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Free museum days in Chicago in 2014

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Chicago is a great city for museums. There is a world class art museum, a couple of wonderful science museums, probably the best aquarium in the country and several small and interesting museums.

Unfortunately like much of Chicago the museums can be very expensive, especially for a family. A family of 4 can easily spend over $100 just on admissions. Luckily most of the museums offer free days, at least for Illinois residents.

There are a couple of caveats to the free museum days. The first is that it covers only general admission. Most of the museums in Chicago have a lot to see with just the general admission and if you want to you can get an all access pass for a reduced price. The second is the crowds. Free admission is a real bargain so some of the museums can be very crowded. I made the mistake of going to a free day at the Shedd Aquarium only to find a line snaking out of the entrance and winding its way around the grounds. Three hours was the grim news from the staff member when asked about the wait. Happily the wait at the Field Museum was only a few minutes.

The Art Institute of Chicago: Weekdays from January 6 – February 12. Throughout the year, every Thursday from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm is free. General admission for Illinois residents is normally $20 and it gets you in to everything the museum has to offer.

Shedd Aquarium: January: 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. February: 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25. June: 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17. Admission is normally only $8 and to see much you will have to pay extra.

The Field Museum: January 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 21, 22, 29, 30. February 3,-6, 11,12,13, 18,19,24,-27. Admission is regularly $15 and you can get a $30 all access pass for just $18. Military personnel and Illinois teachers always enjoy free admission.

The Museum of Science & Industry: January 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-31. February 4, 11, 18, 25. March 10. May 5. June 1-6. September 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29 October 6, 7 November 3, December 8.

The Chicago History Museum: January 20, February- every day except Saturdays. March 4. July 4. August 10, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28. September- All Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. October 1, 2, 7, 8, 9.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Free every Thursday.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago: Every Tuesday throughout the year is free.

The Adler Planetarium: Free days are January 6, 7, 8, 13, 14,
15, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. February 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 It is a $12 savings for adults.

Loyola University Museum of Art: Free to everyone, not just Illinois residents, every Tuesday.

Please check back in the future as I will be updating this list as the museums announce more dates.

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