Originally constructed as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, the Museum of Science and Industry now stands as one of the world’s largest science museums. Boasting over 400,000 square feet of engaging exhibits, 13 learning labs, 35,000 artifacts, and nine permanent exhibits that draw in visitors from across the globe, navigating all of Museum of Science and Industry’s (MSI) vast offerings in a single day can be quite a challenge. As one of our family’s favorite Chicago museums, we’ve been here countless times and have curated helpful tips and ideas to ensure you make the most of your day at MSI.
Tips to Enjoy a Day at Museum of Science and Industry
- Park at Level C (Green Level) on the east side of the garage. You can literally walk right in without having to use any elevators or stairs. A lifesaver for those with strollers. The heated garage during the winter lets us leave our coats in the car.
- No need to lug your coats. MSI offers a coat check that is staffed at all times. ($3)
- Get your timed tickets to the mirror maze, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, right away at the kiosk. (free)
- Look out for free days. At certain times during the year, MSI offers free admission to Illinois residents. A little warning: Free days are a little bit crazy. The hardest part for us was finding parking since the garage was full. Instead, we parked at 5575 S. Shore Dr. It ended up being a 5-7 minute walk and it was cheaper than the garage. Another plus? We didn’t have to cross any main streets since we followed the pedestrian path and went under the main street.
- Save money. Get a CityPass or ASTC Membership (we love ASTC and have gotten our money’s worth by visiting only 2 museums!) to save money.
- Grab a unique souvenir. My favorite thing to get are the Mold-a-Ramas that constantly change with the season or exhibit.
- Feel free to pack a lunch and eat it at the designated tables. They also have a cafeteria.
- Treat yourself! Stan’s Donuts are here! Besides the amazing donuts, they have shakes only found here!
- Visiting during the springtime? Take a stroll through the Japanese garden behind the museum.
- Nurse your baby in private. The nursing area is located at the Idea Factory exhibit.
- There are all-gender restrooms on every floor, and accessible stalls located in every restroom.
Favorite Things to Do at Museum of Science and Industry
- Science Storms is full of hands-on fun like seeing a real tornado, going in a wind tunnel see man-made lightning on the ceiling and so much more!
- Get lost in a mirror maze.
- Check out the most adorable castle, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. The dollhouse is absolutely magical.
- Explore the wonderful miniature world of model trains in The Great Train Story.
- Whisper secrets in the Whispering Gallery
- Watch in amusement as the ball makes it was round in the Swiss Jolly Ball.
- Make a ball move with your mind in You: The Experience.
- Watch chickens hatch and take their first step out of their egg at the Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery. Look at all the cuteness! (Next to Transportation Gallery)
Location: 5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
Hours: Check website for hours.
Ticket prices: General admission Adults $25.95, Children 3-11 $14.95
Parking: Underground parking garage $22