Museum of Science and Industry
One of the few remaining structures from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the MSI Chicago is as impressive on the outside as it is within. Be sure to reserve an entire day (or two) to browse the seemingly infinite numbers of exhibits about science and technology, including a captured German submarine from WWII and an interactive coal mine exhibit.
Chicago’s Museum Campus houses three science- and nature-related institutions — regarded as among the best of their kinds in the world — on a lakefront setting. These cultural destinations attract more visitors to Chicago than any other attraction in the city.
The Field Museum of Natural History features exhibits on art, archaeology, science and history. From Mayans to mammoths, climate change to natural disasters, this museum houses an incredible collection of creatures that have lived on the surface of the Earth.
Founded in 1930, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum is the country’s first and oldest planetarium. Visit the two star-gazing theaters, enjoy the many interactive exhibits about space and science, and browse a rare collection of antique astronomical instruments. (You’ll also be treated to a breath-taking view of the Chicago skyline.)
Since 1930, the Shedd Aquarium has been a main attraction in the city. The aquarium has continued to fulfill its mission to foster appreciation for and interest in marine and animal life by offering new and exciting exhibits regularly. Be sure to visit the Oceanarium and Wild Reef, in addition to many other interesting exhibits. The museum was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Chicago History Museum
With a collection comprised of more than 22 million items, the Chicago History Museum has been collecting material about the city’s history since 1856 in seven main categories: Archives and Manuscripts, Architecture, Costumes, Decorative and Industrial Arts, Prints and Photographs, Painting and Sculpture, and Library materials.
Chicago Children’s Museum
Featuring engaging and cutting-edge interactive exhibits, performance and art, the Chicago Children’s Museum offers kids the chance to learn while they express themselves. Check the site regularly for updated exhibits.
Of course, the best of all worlds would be to visit each of these Chicago museums free of charge! Well, with some planning, you can. Each one of these museums has several free days a year. You can also purchase a Go Chicago Card pass that delivers deep discounts on Chicago area attractions. (The pass includes all of the sites listed above, plus many more!)
Whether you’ll be a tourist or a resident of the Windy City, focus your sight-seeing time on Chicago’s museums. Take advantage of your proximity to these cultural treasure troves, and enjoy them all!
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