There’s no better time to explore Chicago’s world-class museums than during the bitter cold of winter and with Museum Week upon us, it’s time to pull yourself out of hibernation mode. Mark your calendars for January 18-26 and read on to hear all about discounted admission, exclusive offers and special programs that fill this 9-day celebration.

photo: Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium

It's a laboratory, a classroom and community all rolled into one, hosting over 570,000 visitors each year, all intrigued to experience this museum's interactive exhibits, live planetarium shows, hands on STEM programs and world-class collections.

Museum Week Deals
Illinois residents receive 25% off any admission package and 20% off Individual, Individual Plus and Family Memberships

Special Events and Exhibits
With an upgrade to the All Access Pass, see a sky show such as Cosmic Wonder or Skywatch in the newly renovated Definiti Theater. Kids will get a kick out of meeting a real scientist and experiencing visualizations of the Universe's most recent discoveries in the Space Visualization Lab. While they're there, they can design, build, test, explore and think like a scientist to tackle Adler's daily design challenge.

General Admission
$12/adults, $8/ages 3-11; free for ages 2 & under, as well as teachers and military personnel with proper identification

1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Online: adlerplanetarium.org

ADVERTISEMENT

photo: The Art Institute

The Art Institute

The Art Institute is something Chicago should be pretty proud of, with a collection comprising of approximately 300,000 works of art, ranging from ancient art to work being created by current-day artistic masterminds.

Museum Week Deals
During Museum Week, Chicago and Illinois residents receive free museum admission on January 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26. LINK and WIC cardholders receive free admission when they present their card and valid ID.

Special Events and Exhibits
Families are invited to drop by the Ryan Learning Center, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m., for a free art-making activity and free gallery tours are also available with paid admission.

General Admission
$20/Chicago residents, $22/Illinois residents, $25/general admission; free for ages 14 & under and Chicago teens 18 & under

111 S. Michigan Ave., The Loop
Online: artic.edu

photo: Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

For those curious about Chicago's past, present and future, this museum is a must-see. They house an impressive 22 million-piece collection of historical artifacts, photographs, documents and a world-renowned costume collection.

Museum Week Deals
Receive 25% off general admission Monday and Wednesday-Friday, free admission on Tuesday, 10% off admission on Saturday and Sunday and 20% off membership.

Special Events and Exhibits
On Monday, January 22 at 1:30, take a 30-minute tour of Chicago: Crossroads of America to deep-dive into Chicago's history. Join in on a History Happy Hour on Tuesday, January 23 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. to learn more about the city via tours and enjoy a spirits tasting and DJ. You can also check out the Martin Luther King Photography exhibit that challenges visitors to think about how King's work is still relevant today and the Race: Are We So Different? exhibition that offers an unprecedented look at the history, science and social experiences of race and racism.

General Admission
$16/adults, $14/ages 13-22; free for 12 & under

1601 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park
Online: chicagohistory.org

photo: DuSable Museum of African American History

DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African History is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate with a mission to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the contributions and experiences of African Americans through the preservation and presentation of their history, culture and art.

Museum Week Deals
Half price family membership and up to 50% off general admission

Special Events and Exhibits
Free guided tours on the weekend and gift basket giveaway opportunity

General Admission
$10/adults, $3/ages 6-11; free on Tuesday and for ages 5 & under

740 E. 56th Place, Washington Park
Online:  dusablemuseum.org

photo: The Field Museum

The Field Museum

We're pretty sure you don't need an intro to this one, but just in case . . . The Field Museum is one of the world's leading natural history museums, home to over 30 million artifacts and specimens, ever-evolving exhibitions and more than 150 scientists, conservators and collections staff, as well as the most famous dino out there . . . SUE, of course!

Museum Week Deals
$2 off admission for Illinois residents, $3 off admission with EBT or WIC identification

Special Events and Exhibits
Along with Field's permanent exhibits, check out Drawing on Tradition: Kanza Artist Chris Pappan, which features original drawings and paintings that build on traditional Plains Indian narrative art forms; Full Circle/Omani Wakan: Lakota Artist Rhonda Holy Bear with highly detailed figures featuring carving, beeding and quillworking techniques derived from the traditions of the Lakota and Plains peoples; and Ancient Mediterranean Cultures in Contact that dives into a time when borders opened and civilizations began to interact, leading to trade, travel and the exchanging of revolutionary ideas.

General Admission
$24/adults, $17/ages 3-11

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Online: fieldmuseum.org

photo: Lincoln Park Zoo via Maria Chambers

Lincoln Park Zoo

It tops the list of favorite free Chicago activities, roaming the walkways of Lincoln Park Zoo. They're committed to providing visitors with daily enrichment opportunities, as well as providing high-level care to the animals and habitats that call their zoo home sweet home.

Museum Week Deals
It's always free, but during Museum Week, visitors get 10% food and beverage purchases and 10% off in the Wild Things! shop.

Special Events and Exhibits
Check their calendar for a full list of daily activities.

