers ought to learn from you. This is right on the money.

  14. Took me a moment to understand most the remarks, however I genuinely enjoyed the article. It turned out to be Quite beneficial to me and I am sure to almost all the commenters here as well! It is definitely great when you can not only be informed, but additionally entertained! I’m certain you had fun writing this kind of article.

  15. That’s right! Excellent writing, keep up the amazing job. This is the kind of information that should get recognition for it’s workmanship. More internet writers should learn from you. This is right on the money.

  16. Fantastic resources. Wish I could locate more knowledge like this from others! Thank you!

  17. Acquiring garbage bins to load your dumpster rentals will get you maximum value

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.