I love museums and Chicago has a ton of them. Although this was my third trip to the Windy City I had never had the opportunity to visit one. So I decided that on this getaway I would definitely be fixing that situation!
With so many to choose from and so little time I relied on the input of friends who had visited Chicago before for advice. The museum that seemed to be on the top of everyone’s list was the Museum of Science & Industry so that’s the one we opted to try.
First of all, EVERYTHING in Chicago was in full Christmas mode. This was absolutely the case with this museum as well. Before we even entered the building we were greeted with festive holiday images.
I’ll try to share a few tidbits of advice for anyone visiting. First, it is very affordable and very family friendly. To add to the affordability factor you can bring in food. This is beneficial because the cost of the food served is very pricey!
And unless you eat a big meal before coming, plan on eating or at least drinking something while you are there. This is a HUGE museum! We were there around 4 hours I think and for sure didn’t see everything. Plus there are several special exhibits that we could have paid a little extra to visit so really there is no way to fully experience it all in one day. But it’s fun to try!
Visiting at Christmas time was really special. There was an exhibit featuring Christmas trees from different countries. Each tree was especially decorated to reflect their culture and gave a brief explanation of how Christmas was celebrated in each country.
Besides being gorgeous, this was really fascinating to me in particular. It’s no secret I love traveling and experiencing different cultures so this was right up my alley!
The country that had one of the more unique traditions was Ukraine. Their tradition involved old folk lore in which a poor family went to bed on Christmas Eve with no decorations for their tree. The next morning when they awoke a spider had spun silver webs throughout the tree to decorate it. Even now finding a spider in your home on Christmas is considered a sign of good luck. When I find a spider in my house I yell for the hubby, but to each their own 😁.
Even though I’ve been going on and on about all of the Christmas exhibits there actually is more to the museum to explore. A lot more! In fact that leads me (kinda) to my next tip.
Chicago in the winter is cold. So if you visit then you will undoubtedly be bundled up in a coat, hat and gloves. But who wants to traipse all around in all of those layers? Have no fear! The museum has you covered with a coat check. Hallelujah! For a modest price you dump off all of your winter gear and pick it up when you are done. Life saver!
You can then really begin to explore. I would say this museum would be most fun to a family with children as there are so many interactive exhibits. But the hubby and I had a great time as well.
Everything from weather phenomena to agriculture to space exploration is covered at the museum. So many of the experiences are hands on and really makes learning fun.
But have no fear because there are also a lot of exhibits that us older folks could really enjoy. The history of the automobile, a bicycle exhibit and a lot of educational experiences about the military were all things we really enjoyed.
One of the biggest attractions, and I mean that literally, was the submarine exhibit. An actual sub that was used in battle with the bullet holes to prove it. This exhibit has an added program that you can pay a small fee to be able to experience the sub up close and personal as well.
The hubby’s grandfather is a WW2 vet and there was also a lot of educational opportunities regarding that war as well as the military in general. We did see a lot of older gentlemen there and I couldn’t help but wonder if some of them had served as well. I hope by having exhibits like these the next generation will continue to appreciate the sacrifice made by so many for the freedoms we enjoy.
It’s not all about learning though, sometimes it’s just about having fun. One of our favorite things was the mirror maze. This experience is free but does require you to have a scheduled time so that everyone gets to explore at their own pace. They even have staff posted throughout the maze in case you get lost. I’m neither confirming or denying that we required such assistance.
All in all, we had a great time at this museum and I would definitely recommend it. With so much to see and do it has something for everyone. So many opportunities to learn, explore and just have fun. All things that I love to do as the hubby and I just keep on collecting memories as we go.