If you’re thinking about heading to a museum on free day but wondering exactly what you get I’ve done the legwork for you.
Location: Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lake Shore Dr., 312-922-7827. All free museum days.
Regular admission is $19/$8 for adults/children 3-11. Children under the age of three are FREE! On free day when you’re an IL resident you show your ID at the ticket counter and everyone in your party gets in free regardless of where they reside.
COTC tip: When you get your free admission ticket also purchase your tickets to a Sky Show for $9. If you purchase a ticket later they’re $13.
Regular and temporary exhibits
Museum entry includes all exhibitions, the Community Design Lab, Space Visualization Lab, and Doane Observatory (during open hours). The observatory is a separate building behind the Adler on the Lakefront Trail. It’s open only when the weather is bright and clear and there is a volunteer available to man it. You can call in the morning to see if it will be open that day.
You do not get access to any of the six 30 minute sky shows. You can add one sky show for $9 when you get your free admission ticket or for $13 if you go back later. Your second Sky Show is $13. You can also purchase four Sky Show’s for $31.
You also do not get access to the Atwood Sphere which is a rudimentary and historic dome that represents the Chicago night sky as it appeared in 1913. A volunteer points out the the stars and constellations. The Atwood Sphere is open 10:30 to 11:30 am and 2 pm to close. Admission is $5 for all.
Pay for the Sky Shows if you can
The Sky Shows are awesome and should be seen if you can afford it. The rest of the exhibits are excellent and interesting and can easily take the better part of a day.
If you are thinking about visiting more than one attraction the City Pass offers the best discount you can find. Using these passes takes some planning but you will save a lot of money which you can reallocate to dining or hotel costs or something else.
- You can purchase food and eat inside Cafe Galileo. No outside food or beverages are allowed.
- You can bring your own food and, weather permitting, dine on the slopes outside the planetarium, on the outside patio or at 12th Street Beach just past the planetarium to the south.
- Guide to the Art Institute of Chicago
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