There is one thing that becomes evident as soon as you meet my three-year-old son Max. He loves dinosaurs. I think every kid goes through a dino-phase, but Max REALLY loves them. He can identify more dinosaurs than I ever could. He loves to pretend to be dinosaurs. He has dino costumes, and toys, and over 120 dino figurines.

We knew that the day we brought him to the Field Museum would be a very good day, but we had to find the right time.

Monday was that day. My wife had the day off, I had a vacation day to use. Chicago Public Schools did NOT have the day off, so we expected a lighter crowd.

And boy, it didn’t disappoint!

As soon as we walked into the main hall and saw Maximo, the museum’s replica Titanisaur (the largest dinosaur ever discovered), Max was going bonkers. Running from this side to that side, taking it all in.

We looked up and saw the Quetzalcoatlus (below, the largest flying animal ever), and his mouth dropped.

My wife and I followed Max from one exhibit to another, watching him tell us which dinosaurs we were looking at (with surprising accuracy), checking out all the different animals, all without the smile and excitement leaving his face.

It was a parent’s dream.

Then it came time to see Sue, the museum’s prize T. Rex. You have to walk through quite a long and winding exhibit through prehistoric time until you get to the time of the T. Rex. Around every corner a new set of dinosaurs and growing anticipation. Then we could hear it. The roar of the T. Rex and the people chatting and talking photos. I picked him up, and we peaked around the corner.

Let me tell you, if we could capture the look on Max’s face and use it for electricity, we could power the Earth for decades! I snapped him back…then we peaked around the corner again. He wiggled out of my arms and ran up to the rail just marveling at the huge set of bones that he has only read about in his numerous dinosaur books until that point.

It was awesome!

His favorite part of the whole day…the video playing inside the T. Rex exhibit where it showed Sue taking a bite of a dead ankylosaurus (the one with the armor plating and club for a tail)…then pooping. Kids…am I right?

Naturally, we had to exit through the gift shop. Could I get through it without buying something? Of course not. What did he choose for his gift? A toy T. Rex, of course…the 10th T. Rex in his dino collection.

From the practical parent side of things, two things stood out.

The award-winning bathrooms were fantastic! Each one had toddler stalls with low toilets and step-stools at the sinks.

Then…the best part? Both kids were knocked out before we even left the parking garage! Parent win!

It was one of the best days we’ve had as a young family, and I can’t wait to do it again with our young daughter someday!