With cooler weather on the way, a day spent inside one of Chicago's world-class museums sounds like a great option. But visiting these museums -- especially with a few kids in tow -- can get pricey.
Checking out a Museum Adventure Pass from your local library is one option. Sometimes it makes the most sense to become a member, especially if it's a place you'll visit more than once in a year. And if you plan to visit a couple of museums in a short time span, you'll want to look into purchasing the CityPass or the Go Chicago Card.
But many Chicago museums also offer community free days or regular days during a month when visitors get in free. Note that these days are often quite popular, so you might be fighting some crowds. And also make sure to check the museum’s website, or give the museum a call, before your visit to make sure nothing has changed since this guide was compiled.
Here's a list of the published discount dates for Chicago sites in fall of 2013:
* The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 312-922-7827. Free general admission for Illinois residents: Sept. 24 and 25. More updates to be posted soon under "special offers" on the home page.
* Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Museum Campus. 312-399-2438. Free general admission for Illinois residents on the following dates: Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 23, Dec. 30.
* The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. 312-443-3600. The Art Institute is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Children under 14 are always free except during group visits or student tours.
* Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 East Grand Avenue on Navy Pier in Chicago. 312-527-1000. Free for all visitors every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and free for all children 15 and under on the first Sunday of every month. Here's a coupon for $1 off each admission, up to four per family.