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Free Museum Week in Chicago

Thrifty Travel

Oct. 6, 2008
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With gas prices going up and down like a yo-yo it's hard to imagine that a trip anywhere could be cheaper by driving.

Get ready, because in some cases it's true. I'll be exploring driving vs. train, driving vs. plane, and any other transportation in the next few columns.

Take our near neighbor to the south, Chicago. Whether you decide to brave the roads, which are often torn up with construction, or to take Amtrak, you can find lots of bargain ways to travel to and in this great city.

If you can get the kids in the car early enough in the morning you'll miss most of the traffic and be able to be one of the first in line at one of any of the world class museums that have frequent promotions and free days throughout the year.

Today happens to be the start of "Museum Week" in Chicago where just about every museum has a special promotion happening. And, you don't need to be a Chicago or Illinois resident to take advantage of the promotions.

Here's a quick guide to the museums and their free or discounted admission day(s):

The Shedd Aquarium: October discount week (Oct. 6-9)

October, Mondays and Tuesdays (Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28)
November, Mondays and Tuesdays (Nov. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25)
Source: Shedd Aquarium website

Museum of Science and Industry:

October 31
November 27 (Thanksgiving)
December 24 (Christmas Eve), 31 (New Year's Eve)
General admission does not include parking or entrance to Omnimax and 3-D Theaters, U-505 on-board tour and CSI: The Experience
Source: Museum of Science and Industry website

Adler Planetarium:

Oct 6-9
Oct 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, & 28
Nov 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 & 25
Source: Adler Planetarium website

Field Museum:

October 13th and 30th
November 10th
December 8th
Source: Field Museum website

Here's a guide to days of the week when Chicago museums host their free day(s):


Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive

Take advantage of Shedd's DISCOUNT DAYS. Visit June 8-13 and Mondays and Tuesdays October through February, and Chicago residents will pay just $9 for adults ($13 for Wisconsin residents), $6 for Chicago seniors and children ages 3-11 ($9 for Wisconsin residents) to see the entire aquarium, Oceanarium and our newest exhibit, Wild Reef. Or visit the aquarium's main building - including Amazon Rising, the Caribbean Reef and other favorite exhibits - FREE. Two great choices - two great deals on Mondays and Tuesdays!


Adler Planetarium
1300 South Lake Shore Drive
Monday and Tuesday beginning September 23 through the end of February.

Art Institute of Chicago
Michigan and Adams
Tuesdays free.

Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive


Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt at Lake Shore Drive
Wednesdays free.


Chicago Children's Museum
Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue
Thursdays 5-8pm free.

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place
Thursdays free.

Museum of Science and Industry
57th and Lake Shore Drive
Thursdays free.

Don't forget to check out the MegaBus site and Amtrak for travel deals.


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