Thursday, May 3, 2012

Museum of Science and Industry: Fun for All Ages

Asking me to pick my favorite museum is like asking me to pick my favorite song or movie. It's so hard to pick just one, and it kind of depends what mood you're in. But Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry would definitely be a strong contender for the title, for one very important reason: it appeals to all ages and interest levels.

Having visited in the past with family and friends ranging in age from 2 months to 80 years, I know from experience.

I came to the Museum of Science and Industry as a teenager with my parents and grandparents, and we all had a wonderful time. I distinctly remember my grandfather being really interested in the miniature train exhibit, an exact replica of the city of Chicago (albeit itty bitty). So I couldn't help but smile when Big Arrow was equally as captivated on a recent trip.

I also visited about 5 years ago, when having kids was a far-away thought. My husband and I spent a few hours at the museum, digging deep into the exhibits and learning a lot. I was really blown away by the enormity and logistics of the exhibit space, with fighter jets and commercial airplanes floating over our heads.

And earlier this year, we visited with Big Arrow (a toddler), Little Arrow (a newborn), plus a couple that we're friends with who have no kids. It was a perfect activity for mixed company. Even the more adult-oriented exhibits were hands on enough to keep Big Arrow entertained.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to delight little ones. Like big tractors.

And shadows that make a perfect dance floor.

But I love when there's fun to be had for adults, too. Like when we all raced the toymaking robot. (The robot won.)

"Fun for all ages" might be a travel promotion cliche, but when it actually happens, it's a real joy.

If You Visit:
Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lakeshore Drive
Open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 3-11 (Special exhibits, tours, and shows are extra)

Insider Tips:

  • Hungry? The cafeteria (in the basement) is actually pretty good, with a few gourmet, healthy options in addition to the typical cafeteria staples.
  • If you're staying downtown, consider taking the train! The South Shore Line and the Metra Electric Line both stop at the 57th Street station, just a few blocks away. (Otherwise, parking is $20.)
  • Join a reciprocal science museum near home (like Wonderlab in Bloomington, IN, which I'll be writing about next week) and save on your visit to this museum. Or if you'll be visiting several popular Chicago attractions, buy a Chicago CityPASS.*
  • If you're meeting up with people, have a plan ahead of time. The entrance/lobby of the museum is several stories underground, and your cell phones might not work. (We learned this the hard way.)
Expect more things Chicago-related over the next couple of months. If you're planning a trip to the Windy City, you might consider following my Chicago Pinterest board, where I've been pinning a few off-the-beaten path activities and fun Chicago-related blog posts. I also wrote about the Chicago Children's Museum here.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

*Affiliate link.


  1. Great post! Bookmarking it for our an upcoming trip to Chicago this summmer...I know it will be a hit with our family. And I love those insider tips. Thanks!

  2. I love how the Big Arrow entertained himself by dancing with shadows...and I think I'd be all about that tractor myself, too!

  3. It's such a great museum! Love the tractor shot! We were there years ago when Katie was only 5 or 6 but haven't been back since despite many trips to Chicago. The girls and I will be spending a few days in the city this summer and Emma and I will be doing a lot of sightseeing on our own so hopefully we make it here.

  4. Big Arrow is getting so big! Looks like a fun place for kids.