Kids and adults have tons of fun learning opportunities at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). One of the largest science museums in the world, MSI has been educating and inspiring folks toward moments of discovery by hosting more than 180 million guests over the course of 85 years.
Boring old museums can step aside because the Museum of Science and Industry uses creative, motivational, interactive experiences to engage with visitors in over 400,000 square feet of space. Hand-on activities, exhibits and displays, films and other learning activities allow visitor to connect with the science of the past as well as the future.
Not to Miss at the Museum of Science and Industry
In addition to temporary exhibitions that are on a rotation, don’t forget these permanent displays that will keep you coming back for more:
- Yesterday’s Main Street. Get an idea of what 1910 Chicago was like—in 3D. Window shopping, an ice cream parlor, and even a “moving picture”.
- U-505 Submarine. Experience the actual German craft that prowled in the Atlantic until its capture in 1944. For an extra experience, take the tour.
- Flight Simulators. Control various aircrafts as they were throughout history.
- Fab Lab. Become a manufacturer in this workshop where you can dream, design and build object with technical equipment and software.
Museum of Science and Industry Amenities
Some of the convenient services and considerations provided by MSI include:
Brain Food Court. On the lower level, the food court features burgers, pizzas, chicken, soups, sandwiches and more. Open daily for breakfast and lunch.
Museum Café. On the lower level, the main café is open daily and serves various options such as sandwiches, salads, snacks, pastries, and Starbucks coffee.
Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor. On the main level, this old-fashioned ice cream parlor takes visitors back to the turn of the century. Open Saturdays and Sundays.
Vending Machine. Found on the lower level, snacks and beverages can be easily accessed here.
Several opportunities for shopping are offered at the Museum of Science and Industry. A large range of curiosities, gifts and themed souvenirs are available at several shops throughout the building including the main Museum Store in the entry hall; U-505 Submarine store on the lower level; Launch Pad space store on the lower level; Kids Stop Shop on the lower level; and Museum Photo Studios on various levels.
- Stroller rental is available at the entry hall, subject to availability. A limited number of complimentary wheelchairs are available and these can be reserved with advanced notice. Guests may bring their own strollers or wheelchairs, but wagons are not allowed.
- Coat check is available for a small fee.
- ATM is located in the entry hall.
- A nursing room is provided for mothers who prefer privacy and quiet.
- MSI is committed to providing accessibility to all guests. To this end, elevators, accessible restrooms, parking, automated doors, service animals, and AEDs are all provided. Interpretive services and scripts for programs may be requested ahead of time.
Museum of Science and Industry Nearby Attractions
The convenient location of the museum in Jackson Park means there is plenty of green space around to enjoy. Visitors who are looking for other options within walking distance may find these interesting:
- Garden of Phoenix, located within Jackson Park, across the pond from MSI
- SMART Museum of Art, free art museum on University of Chicago campus
- Oriental Institute Museum, located on University of Chicago campus
- Giordano’s, Chicago’s iconic deep-dish pizza restaurant
Getting to the Museum of Science and Industry
5700 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60637
Situated just steps away from Lake Michigan and Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, MSI can be accessed by car, public transportation or even bicycle, when the weather permits.
MSI has a convenient underground garage that makes parking a breeze. Enter at the northwest corner of the building at E. 57th Street and S. Cornell Avenue. The garage is open until 7pm.
CTA buses that provide access just a block away from the museum are numbers 2, 6, or 10. The Metra train stop at 55th/56th/57th street is just two blocks from the north entrance of the museum.
MSI’s lovely lakefront path makes it the perfect biking destination. Bike racks are situated on either side of the entrance. Divvy, Chicago’s bike sharing system, has a dock just outside the main entrance of the museum.
When to Go to the Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry is open daily from 9:30am-5:30pm.
Museum of Science and Industry Insider Tips
Cell phone signals within the museum can be spotty, so make sure to choose a time and place ahead of time if you plan to meet up with people.
Purchasing museum ticket prior to arrival can make your entry quicker—and less expensive.
Discounts may include:
- Illinois residents may receive a discount on certain days throughout the year
- Members of other associated Science-Technology centers may receive discounted or free entry
- If you are planning on visiting several tourist attractions during your visit to Chicago, check out the Chicago CityPASS, Go Chicago Card and Explorer Pass, all of them include the MSI.