With summer just around the corner, you’re probably looking for some family-friendly ideas. Although spending an afternoon swimming in Lake Michigan or playing in a park are great ways to spend summer days, heading indoors and checking out a new museum exhibit can be a great and comfortable alternative on a hot day. From learning about puppets to exploring the days of the Vikings, museums in the Chicago area have plenty of new and upcoming exhibits. Check out some of the best family-friendly museum exhibits in Chicago below.

(Photo Credit: artic.edu/exhibition/puppets)

(Photo Credit: artic.edu/exhibition/puppets)

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Date: Through Aug.16, 2015

Through The Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit Puppets! you and your family can add a touch of whimsy to your summer and learn the historical and artistic importance of puppets. You can get in touch with your creative side also and create your own puppets. You and your child can stage a puppet show while you’re at the Art Institute also.

The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410

Date: Through Oct. 4, 2015

Take a virtual step back in time through the special exhibit Vikings at The Field Museum. The exhibit includes an in-depth look at the lives of Vikings and includes tools, equipment and other artifacts, including a boat. As noted on The Field Museum’s website, many of the artifacts have never been seen outside of Scandinavia. After learning about the Vikings, spend some time perusing the museum’s other exhibits and learning about dinosaurs, gems and cultures around the world.

Related: Best Museum Tours in Chicago

(Photo Credit: msichicago.org)

(Photo Credit: msichicago.org)

Materials Science
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Date: Mar. 19, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016

If you’ve ever wondered how everyday items made from plastic, aluminum and more are created, then the temporary exhibit “Materials Science” at the Museum of Science and Industry is for you. The exhibit explains and explores how new materials are created and uses artifacts and video for an added dimension. The all-ages exhibit includes an Atomic Probe Field Ion Microscope on display. Other exhibits at the museum include an in-depth look at farm life, as well as a look at mathematical patterns in Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze.

Festival Of Flight
Brookfield Zoo
8400 W. 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Date: May 23, 2015 through Sep. 7, 2015

While exploring a museum exhibit is fun, it’s just as interesting to see the subject of an exhibit in motion. That’s where the upcoming exhibit Festival of Flight at Brookfield Zoo comes in. The exhibit is a 30-minute interactive show that features birds from around the world, with demonstrations on how the animals soar and fly. This new show is located west of Tropic World. Brookfield Zoo has a number of other animals you can visit also, including aardvarks, penguins, polar bears, zebras and wolves.

Freedom, Resistance And The Journey Towards Equality
The DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 947-0600

Date: Opens July 11, 2015

Learn about the history behind the African American experience through the upcoming exhibit Freedom, Resistance and the Journey Towards Equality. Curated by the staff of the DuSable Museum of African American History, the exhibit includes information and artifacts on topics that include slavery, reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement, and the present day. The exhibit will include video and a selection of images to tell the history of African Americans. The museum’s other exhibits include Africa Speaks and A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story.

Related: Guide To Chicago’s Kohl Children’s Museum

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.