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Museum of Science and Industry Free Days + Other Discounts

Updated: April 15, 2023
 By Mel

This post provides information about how to visit the Museum of Science and Industry on their free days, as well as other potential discounts on tickets you might want to consider.

Let's dive in.


Before we discuss all the ways to save money on tickets to the Museum of Science and Industry, it'll be important to understand how much admission usually costs.

Don't forget to look at the discount section below for great ways to save on tickets! 

General Admission

GA Tickets include entry to the museum’s permanent exhibits as well as Science Storms, Numbers in Nature, and Extreme Ice.

Additional Experiences

In addition to general admission, there are separate tickets for additional attractions and activities in the Museum of Science and Industry.

Giant Dome Theater

Fab Lab and Learning Labs

Marvel: Universe of SuperHeroes

Free Days at the Museum of Science and Industry

One of the best ways to save money on tickets is simply by taking advantage of their free days.

Illinois residents are welcome to visit without paying a dime on certain days of the year.

The Museum of Science and Industry changes the dates for their free days every year.

Here is the schedule for 2022:

  • September 6th-7th
  • September 12th-15th
  • September 19th-20th
  • September 26th-27th
  • October 4th-5th
  • October 10th-11th
  • October 17th-18th
  • November 1st, 8th

There are a total of 50 free days in 2022. In past years, they have offered as many as 52 free days each year, which means that they technically offer one free day per week!

Check this schedule of Illinois Free Days to see when this opportunity will next be available. 

Admission to additional attractions such as the Fab Lab Workshops or the Giant Dome Theater is not included on free days, and they will both cost an extra $12 for adults and $9 for children.

If you're interested in other opportunities to visit for free or save money on tickets, make sure to check our discount section below.


There are a few ways to get discounted entry - up to half off with an attraction pass! - into the Museum of Science and Industry.

1. Use a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

Admission to the Museum of Science and Industry is currently included with the following three Chicago tourist passes, which allow you to save money on tickets to multiple popular attractions.

Here are a few of the other activities and locations you can visit using a tourist pass:

Depending on how you use a tourist pass and which one you choose, you could save 50% on everything included.

For more details, please check our post covering Chicago tourist attraction discount passes.

2. Active Military and Veteran Discounts

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, active Military personnel and their families (up to 5 people) get free admission with valid ID.

Even if you don't plan on visiting during that time, it should be noted that all active military personnel and veterans get free admission for themselves when they present a valid ID any day of the year.

The only difference is that your family can join for free during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

3. Free Entry for Police/Firefighters

All Chicago firefighters and police officers get free admission for themselves when they present a valid ID at the ticket office.

4. Free Entry for Teachers

All Illinois teachers (Pre-K through 12th grade) are eligible for free entry to the museum every day of the year with a valid ID.

5. Chicago Resident Discount

Chicago residents get $5 off adult tickets and $3 off child tickets with proof of address.

Don't forget the free days for Illinois residents each year as well!

6. Groupon and Living Social Coupon Sites

Make sure to check discount sites like Groupon or LivingSocial.

They will periodically have a good deal on tickets, as well as additional coupon codes for an extra 10% - 20% off!

7. Kids Museum Passport

If you live in Chicago and you have a membership to the public library, they offer a Kids Museum Passport which provides free entry to the Museum of Science and Industry for up to 4 people (at least 1 child and a max of 2 adults).

8. Use the Museums for All Program

If you have an EBT or WIC card, you might be eligible for free admission for up to 2 adults and 6 children.

9. Free for ASTC Members

If you're a member of an Association of Science and Technology Center at least 90 miles from MSI, you can get free admission for up to 2 adults and 4 children.

10. Become a Member of the Museum

The Museum of Science and Industry offers membership for $95 a year which includes free entry all year, free parking, free passes to the Giant Dome Theater, discounted tickets for other guests joining you, and more.

Depending on how many times you plan to visit and what you plan to do, this could save you a lot of money over time.

Individual memberships are valid for free entry year-round for one adult and one guest.

11. Children's Ticket Discount

Tickets for children between the ages of 3-11 are $9 less than adult tickets, so you'll save money no matter what if you're visiting with your kids!

12. Group Rates

If you purchase tickets for groups of 15 or more at least 4 weeks in advance, you will be eligible for a discounted price.

13. Student Discounts

There are no additional student discounts other than the above-mentioned deals that students can take advantage of.


Where is the Museum of Science and Industry?

The museum is located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637 (map).


  • Bus #2- 57th Street and Stony Island stop
  • Bus #6- 57th Street and Hyde Park Boulevard stop
  • Bus #10- Museum of Science and Industry stop

Take the Red Line or Blue Line to Jackson stop, then transfer any of the buses above (#2,#6,#10) at the NW corner of State and Van Buren.

The L:

From “the Loop” it’s a 25-minute train ride southwards to the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Take the train to the 55th/56th/57th Street station, and walk 2 blocks east to reach the museum.

Pro tip: Even the Museum admits it can be tricky to get to this attraction via transit if you are unfamiliar with the city.

We recommend looking at our article on getting around Chicago via public transit if you are new to Chicago!

Hours of Operation

  • Daily from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm
  • Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Best Times to Visit

Since the Museum of Science and Industry is popular with families, the best times to visit are weekday mornings when school is in session.

Weekend crowds aren’t unbearable, but if you want to enjoy the museum with fewer people, the first two hours after opening are the best times to visit.

How long should you stay?

According to Google and reviews, most visitors stay up to 4 hours.

Is the building accessible?

Yes. The parking lot has van-accessible parking spaces. The building has push-button automated doors in the entrance and elevators and ramps throughout.


The Museum of Science and Industry was originally built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 by Charles B. Atwood of D.H. Burnham and Company.

It is the only structure from the World’s Fair that was built to last while the remainder of the White City fell to ruins.


The MSI has many temporary exhibits as well as several permanent exhibits. The permanent exhibits include:

The U-505 Submarine  

At this exhibit you can step inside the U-505—a German submarine that terrorized the ocean during World War I and World War II.  

The United States caught and captured the sub on June 4th, 1944 and now it is a national memorial to the 55,000 American sailors who gave their lives on the high seas in WWI and WWII. 

The Chick Hatchery

The entire exhibit is about the complex world of genetics but everyone is crowded around the baby chicks.  

Watch as the baby chicks emerge from their shells and peck their way into the world.

The Coal Mine 

Every resident in Chicago has visited this exhibit at least once as a student on a field trip- it’s the Coal Mine!  

A coal miner takes you below the surface to experience hands-on what it would be like to be a coal miner.

Brick By Brick 

This exhibit is an impressive use of Lego bricks to create massive reproductions of world-famous structures.

Kids will love to see the 60-foot Golden Gate Bridge and the International Space Station made entirely of Legos. 

Farm Tech 

This exhibit is included in your entry fee and really connects you to the farm-life of America.

The farmers of America have come a long way. Learn how your food gets to your plate. A visitor’s favorite is the milking competition.


About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: April 15th, 2023
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