General Admission
Free; fee for parking

2400 N. Lake Shore Dr., Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

photo: Museum Contemporary Art

Museum Contemporary Art Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the world's largest contemporary art venues with a mission to be the connector between artists and their audience, presenting art and culture in ways that illuminate what it means to be a citizen of Chicago and the world.

Museum Week Deals
$12/adult admission; free for 18 & under, Illinois residents January 23 and every Tuesday and military, police and fire personnel. Mention Museum Week in the MCA store for 10% off your purchase (20% if you're a member); $3 tickets for up to 6 individuals when presenting a LINK (EBT) Card

Special Events and Exhibits
MCA offers free daily tours of the exhibits

General Admission
$15/adults; free for anyone 18 & under

220 E. Chicago Ave., Streeterville
Online: mcachicago.org

photo: Museum Science Industry

Museum Science + Industry

Housed in the only remaining structure from the 1893 World's Fair, MSI is 14 acres of mind-blowing fun that'll have you running, interacting and discovering.

Museum Week Deals
20% off museum entry Monday-Friday, 10% off museum entry Saturday and Sunday

Special Events and Exhibits
Kids can engage in hands-on building challenges, experience a 40-foot indoor tornado, explore a WWII submarine, get lost in a mirror maze, send their pulse to a 13-foot heart and set their gazes on the nation's longest running exhibition of African-American art by both adult and youth artists.

General Admission
$18/adults, $11/ages 3-11; free for ages 2 & under

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Hyde Park
Online: msichicago.org

photo: National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Mexican Art

From Mexican fine art to folk art, Mesoamerican sculpture to contemporary paintings, you'll enjoy immersing yourself in and connecting with the richness of The National Museum of Mexican Art.

Museum Week Deals
15% discount at the museum gift shop for Illinois residents and enter a drawing to win a Maíz Household Membership

Special Events and Exhibits
Learn from Nuestras Historias, which showcases cultural identity as something that continually evolves across time, regions and communities vs. a static, unchanging entity and examine the development of places and structures within the Pilsen neighborhood in Placemaking and Landmarks: The Creation of Mexican Spaces in la Dieciocho (Pilsen).

General Admission
Free

1852 W. 19th St., Pilsen
Online: nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

photo: National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is the only freestanding cultural institution in the nation devoted to Puerto Rican arts and historic exhibitions year-round and it's located right here in our Humboldt Park community.

Museum Week Deals
Free admission

Special Events and Exhibits
There are 3 notable exhibits during Museum Week: The Humboldt Park Stables: A Transition into the Future depicts the transition of the Humboldt Park Stables into the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture; Humboldt Park: Jens Jensen's Living Laboratory highlights the life of Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant, who served as Superintendent of Humboldt Park in 1895 and then went on to become Dean of American landscape architecture; and La Diaspora is a traveling exhibit featuring 12 emerging and established artists who represent Puerto Rico through their art.

General Admission
Free admission

3015 W. Division St., Humboldt Park
Online: nmprac.org

photo: Peggy Notebaert

Peggy Notebaert

Museum Week Deals
20% off adult admission for Illinois residents; free for ages 3 & under; Thursdays are always suggested donation days for Illinois residents; free admission for active duty service members and their families; $1 tickets for up to 6 individuals when presenting a LINK (EBT) card.

Special Events and Exhibits
Journey to the remote rainforests of New Guinea without leaving Chicago in the Birds of Paradise exhibit opening, Thursday, January 18; view rarely seen specimens from Peggy Notebaert's historic collection in celebration of their 161st anniversary on Thursday, January 18 at 11 a.m in Opening the Vault; learn how critters survive the arctic Chicago winters in the Wild Winter Animal Showcase, Saturday, January 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and see a presentation from the first human to see more than half the planet's bird species in a single, year-long, around-the-world birding trip in Birding Without Borders, Wednesday, January 24, 6:30 p.m.

General Admission
$9/adults, $6/ages 3-12; free for ages 2 & under

2430 N. Cannon Dr., Lincoln Park
Online: naturemuseum.org

photo: Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

Watch dolphins play, navigate a flooded Amazon forest and dive on a Philippines reef among corals and sharks . . . and be home by dinnertime. Shedd Aquarium's living collection is composed of 32,000 animals representing more than 1,500 species of invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals from environments around the globe.

Museum Week Deals
Free general admission for Illinois residents January 18, 19, 22 and 26; free for LINK and WIC cardholders

Special Events and Exhibits
A highlight of a Shedd visit includes going in search of Washed Shore: Art to Save the Sea, which is a collection of colorful sculptures placed around Shedd made from washed up beach trash. There are also several recurring experiences and special presentations that happen throughout the day, check the calendar for details.

General Admission
$39.95/adults, $29.95/ages 3-11, $19.95/Chicago resident adult, $14.95/Chicago resident ages 3-11

1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Online: sheddaquarium.org

Learn more at chicagomuseumweek.com and share your memories on social media using #ChicagoMuseumWeek. Want to explore Chicago’s museum but can’t find the time during Museum Week? Check out our story on Chicago’s CityPass for discounts on museum admission.

Which museums are on your agenda for Chicago Museum Week? We’d love to hear about it in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers