Chicago's Museum Campus
Visit Chicago's Museum Campus
If you're planning a trip to Chicago, you could easily spend an entire week on the Museum Campus alone. This gorgeous drive is surrounded by Lake Michigan on the east side and by museums highlighting the wonders of the earth, sea and sky to the north and south. If you're a sports fan, you're in luck. Famed Soldier Field in conveniently located on the same campus, assuring that there is something for everyone in this historic district. The best thing of all is that once here, each attraction is within easy walking distance of the other.
Ticket prices can be steep, but if you're planning to stay several days, you can purchase the CityPass and access all five attractions for one (much lower) price. Keep in mind that you'll need to budget extra for parking. Even street parking comes at a price and parking lots and ramps charge about $20. Depending upon what hotel you are staying at, it might be worth it to take a cab to the campus for easy door to door access.
The following is a little information on the famous attractions to help plan your visit.
1300 S Lake Shore Drive
Daily: 9:30a.m. – 5:00p.m.
Planet Explorers is an interactive play and discovery area for kids. Whether driving through tunnels and caves in a miniature, land-based vehicle on Planet X, preparing to launch into space on a two story rocket ship, or using electronic magnifying lenses and other cool gadgets in a Frank-Lloyd Wright inspired home and backyard, kids will love learning about space in this child-centered exhibit.
Visitors off all ages will enjoy exploring the solar system and learning about all eight major planets, their terrains and atmospheres in the Solar System exhibit. You’ll also learn how telescopes work, what astronauts do, make your own craters and touch actual pieces of the moon, of planets and of meteorites.
If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like living centuries ago in a more primitive culture where people believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, you’ll love immersing yourself in the Astronomy and Cultures exhibit. Learn how ancient peoples used astrolabes and sundials to tell time and check out the extensive collection of medieval scientific instruments.
In the Moon Walk exhibit, you can take a walk or jump on the surface of the moon; make a simulated lunar decent and landing in a lunar landing vehicle; and learn about advances in lunar exploration from the Gemini Program through the Apollo missions.
The planetarium also boasts several other amazing exhibits and three theaters with multiple show times that offer gorgeous, educational films about a variety of topics including planets in and outside of our solar system, the sun, the alluring night sky, and more.
Dolphins at the Shedd Aquarium
1200 S Lake Shore Drive
Hours vary by season, but are generally 9:00 – 5:00 M-F and 9:00 – 6:00 weekends and holidays.
There are 6 major exhibits including the children’s Polar Play Zone, Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising and Abbott Oceanarium and the Wild Reef. A family of beluga whales is one of the highlights of the aquarium. Watch these personable animals glide through their habitat and peek playfully at visitors or talk to and kiss their trainers.
You’ll see everything from jellyfish and blue iguanas to giant octopus, sharks and rays. You’ll also see an anaconda and pirhanas, and iridescent corals. Divers can often be seen in the various exhibits, cleaning or feeding the animals. Children will love the frisky sea otters and entertaining penguins hopping and chasing one another through the water.
Sue: The Field Museum
Field Museum of Natual History
1400 S Lakeshore Drive
Daily 9:00 – 5:00
The Field Museum is a world-renowned attraction. One of its most famous exhibits is Sue, the world’s largest, complete, fully assembled dinosaur skeletons. Discovered and unearthed 67 million years after her death, Sue was acquired at auction for the bargain price of $8.36 million. She is prominently displayed on the ground floor of the museum, but her actual skull, which at 600 lbs. is too heavy to mount on the rest of her skeleton, is on exhibit on the second floor.
A breathtaking exhibit on bioluminescent creatures takes visitors on a journey to the bottom of the sea and into deep, magical forests to see how creatures produce their own light and learn why they do it.
Whether you are interested in cultures, animals or plant life, in art, precious gems or conservation, the museum is sure to have something to appeal to your curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
The museum also has a state-of-the-art 3D theater with a variety of rotating 23 minute movies for visitors of all ages.
Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S Lakeshore Drive
Daily 9:30 – 4:00
Whether you are a budding scientist or must curious about how things work, you’ll be amazed by the exhibits at this museum. Take a ride on the rails into an underground coal mine; learn about the human life cycle by exploring over 200 anatomical specimens; walk through a large replica of the human heart; watch baby chicks hatch; check out your own DNA (obtained from a cheek swab) and so much more. Whether you are into toys, trains, medicine, American history, the Internet, genetics, life on the farm, outer space, or even faeries, you’ll find something fascinating in this house of endless exploration.
In addition to permanent exhibits, the museum also features a variety of fresh, temporary galleries to explore. The Omnimax Theater is a five-story, domed, wrap-around theater featuring rotating movies that help visitors to be transported into a variety of exotic locations including outer space without leaving the theater.
1410 Museum Campus Drive
This stadium is home to the Chicago Bears. Take a tour, take in a game, a concert or other sporting event. Visit their website for a listing of scheduled events.
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