Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Unseasonable Trip to the Nature Museum

We were going to write a “nice weather” post today... But who's in the mood for that now!  Just this past weekend we have been unkindly reminded that winter is still sticking around—which was the inspiration for using this great seasonal comic (here for more). So, instead, our next couple posts will be wrapping up our winter museum travels (along with the winter weather, we hope)!

A view overhead of the produce vendors in the lobby
Although spring has officially begun, it is still the off-season for many of Chicago's best nice weather features--the beaches, city gardens, and farmer's markets.  For those of you who didn't know, Green City Market (which is Chicago's premier farmer's market) continues to run even during the off season.  Their winter farmer's markets are held indoors, at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum! This museum collaboration makes sense for a couple reasons: 1) it’s a nature museum, so why not hold farmer’s market there celebrating nature’s yield; and 2), the place is such a beautiful space to begin with, and one of few places that could still offer you a chance to connect with nature during the winter, when most things outside in this city seem dead.  We were itching to get back into the swing of the farmer’s market season—plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to head to Peggy Notebaert?

Before the clouds came
Unfortunately, winter weather reared its ugly head again last Saturday.  Although it looked like it could have been a lovely sunny day, the skies became cloudy and the day was soon overcast (foreshadowing the collective mood of the city before the snow hit—see attached photo).  But the Nature Museum is built to make the most of the sunlight hitting Lincoln Park, so it was still bright inside.  The produce vendors were stationed in the main lobby of the museum, although this too was a reflection of the slow transition from seasons.  Not much produce was available beyond potatoes and mushroom (of which there was a great selection), so the Market had beefed up their vendor selection with heavier items more likely to help you cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  There were quite a few vendors selling bread, pastries and fried items.  Let it be noted that those items are always available at Green City Market, no matter what season.  It’s just that the SAD on this day made those items more attractive and obvious.

Owl Turd Comix
Overall, it was still a great trip out, even though nature’s yield wasn’t particularly high on Saturday.  It was nice to be able to go to a museum for something that was totally not museum-related, and then still have the opportunity to be able to tour the exhibits afterward.  In fact it almost made the Nature Museum seem more like a community center—having many guests there for various reasons.  So many young parents and younger children roaming around the place for learning opportunities, while other folks were there solely for the farmer’s market offerings.  To have the place be that busy before it was technically even open (the farmer’s market starts at 8am, while the Museum doesn’t officially open until 10am).  Fortunately the Museum staff was there early, and was kind enough to open up the Butterfly Haven early.  After we perused the vendor stands in the lobby and in the upper level, we were able to have the Butterfly Haven basically to ourselves.  It’s already such a peaceful place there, but it was nice to have it away from the crowds, too—an opportunity not often afforded in a Chicago museum on a Saturday.  So, thankful to this collaboration with Green City Market for a more personal experience at the Nature Museum!

While the not-Spring weather is still around, the Green City Market will be held indoors through the end of April (the outdoor market season starts in May).  There are two more opportunities for you to visit the indoor market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  For more info, check out the Nature Museum’s website here,  and Green City’s website here.

No comments:

Post a Comment