Six free and discounted museum visits to ease the budget

Listen up if looking for a weekend activity that won’t empty the pocketbook. Think outer space, mummies or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s famed painting.  With the apple picking season beginning to wind down, the coming weekends are a good time to visit one of Chicago’s world class museums whether interested in art, history or science. Fortunately, free and Illinois discount days offset the necessary fees the museums have to charge to make up for cuts in state and other government subsidies. Here are six free and discounted museum ideas.

The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.
The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.

Museums on Us

Bank of America offers free museum days to its credit card holders the first full weekend of each month of 2016. The next time is this coming weekend, Oct. 1-2. Some of the Chicago area museums on the list are the Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Shedd Aquarium and The National Hellenic Museum. For a complete list and other information visit Museums Bank of America.

Field Museum Free Days

If you are an Illinois resident with a valid ID, you can go way back to the time of dinosaurs, or somewhat back to Egyptian pyramids at the Field Museum. General admission is waived on these days that are still to come in 2016: Oct. 2, 16, 30, 31; Nov. 27; Dec. 3, 4, 18. Special exhibits still will need a priced ticket. The Field Museum is the first museum you come to on Chicago’s Museum campus. It is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605. For other information call (312) 922-9410 and visit The Field. To see regular admission charges visit Field.

Shedd Aquarium Total Experience Pass

Instead of paying $39.95, adults and $30.95, children, for the Total experience Passes that cover Shedd shows and special exhibits, the price on Illinois Resident Discount Days is $15 for children and adults. General Admission is $8 adults and $6 children but is also less on Illinois Resident Discount days. At the Shedd, those days are Oct. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29. The Shedd Aquarium is the middle museum on Chicago’s Museum Campus. It is at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605. For other information call (312) 939-2438 and visit Shedd.

Adler Planetarium Free Days

Explore our galaxy and outer space during the Adler’s Free General Admission Days. Special shows have a ticket charge. Free days are Oct.10, Nov. 11, Dec.3-9. Other discounts are $2 any day to seniors and students with ID and free General Admission to Illinois teachers (pre-K to grade 12) and active military. Chicago residents with ID also get a discount.  The Adler Planetarium is the furthest east museum on the Museum Campus. It is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Il 60605. For other information call (312) 922-STAR (7827) and visit Adler.

Museum of Science and Industry Free Days

There’s enough to see and do at the Museum of Science and Industry on just the General Admission ticket to not worry about the seeing the Omnimax movies, Coal Mine or taking the U-505 tour and the  special temporary exhibits that require a ticket charge. However, the extra charges don’t add up as fast when General Admission is free. MSI, as the museum is often known, has free days for Illinois residents Sept. 30, Oct. 4-6. Nov. 3, 10 and Dec 1. MSI is at 5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637. For other information call (773) 684-1414 and visit MSI.

Art Institute of Chicago

You probably knew that Georges Seurat’s famed painting is at the Art Institute of Chicago and also that the museum is known for its French Impressionist collection.  But the museum has other amazing collections including armor, furniture and its Modern Art Wing filled with names you probably know and should revisit.  If you are an Illinois resident, you can see all that without paying admission is you go on any Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. Youngsters age 13 and younger are always free of charge.  The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 s. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603. For other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC.


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