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The inventive and curious at heart will feel right at home among the more than 35,000 artifacts and 400,000 square feet of experiential learning that make up the Museum of Science and Industry. As the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry sparks just as much scientific inquiry and creativity since its inception in 1933.

Located on Lake Shore Drive in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry has garnered top awards, including TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Museums in the U.S.” distinction. More than 1.4 million guests visited the museum in 2014, including 344,000 children in school groups.

Here’s what you need to know before visiting this attraction known for inspiring inventive genius:


The museum opened in 1933 during the Century of Progress Exposition thanks to an initial endowment from Sears, Roebuck and Company president and philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald. It was also supported by the Commercial Club of Chicago.



No matter what your interest, you can find numerous exhibits throughout the museum that both educate and excite. Staple exhibits include the “Coal Mine,” which allows visitors to enjoy a narrated ride to the bottom of the mine shaft, and temporary exhibits like “Robot Revolution” and “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze,” offer a new experience with every visit.

SpeciaMuseum of Science and Industry U-505 exhibitlty tours

When a self-guided visit just isn’t enough to take everything in, sign up for a WOW! Tour led by a Museum of Science and Industry facilitator. This behind-the-scenes tour includes access to areas not open to the general public and provides greater insight into top exhibits. The one-hour tour is offered daily at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m.

Tour packages

For visitors who wish to combine all their museum admissions in one package, the best package is “All Inclusive Package” using GoCard.  Depending on how many days you wish to purchase, you can save up to 55% off regular admission price and can choose from over 25 different attractions.

Snack break

You’ll likely work up an appetite during your visit, so the museum offers multiple options to satisfy you and your family’s cravings. The Brain Food Court in the lower level offers up pizzas, deli sandwiches, stir-fry dishes and more. In the nearby Museum Café, you can make a pit stop and grab a coffee and a sandwich or pasty. For a special treat, stop at Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor, which is based on a real Hyde Park ice cream parlor.Museum of Science and Industry mirror maze

Visit need-to-knows

You can roam through the expansive museum every day of the year, other than Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Illinois residents who show valid proof of residency can even enjoy the museum for free on 52 days throughout the year.

2015 Illinois Free Day Schedule

Illinois residents receive free Museum Entry1 on the following dates:

January 5-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
March 2-6
April 22
May 21
June 1-5, 8
September 8-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-30
October 5, 6