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Entries in museums (15)

Wednesday
Jan292014

Winter Guide 2014: Visiting a Suburban Museum or Zoo for Free

Last week, we brought you an updated "Visiting a Chicago Museum for Free” post. But we can't forget the 'burbs! While nearly every major Chicago museum offers “community free days,” that is more rare among suburban institutions, so the list below is a bit less definitive than the Chicago one.

Please 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 list was compiled. And if you know of a spot that should be on here, please let us know!

Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st Street, Brookfield. 708-688-8000.  Admission to the Hamill Family Play Zoo is free through Feb. 28, 2014. but you still must pay general admission and a $10 parking fee at the zoo. Currently for 2014, the Brookfield Zoo had free admission on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 27, only during regular zoo hours. 

Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Avenue, Wheaton. 630-665-5534. It caused a bit of a stir in 2010 when this formerly free zoo (part of the Wheaton Park District) started charging admission. Residents of the Wheaton Park District are still free. Otherwise, adults pay $3, but children up to age 17 are free. 

The 'summer kitchen' at Kline Creek Farm, which is always free to visit. Photo by Tara Burghart. 

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Thursday
Jan162014

Winter Guide 2014: Visit a Chicago Museum for Free

With this bitterly cold winter we're having, 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.

Many Chicago museums 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 the winter of 2014, and for some spots, the whole year:

The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 312-922-7827. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014: Jan. 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29. More updates to be posted soon under "special offers" on the home page.  

Museum of Science & Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. 773-684-1414. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014 on: Jan. 17, 20-24, 27-31; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 10; May 5; June 1-6; September 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29; Oct. 6-7; Nov. 3, Dec. 8. The museum is also free for all children ages 3-11 on every day in February 2014. More details here!

Admission to the Chicago Children's Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month and on Thursday evenings starting at 5 p.m. Photo by naydeeyah on Flickr.

Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s Museum Campus. 312-399-2438. Free general admission for Illinois residents in 2014 on the following dates: Jan. 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28; Feb. 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24 and 25. More dates are likely to be posted soon.

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Thursday
Nov072013

Fall Guide 2013: Visiting a Suburban Museum or Zoo for Free During the Cold Weather Months

In September we brought you an updated "Visiting a Chicago Museum for Free” post. But we can't forget the 'burbs! While nearly every major Chicago museum offers “community free days,” that is more rare among suburban institutions, so the list below is a bit less definitive than the Chicago one.

Please 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 list was compiled. And if you know of a spot that should be on here, please let us know!

Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st Street, Brookfield. 708-688-8000.  Admission to the Hamill Family Play Zoo is free from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013. but you still must pay general admission and a $10 parking fee at the zoo. Currently for 2013, the Brookfield Zoo had free admission on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Dec. 31, 2013, only during regular zoo hours. Zoo admission fees apply to Holiday Magic. (I'm expecting Brookfield to post its free days for early 2014 soon.)

Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Avenue, Wheaton. 630-665-5534. It caused a bit of a stir in 2010 when this formerly free zoo (part of the Wheaton Park District) started charging admission. Residents of the Wheaton Park District are still free. Otherwise, adults pay $3, but children up to age 17 are free. During its "Festival of Lights and Tree Sales" from Nov. 29 through Dec. 24, 2013, admission is free. 

Admission for children is free at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, and admission is free during its 2013 holiday festival, as well. Photo by bitznbitez on Flickr.

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Sunday
Sep222013

Fall Guide 2013: Visit a Chicago Museum for Free

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.  

Museum of Science & Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. 773-684-1414. Free general admission for Illinois residents on: Sept. 23-27, Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2, Nov. 4 and Dec. 9. 

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.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue in Chicago. 312-280-2660. Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays year round. 

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street in Chicago. 312-642-4600. Free general admission for Illinois residents on all Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in September, Oct. 1-3, and Oct. 8-10.

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.

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. 312-922-9410. Free basic admission for Illinois residents on Sept. 24-25. More dates likely to be posted soon. 

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.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive in Chicago. 773-755-5100. Thursdays are "suggested donation days" for Illinois residents.

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place in Chicago. 773-947-0600. Admission is free to all on each Sunday of the year.

Thursday
Sep122013

Get in Free to a Chicago-Area Museum on Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live! 

If your family has ever visited Washington D.C., you know that Smithsonian Museums are free every day. Every year, Smithsonian magazine hosts a day in which participating museums across the country give free admission to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket.

This year's event is being held on Saturday, Sept. 28. Each ticket provides free admission to one person plus a guest. There is a limit of one ticket per household. And the ticket is only for admission, it does not include parking or special events and exhibits. Here's the link to receive your ticket, which will be emailed to you.

There are more than 45 Illinois institutions that are participating this year. You can find a full list here, and below are some of those I thought might most appeal to families in the Chicago area:

  • Adler Planetarium in Chicago
  • Aurora Regional Fire Museum in Aurora
  • Cuneo Mansion and Garden in Vernon Hills
  • DuPage County Historical Museum in Wheaton
  • DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago
  • Farnsworth House in Plano
  • Graue Mill and Museum in Oak Brook
  • Great Lakes Naval Museum in Great Lakes
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie
  • Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Rockford
  • Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Chicago
  • National Hellenic Museum in Chicago
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago
  • SciTech Museum in Aurora