By Rachel Azark
This might be my most favorite museum in Chicago. It doesn’t have the stiffness of the Field Museum and everything is hands-on. The museum has done a lot of improvements in the past couple of years to take it beyond the ‘80s style exhibits into more, flashy 21st century displays. If you haven’t been in awhile, it might be time to make a visit back to the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere to enjoy what they have to offer.
Daily: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The museum is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Occasionally the museum is open until 5:30 p.m. Please visit the website to see the select dates.
Senior (65+): $14
Child (3-11): $10
Senior (65+): $12
Child (3-11): $9
Add-ons to the General Admission price include the Omnimax, U505 Submarine: Optional On-board Tour, WOW! Tour, Coal Mine (starting March 15, 2012 – can we say disappointment for the new charge?), and MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition (Opening March 15, 2012). Please see the ticket website to view the prices for the add-ons and the museum’s schedule of free days.
Where to Eat
The Brain Food Court
Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Can’t decide on what you want? Then head over to the food court where you can recharge on pizzas, deli sandwiches, grill food and salads.
Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Looking for a hot drink, a smoothie or a nice pastry, stop by Jazzman’s and pick up something to go.
Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor
Main Level near the Coal Mine
Friday – Sunday 11:30 a.m. until one hour before the museum closes
Maybe you’re not looking for a meal but a sweet treat instead. Visit an old-fashioned ice cream parlor based on a real Hyde Park place that opened in 1917.
Here are some of my favorite exhibits at the museum.
YOU! The Experience: Want to know how old your organs are? How your mind works? How we move?
Baby Chick Hatchery: One of the older exhibits at the museum showcases the birth of a baby chick as it cracks its way out of its shell and takes it first steps. It’s amazing.
Science Storms: Find out the science behind seven natural phenomena including lightening, fire, tornadoes, avalanches, tsunamis, sunlight and atoms in motion.
How to Get to the Museum
It’s probably easiest to take a car and park at the underground parking garage for $20. Depending on what direction you’re coming from you can find detailed directions on the website.
There are also four different bus routes that stop near the museum. Bus route 10 makes stops along Michigan Avenue and near many hotels. Make sure to check the schedule though as the schedule changes throughout the year.
If it is warm outside, it might be a nice idea to ride your bike down the lakefront path. Just north of 57th Street, follow the ramp down into the underpass below Lake Shore Drive, then left into the underpass below 57th Street. Bike racks are available. This is the most green-friendly option and cheapest if you own your own bike.
Make sure to check for hotel packages that include the museum when making your reservation.