We just finished the second of two short “mini vacations” we had planned for the early part of our summer. Two weeks ago we went to visit family in Iowa, then this past weekend we took a 4 day trip to the Chicago area for a family gathering. Chicago is a nearly 8 hour drive for us, so two of the four days were pretty much spent traveling. The family event took one day…and that left us one day free for sight seeing!
We decided our kids would really enjoy the Field Museum of Natural History, and possibly the Adler Planetarium as well:
I knew one of our local museum memberships would get us some sort of admission benefit at both the Field and the Adler through the ASTC Passport Program. We decided to start our day at the Field, and see how things went from there. We were very pleasantly surprised to discover that our local membership got us into the Field museum for free! This was just a basic admission (not for the special exhibits) — but there is so much to see that we were totally okay with not upgrading our admission.
The Field museum was unlike any museum I’ve ever visited. I realized that I had never really been specifically to a natural history museum before! Highlights for us included animal dioramas, an exhibit on Egypt that included many mummies (as well as two actual rooms from an Egyptian tomb!), dinosaur skeletons, and the incredibly realistic plant models.
Since we didn’t have to pay an admission fee to see the Field, we decided to check out the nearby Adler Planetarium as well. Just like at the Field, we also got free admission to the exhibits at the Adler with our local membership card. The kids were excited to see a planetarium show at the Adler, so we paid $10 each to see one of the several shows they offer. We weren’t quite as “wowed” with the Adler. Part of it may have been that we had already spent four hours walking around the Field! The kids’ favorite part of Adler (besides the show) was an extensive kids’ play area that brought together various space exploration themes and activities.
We really did enjoy both places very much and hope to visit again — though on our next trip to the Chicago area, we may check out the Museum of Science and Industry, another museum we can visit free through the ASTC Passport program.
If you enjoy “sciency” sorts of museums and have travel plans in the upcoming months, you should definitely check out if any your local museums and the museums at your desitnation participate in this reciprocity program. Our free admissions on this trip actually turned out to be of greater monetary value than the cost of our year-long membership to The Works (a favorite smaller science and technology museum in our metro area). You may just find you could visit the sites on vacation AND visit your local museum all year long for less than you could spend on full price admission on vacation!
I’m linking up with Blogging through the Alphabet @ Ben and Me!