My turn

Museum of Science and Industry updates make for fun visit

2013-06-18T20:15:00Z Museum of Science and Industry updates make for fun visitJennifer Pallay Times Columnist
June 18, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

If you haven’t been to the Museum of Science and Industry in the past few years, this is a great time to revisit an old friend.

My brother and I took our little buddy there last week and we all had a great time. My last trip was in 2009 to see the Christmas trees from around the world, and I remember thinking many of the other exhibits were outdated and boring. Well, fast forward to 2013 and the museum team has really done a great job with improvements.

There are many discounts available when visiting so make sure you check out the website,, before your visit to see if any apply to you.

We took advantage of the Illinois Free Days program, which gives Illinois residents free admission 52 days out of the year. There aren’t future ones planned until September, but you can always visit any Chicago Public Library and check out a Great Kids Museum Passport, good for general admission for a family of up to two adults and two kids. Even without the passport, Chicago residents always receive a $3 discount at the museum and any active-duty military personnel and their families also receive free entry now through Labor Day.

The parking was not free and, at $20, seems a bit excessive but it’s super convenient to park underground and next to the museum where you can walk right in, especially with a toddler.

Science Storms was my favorite new exhibit with tons of technology and interactive ways to learn about natural phenomena ranging from tsunamis to tornadoes to fire. My son was not keen on the tornado siren that kept sounding, but he enjoyed watching the vortex tornado demonstration and the MagLev experiment, where you can push a button to watch powerful magnets in action.

The Genetics exhibit with its chicken hatchery was a big hit and seemed to have a lot of updated material. I enjoyed reading about cloning technology and ethics, and the little guy liked watching the mice and baby chicks.

Beginning this week, the museum will celebrate its 80th anniversary with an exhibit called 80 at 80. It will showcase 80 rarely displayed artifacts from the museum’s collection. See past exhibits, such as Paul Bunyan’s statue, and others that have never been displayed before, such as the Jones Live Map Meter, a 1909 invention that inspired modern-day GPS.

These 80 specials will be on display beginning today and running through Feb. 2.

Other Chicago attractions also offer discounts to Illinois residents. The Shedd Aquarium offers free general admission 52 days a year. Upcoming dates include June 24 and 25.

The Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission to Illinois residents from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday. Kids younger than 13 are always free.

Illinois residents can visit the Peggy Notebeart Nature Museum,, for free every Thursday.

It’s great to keep the kids busy all summer and with free days and discounts, these Chicago landmarks make it easy to have a great summer.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

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