A great reason to explore science exhibits is their appeal to visitors of all ages who can’t help wondering why or how or what. The following wonderful exhibits feed the curiosity gene with some answers, more questions and stimulating thoughts about life: past, present and future.

Museum of Science and Industry (Credit, Jodie Jacobs)

“Fast Forward”
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414
www.msichicago.org

“What if” questions prod thoughts about what might be the next best invention when visitors walk into “Fast Forward,” a futuristic exhibit near the Museum of Science and Industry’s entrance. The area opens into a world of wonder where marvelous inventions are already in use or under development. There is a model of a vertical farm, a futuristic car, an LED-lit dress and interactive stations where visitors can try an invention, hear about inventors and create their own “what ifs.”

The Field Museum (Credit, Jodie Jacobs)

“The Machine Inside: Biomechanics”
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410
www.fieldmuseum.org

Before going into “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics,” a special exhibit running through Jan. 4, 2015, think about what animals can do that arguably might fall into the amazing category. How about leaping an entire football field? Now, wonder what animals or plants might have inspired Velcro or wind turbines. The exhibit not only has unexpected answers, but it also has interactive modules where visitors can find out how hard some natural abilities that look easy really are.

“Science + You”
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd.
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 832-6600
www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org

Imagine visiting a laboratory where visitors have to wash hands, wipe feet on a special mat or take a shower before donning a lab coat. Sponsored by AbbVie, a bio-pharmaceutical company, “Science + You” is a traveling exhibit that returns to Kohl now through November 2, 2014 following an international tour. The exhibit gives youngsters a chance to experience a mini-laboratory through pretend and hands-on steps, visuals and interactive stations. Among the fun stations is the Glove Box where children can put on gloves attached to a box so they work with lab equipment similar to how scientists work.

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“Our Solar System”
Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827
www.adlerplanetarium.org

Colorful planets and other objects orbiting our sun loom overhead as visitors try interactive stations in at the Adler Planetarium’s “Our Solar System.” In this exhibit, visitors get to touch pieces from Mars, the Moon and a meteorite. There is also a Crater Maker for producing a dent as if a meteorite fell to that spot.

“Nature’s Struggle: Survival & Extinction”
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-5100
www.naturemuseum.org

Unless someone living now can view nature as it was, it might be difficult to grasp the changes that have taken place. “Nature’s Struggle: Survival & Extinction,” a temporary exhibit to commemorate the centennial of the death of the last passenger pigeon September 1914, looks at life through the eyes of three children: a boy in 1820, a boy in 1905 and a girl now in 2014. The exhibit, which runs through October 19, 2014, raises awareness of how that which appears to be endless can change and it raises questions on what the future holds.

Related: Best Zoos and Aquariums In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.