Chicago exhibits to check out with (or without) the family

Whether you are on Spring Break or getting your family busy with nicer weather about to come (hopeful), check out our compiled list (by our Chicagonista intern Stephanie Bellews@bellewsc) of must-see places!

Chicago History Museum

1601 N. Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614


Hours: Monday–Saturday

9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.


12:00 noon–5:00 p.m.


Lincoln Park Block by Block

  • · Lincoln Park is a dynamic neighborhood and home of the Chicago History Museum. The exhibition invites you to discover the history, culture, and making of Lincoln Park.
  • · Ends June 6, 2011


My Chinatown

  • The Chicago History Museum presents its first ever theater experience using the sights and sounds of Chicago’s most recognizable neighborhood to tell its most unfamiliar stories
  • Ends January 2, 2012


Out in Chicago

  • Discover the city’s diverse LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) history.
  • Opens Saturday, May 21, 2011


The Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 755-5100

Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm


Nature’s Architects:

  • Explore bee hives, watch parakeets turn a telephone pole into an apartment complex, and find out how many termites it takes to build a skyscraper. Building beautiful and complex structures is not a uniquely human trait, but without blueprints, how do other animals do it? In Nature’s Architects, investigate the creative, industrious and skillful craftsmanship of other animal builders, around the world and in our own urban environment.
  • April 1- September 12


A Watercolor Journal: The Art of Phillip Enquist

  • Artist, acclaimed architect and urban planner Philip Enquist invites us along for his travels through a collection of intimate watercolor diaries. In brush and palette, Enquist reveals a connection to the natural and built landscape and inspires us to cherish and protect our rapidly vanishing open lands. Presented in collaboration with Openlands, a conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the natural spaces of our region since 1963.
  • April 25 – June 19


My Natural Neighborhood

  • Picturing My Natural Neighborhood is a student artwork project developed to allow students an opportunity to discover and record natural areas they encounter in their everyday lives. The artists drew inspiration for their creations from the work and perspective of Philip Enquist—nature is all around us, even in an urban setting.
  • April 25 – June 19


Shedd Aquarium: (Abbot Oceanarium)

1200 South Lake Shore Drive 60605

(312) 939-2438

Shedd Pass: $28.95 adults, 19.95 children (3-11)


Jellies Exhibit:

  • + $3
  • millions of years old
  • how they survive and thrive without blood, brains, or bones
  • until May 28th, 2012


Aquatic Show

  • +$4


Total experience (all exhibits including 4-D film)

  • adults $34.95
  • children $25.95


Museum of Science and Industry

57th and Lake Shore Drive 60637

(773) 684-1414

Hours: 9:30 am – 4pm


Body Worlds – The Cycle of Life

  • Until September 5, 2011
  • 200 real anatomical specimens highlight the human life cycle and the arc of aging


Suited of Space

  • Until September 25, 2011
  • Rare imagery reveals the ingenuity behind the outfits that project and assist astronauts


Science Storms

  • Feel the physics and consider the chemistry of natural phenomena like tornadoes and avalanches
  • In the Omnimax Theater, see Tornado Ally until December 31, 2011 and ride along with researchers of vortex 2 to hunt for some of Nature’s most destructive storms


Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue 60603

(312) 443-3600

Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10:30 – 5:00

Thursday  10:30 – 8:00

Friday – Sunday  10:30 – 5:00

Pricing: Adults $18, Students & Seniors (65+) $12, Children (under 14) FREE


Color and Rhythm: Henri Matisse’s Jazz

  • Until May 10


American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White

  • Until May 15


June Wayne’s Narrative Tapestries: Tidal Waves, DNA, and the Cosmos

  • Until May 15


The Challenge of American Style: Richard Morris Hunt and the American Renaissance in Architecture

  • Until May 15


Contemporary Collecting: The Judith Neisser Collection

  • Until May 22


Real and Imaginary: Three Latin American Artists

  • Until May 29


Cezanne’s Harlequin

  • Until May 30


Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France

  • Until May 30


Museum of Contemporary Art

220 East Chicago Avenue 60611

(312) 280-2660

Tuesdays: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Wednesday – Sundays 10:00am – 5:00pm

Pricing: adults $12, students and senior citizens $7, children (12 and under) free. Free  admission every Tuesday


Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character

  • Until May 29


Seeing is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion

  • Until May 29


Susan Phillpsz: We Shall Be All

  • Until June 12


MCA DNA: Thomas Ruff

  • Until June 19


Emerge Selections 2011

  • Until July 10


Stages, Sights & Sounds

Puppet State Theatre (Scotland): The Man Who Planted Trees

  • May 3 – 15


The Field Museum of Natural History

1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 738-1503


The Horse

  • February 16, 2011 – August 14, 2011
  • Explore the profound relationship between horses and humans


Adler Planetarium

1300 S. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 922-7827 (STAR)

Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm


Children’s Museum at Navy Pier

700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-3428

(312) 527-1000

Hours: Daily 10am-5pm

Michael’s Museum

  • A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures. This permanent exhibit fosters the art of collecting and features nearly 100 collections of tiny objects, including miniatures, trinkets, artifacts and curiosities donated by founder and curator Michael Horvich.
  • Opens May 13
  • Thursday Evenings (Kraft Free Family Night) 5pm-8pm

    MJ Tam

    Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

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