As part of an extended birthday celebration for Mona over Thanksgiving weekend we took a couple of trips down to Chicago. The first was with relatives to the Field Museum, and the second was after the guests left and just our little family went to the Museum of Science and Industry. That was where we sought out the last set of Mold-A-Rama machines we know of in Chicago. Mona declared it the best birthday destination ever.
The Museum of Science and Industry is a spectacular place. It was all decked out for Christmas with sparkling trees and lights everywhere, so it was particularly festive. There was so much to touch and marvel at, and now that we know we can get in free with our reciprocal membership to our own science museum we will go back! (Although, to get into the submarine or the mine exhibit we'll have to buy tickets next time.)
Plasma balls, baby chicks hatching, an enormous train set, and a little kids' area called The Idea Factory with water guns and plastic balls that none of my children felt too old for. I even got some Christmas shopping done in the gift shop, so life was good all around.
The four Mold-A-Ramas at Science and Industry are a steam train, a submarine, a space shuttle, and a tractor. (Mona got them all for her personal collection as well and said they were perfect birthday souvenirs.)
This brings us up to 48 figures, and we can now say we've gotten something from every Mold-A-Rama machine in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. We still want to go back to the Brookfield Zoo and get the six figures they have now they didn't have when we went before, but that's just icing on the plastic molded cake.
Sometime during summer travels we hope to get out to Minnesota (Como Zoo, which we've heard wonderful things about) and Ohio (possibly two places in Toledo! I love visiting Toledo), and we are considering a big road trip to Florida to see how many machines we can find there. My information is out of date, but it looks like we could acquire up to 60 more figures if we're lucky. The kids are excited! And so am I.
I have to say, it's been an entertaining obsession to indulge. At only two dollars a pop my kids can afford to buy Mold-A-Ramas for themselves when they like as we add to the family collection. It's silly enough that we can't take it too seriously, but hunting down the machines inspires us to get out and explore in a way we might not otherwise do. I think we've done more in Chicago this year than we have in all the years since we started having kids. The kids can tell you a story about each figure lined up in our dining room, where we got it, what we did on that trip together....
Our collection will never tour the world for fascinated crowds like a display of Faberge eggs, but it doesn't need to. Its value is in the memories that pile up along with the growing number of little plastic figures on our shelf. It's a good collection.