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A visit to the museum is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family. However, if you’re new to the Chicago area, you may not know which one to try first. Here are seven of our favorites for you to consider:

The Field Museum

Image via Flickr by vagueonthehow

Visitors travel to The Field Museum every year to see its enormous dinosaurs or take in the ancient artifacts it has on display from a royal Egyptian tomb. The museum has over 30 permanent exhibitions within its 300,000 square foot facility and is one of the largest natural history museums in the world.

The Field Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Free Admission Days at the museum, admission is free for Illinois residents with proof of residency. On other days, residents who live within the city limits of Chicago can save $5 or more on the price of tickets. Admission is also complimentary for active-duty military personnel. You can visit The Field Museum online to learn more about special rates or to plan your next visit.

Museum of Science and Industry

If you’re more in the mood for a science museum, then the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see. The entire facility consists of 400,000 square feet, yet with all of its exhibits on weather, farming, energy, transportation, and space, the museum seems almost small. It also features a five-story, domed wraparound movie theater where visitors can view films on topics like caves, volcanoes, and the rainforest.

If you’re an Illinois resident, you can visit the museum for free on one of the 52 free days throughout the year. On other days, Chicago residents, active-duty military personnel and veterans, Illinois teachers, and Chicago firefighters and police officers can enjoy special discounts. The museum is opened daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can visit them online to learn more about their many exhibits.

Adler Planetarium

If you’re fascinated with space, stop by the Adler Planetarium. The Grainger Sky Theater projects high-resolution video to immediately transport you into the cosmos. Visit the other exhibits to learn about the history of the universe, the solar system, and manned moon missions. There’s even a fun after-hours party every month where visitors can enjoy special programming and experience the exhibits while drinking cocktails. The Planetarium is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m and offers a variety of discounted tickets throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy the Planetarium for free on certain days. Visit the Adler Planetarium’s website or social media sites online to learn more about upcoming events and exhibits.

Chicago Sports Museum

Sports enthusiasts will love the Chicago Sports Museum, which offers fun challenges and simulations, such as testing how high you can jump in comparison to Michael Jordan. It even has a forensics section where you can see how the construction of a baseball has evolved over time.

The museum is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Discounted tickets are available for college students, children, and seniors, and children three or under are free. Visit the Chicago Sports Museum website for more information about tickets, special events, and what the museum has to offer.

Museum of Contemporary Art

If you enjoy modern art, then you can’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Art. The building is a work of art in itself, paying homage to famous architects from the Chicago School. It features collections from famous contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Jasper Johns.

Admission to the museum is free for Illinois residents every Tuesday. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and teachers, as well as free for anyone under the age of 18. The museum is open on Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit their website or social media sites to learn more about the exhibits and special events.

DuSable Museum of African American History

This Hyde Park museum is one of the oldest museums in the country focused on African American history and is a must-visit for out-of-state travelers and Illinois residents alike. The museum houses artifacts and documents from the lives of activists like Ida B. Wells and poet Langston Hughes, as well as a collection of African-American art. Exhibits, films, concerts, children’s events, and literary discussions are just a few of the programs offered by the museum each year.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Children under the age of five receive free admission, and discount tickets for children, students, and seniors are available. You can visit the museum’s website or social media sites to learn more about what it has to offer.

American Writers Museum

If you’re a fan of great American literature, then you’ll want to stop by the American Writers Museum, which takes visitors through the history of our country’s most important writers, including Ida B. Wells, Sylvia Plath, and others. There are even a couple of tables full of typewriters for visitors to see and touch. Located on the second floor of a Chicago Avenue space, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday. On Thursday, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the American Writers Museum website to learn more.

American Auto Insurance has been proudly serving the Chicago area for over 30 years now, and we have had the pleasure of experiencing its many amazing museums firsthand. These are just seven of what we believe are the best museums that Chicago has to offer. Are there any others you think should have been on the list? Drop us a line to tell us your favorite.