Chicago's museums are world-class, but all those bones, weather simulators and rides in Chicago's first El train car don't come cheap. Throw in parking, special exhibits, and the gift shop, and it adds up fast. But in the philanthropic spirit of our fine city, most museums offer free admission for Illinois residents on certain days. Here's a complete calendar for the coming month. You're on your own in the gift shop.
Free days can change at the last minute, so ALWAYS call first to confirm before heading out to the museums. And please note that these are for Illinois residents only in most cases.
Have a Bank of America card? Then on the first full weekend of each month present your card and get a free admission to The Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Shedd Aquarium. One per cardholder, so it won't be free for the entire family (unless each of your children have a B of A credit card), but a free adult admission is nothing to sneeze at.
Check out Bank of America website.
Free days not available at this time. Check Adler website for upcoming free days.
Free for all Illinois residents from 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. Kids 13 and under are always free.
Free 5-8 p.m. every Thursday and the first Sunday of every month for kids 15 and under. Always free to children under 1.
Free: Admission is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5-8 p.m.
Field offers free days throughout the year. Check fieldmuseum.org for dates.
Always free Tuesdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; children 12 and under are free every day. Starting in October, the second Saturday of the month, families with kids 12 and under get free admission for the monthly Family Day events.
October 2013 1-2. Half-off admission vouchers are available through Nov. 13 at msi.org/offers.
November 2013: 4. Half-off admission vouchers are available through Nov. 13 at msi.org/offers.
December 2013: 9.
Bank of America Weekend:
On the first full weekend of the month, present your Bank of America/Merrill Lynch ATM, credit or debit card, along with photo ID, and receive one free mini-pass admission, valid for the cardholder only. This offer is not valid during special events or for admission to the 4-D theater. Upgrade your ticket to include the Abbott Oceanrium for an additional $6.95.
Thursdays are free for Illinois residents. Children under 3 are free every day.
The museum is free on Sundays and offers discounts to Chicago residents all other days. Admission and pricing
Free: Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. free tours of the farmhouse and grounds are offered.
Free admission: Always free.