Chicago museums' best online tours

While there's no substitute for a day (or night) at the museum, you can experience much of our world-class city from your computer. So swap gift shop goodies for microwave popcorn, pull up a chair or two and start exploring!

Art Institute

The Art Institute is full of word-renowned art treasures, but not all of it is for kids. The Art Institute's "Curious Corner" present the best parts of the museum's collections in a kid-friendly interactive area. Kids can play matching games, design their own artwork, and choose from the museum's collections to play curator of their own exhibit.

Start exploring!

Field Museum

Chicago's best-loved lizard comes to life with the Field's online SUE exhibit. Learn the story of Sue's bones, see photos and videos of Sue and more. The Underground Adventure's web exhibit is also worth checking out: quizzes, photos and step-by-step activity packs.

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Museum of Science and Industry

Try the "Simple Machine" game (left), where you direct the robot Twitch to collect machine parts hidden all around the museum. It's up to you and Twitch to use found objects to create simple machines, devices that will help him solve challenges with a minimum of force, collect the parts and stay out of trouble. There's also a fascinating series of "How-To" activities that are perfect for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon: fly a hot-air balloon, analyze candy using chromatography, and make a "comeback can."

Start exploring!

McCormick Tribune Freedom Center

Learn about the history of freedom and first-amendment issues in your neighborhood with the Freedom Center's online interactive map. Filled with "I bet you didn't know..." moments, this is perfect for slightly older kids and a great complement for school lessons.

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Adler Planetarium

On the Cyberspace section of the Web site, kids can view "Teencasts" and play science trivia games.

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