Here’s the deal on free day at Museum of Science and Industry. Here’s what you get (and don’t get) at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr., 773-684-1414 on free day. All free museum days.
What’s open and closed as of 7/14/2021
Many exhibits have been modified or adapted to create physical distancing, including reduced capacity in the Giant Dome Theater. Tours inside Coal Mine and on-board the U-505 submarine are suspended. The U-505 Submarine exhibit is open. The Idea Factory and Future Energy Chicago exhibits are closed.
CTA 10 bus
CTA 6 bus and Metra Electric
The Museum of Science and Industry has over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. On Free Day you get free General Admission (Regularly $21.95 Adult Age 12+ and $12.95 Children Ages 3-11). General Admission includes access to most permanent exhibits as well as select temporary exhibitions. There is no mechanism to “purchase” Free Day tickets in advance online. You must go to the museum and stand in line.
Honestly there is no way to view all the free exhibits in one day unless you just run past everything. I go once a year and cover one area such as in 2018 I toured the Henry Crown Space Center, in 2019 the U505 exhibit including the onboard tour (they were offering free access to the onboard tour which is regularly $12 and currently closed), and July 2021 the aviation exhibits.
Here’s the deal on free day at Museum of Science and Industry – You do not get access to any of the following on free day:
- Giant Dome Theater
- U505 Tour on board – Closed due to Covid. You can still visit the exterior of the U505 and the exhibits around it for free.
- Coal Mine – Closed due to Covid
- Fab Lab – Closed due to Covid
- Future Energy – Closed due to Covid
- Flight Simulators
- VR Transporters
- Special Exhibits – July 2021 Marvel Comics
Cost of Ticketed Experiences and Special Exhibits on Free Day
To get access to Ticketed Experiences on free day you can purchase tickets for $12 per adult and $9 per child. Special Exhibits can cost more. Here’s information about all exhibits. You can buy tickets to each Experience when you enter the museum or at the entrance to each experience, if it’s not already sold out. Admission to these Experiences and exhibits have timed entry so leave plenty of time to get to your location.
- MSI FAQ
- Try to arrive when the museum opens. In July 2021 I arrived around 12:30PM and it was a mob scene.
- You can print out a map in advance from the website or grab a map from the rack at the top of the escalator you take when you enter the museum after getting your tickets. The rack is on the right side.
- There’s only one set of elevators to move between floors located next to the “red stairs” so plan on taking a lot of stairs.
- There’s an escalator between Main Level 2 and Balcony Level 3 located on the west side of the floors.
- The P3 parking level is on the same level as ticket sales.
- The U505 and Coal Mine are very popular so try to conquer these early.
- The Zephyr is located behind the ticket counter in the entry hall.
- You can purchase food or bring your own in. There are designated eating areas. You can also picnic outside in front of the museum or in Jackson Park.
- If you exit the museum on the east by the Giant Dome Theater in the Henry Crown Space Center turn left and walk up to just north of 57th Street you can walk through an underpass under Lake Shore Drive to 57th Street Beach. This beach has a beach house, restrooms, and food concession stand Tasty Grill (no website).
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