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5 Museums & cultural activities in Illinois

There are many wonderful opportunities for families to enrich their minds at museums and cultural activities in Illinois. These five offer unique experiences that are sure to be fun for the whole family.

Museum - Chicago

Find out: What children’s museums offer kids & families >>

Field Museum

The Field Museum is an educational institution concerned with the diversity and relationships in nature and among cultures. It provides collection-based research and learning for greater public understanding and appreciation of the world in which we live. Its collections, public learning programs, and research are inseparably linked to serve a diverse public of varied ages, backgrounds and knowledge.

Families are invited to explore fun and interactive exhibitions such as Evolving Planet and the world’s largest and most complete T. Rex!

Field Museum website:

Address: 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605

Hours: Daily 9am-5pm

The Modern Wing at The Art Institute of Chicago

Three expansive studios and five additional light-filled classrooms looking out onto a garden create a comfortable place for families to enjoy learning about art together. The David and Marilyn Fatt Vitale Family Orientation Room promises to be a great place to play with blocks and puzzles or to relax and enjoy a picture book together.

A visit to the Curious Corner allows families to learn about works in the collection through an interactive game, and a sneak peak at the exhibition Picture Perfect: Art from Caldecott Award Books, 2006–2009.With so much additional space, the Department of Museum Education is launching new family programs — including Movers and Makers, a workshop that combines art with dance, storytelling, and drop-in art activities.

Art Institute of Chicago website:

Address: 111 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL, 60603

Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 10:30am-5:00pm; Thurs 10:30am-8:00pm; Weekends 10:00am-5:00pm

Kohl Children’s Museum

Kohl Children’s Museum nurtures a love of learning in young children, and offers 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children birth-8. Kohl Children’s Museum houses 17 hands-on, interactive exhibits that support the strategic direction of the Museum as outlined in its mission statement and key beliefs. Exhibits include Adventures in Art, All About Me, City on the Move, Habitat Park, Cooperation Station, Music Makers, Nature Explorers and more.

Kohl Children’s Museum website:

Address: 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview IL 60026

Hours: Monday through Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm

Museum of Science and Industry

See a 13 foot tall heart beat. Climb aboard a World War II German submarine. Work alongside robots in a toy factory. Take a tour of your digestive system. Plunge into a working coal mine. Stand inside a 40-foot tornado. Dissect an eyeball. Step into the future.
Those experiences and more await you at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)—the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere and home to thousands of exhibits, artifacts and “wow” moments that last a lifetime. (This museum is pictured above.)

The Museum’s mission is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone, and even bigger than its mission is its vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Almost 300,000 students are among the more than 1.5 million guests that visit each year, and the Museum’s takes its role as a catalyst for exploration in science seriously.

Museum of Science and Industry website:

Address: 57th Street & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60637

Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Chicago Children’s Museum

The mission of Chicago Children’s Museum is to create a community where play and learning connect. CCM is the only cultural institution in the city dedicated to young children and the important adults in their lives. Playful experiences, including over fifteen interactive exhibits and programming spaces, tap into how kids learn, and engage them at an early age so they develop a lifelong love of learning.

Kids can step into the boots of a firefighter and discover a whole new way to Play It Safe! In a realistic firehouse — complete with command center, fire pole, “Get Low and Go” bedroom, fire truck, and more — families can explore fire safety through play.

Chicago Children’s Museum website:

Address: 700 E. Grand Ave, Chicago IL 60611

Hours: Daily from 10am-5pm

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