Museum of Science and Industry

Petroleum Planet

April 24, 2000 - February 5, 2013

Exhibit Essentials

This exhibit is suitable for Grades 4-8, Grades 9-12, Adults.

You may not realize it, but a vast majority of the products we use everyday, from toothpaste to running shoes, all rely on a very basic and simple substance: petroleum. Petroleum Planet is an innovative and interactive look at this humble liquid and its impact.

Greeted by a remote-operated underwater vehicle and multicolored tubes of bubbling crude oil, you’ll step into the exhibit and be transformed into a tiny hydrocarbon molecule in a vast pipeline. From there, you will embark on a journey through distillation and transportation control and the "pig pen," finally arriving at your destination as a finished product. And don’t think this trip will be a stroll through the park: you’ll have the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities with fantastic murals and multimedia presentations to guide you on your way.

As a refinery operator, help a major airport obtain the petroleum products it needs while discovering facts about catalysts and chemical reactions. Race against time getting crude oil from Saudi Arabia to a racetrack outside Chicago in Transportation Control. See how the "pigs" clean and assess the condition of the pipeline while separating types of fuel in the Pig Pen. Scramble your way out of the Molecule Bump-Through and the Mirror Maze to reach the Speedway, where racecar simulators show you the importance of gasoline additives and blending. In the Petro Mall, you’ll identify various petroleum-based products; hop on some ski or snowboard simulators and take a good look at high-tech fabrics at Petro Sporting Goods; get involved with video interactives or visit the children’s learning lab and create your own polymer!

Museum Hours
  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
More Information

Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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