South Side, North Side, West Side — wherever you live in Chicago or its suburbs — you probably consider the Museum of Science and Industry to be an important part of your life. Even though it is located downtown, this wonderful source of interesting adventures may as well be a part of everyone’s own neighborhood.
After all those field trips we enjoyed as kids — and the later visits when we returned as dignified adults — most of us have developed strong sentimental feelings about our favorite exhibits. The old-time delights are still thrilling newer generations — the Baby Chick Hatchery, Colleen Moore’s Miniature Fairy Castle, and those wonderful vintage aircraft hanging from the ceiling in the main lobby are still a part of the MSI landscape. What kid (of any age) wouldn’t relish the thrill of another ride through the famous coal mine or a walk down a street in old Chicago (complete with stores to shop in and an old-fashioned movie theater where one can enter for free and watch a silent movie.) As a matter of fact, there are all sorts of fun things to walk through, including the famous U505 German submarine preserved just as it was in World War II — and how about that gigantic replica of a beating human heart that is big enough to walk through and has never lost its appeal.
These classic favorites have been augmented by fascinating new attractions, almost too numerous to mention here. Even as I write this, people are lining up eagerly every day to enjoy the seasonal favorite “Christmas Around the World” and the Holiday of Lights.
The Bad News
Normally, the Museum of Science and Industry is not an economical adventure. Spending a day in this place also means coughing up $15 (adult admission), $14 (Senior 65+), or $10 for a child aged 3 to 11 or — if you are a Chicago resident — $13 for an adult, $12 for a Senior, and $9 for a child. If Mom and Dad take three kids here, it can add up — but here’s something else that a lot of Chicago area people may not know.
The GOOD News!
There are certain days during the year when general admission to the Museum of Science and Industry is totally FREE. Bring all the family members or friends you can round up and you will still walk in for free on these days in 2011:
January 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31.
February 1, 8, 14, 15, 22.
June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9
September 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Even though certain special exhibits may still cost something to enter, that all adds up to more than 50 days of basically free enjoyment, and it probably would take almost that long just to see everything in this fabulous world of fun, fascination, and information which a visitor can enjoy at his or her leisure and sheltered from the elements of inclement weather no matter what the season. One thing that I have always liked about the Museum of Science and Industry is that it is designed so well that one never feels crowded or stampeded along, even on the busiest days. Restaurants, gift shops, and other amenities — including many comfortable places to just sit down for a few minutes — are available to visitors. (My advice is to wear comfortable shoes, try to keep together and enjoy things at your leisure without trying to see everything in one day.)
How to Get There from Here:
The Museum of Science and Industry is located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, accessible by public transportation and is open every day of the year except December 25. Safe, convenient underground parking is available. For more information about the Exhibits, hours of admission, memberships, special deals, and travel directions, phone 1 (773) 684-1414 or visit http://msichicago.org.