Museum day with your kids | Steal vs. splurge
Which offers the best family deal: the Shedd Aquarium or the MCA's Family Days?
SPLURGE Fantasea Pass for one child and one adult at the Shedd Aquarium (1200 S Lake Shore Dr, 312-939-2438), $59
STEAL Admission for one child and one adult at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Family Days (220 E Chicago Ave, 312-280-2660), FREE
The Shedd Aquarium’s Fantasea Pass ($33, ages 3–11 $26) grants access to all of the aquarium’s awesome features, including its 4-D theater (showing a condensed version of Happy Feet, a Dora and Diego flick and Planet Earth: From Pole to Pole) and admission to the dolphin and beluga whale show. The fewer-frills Shedd Pass ($27, $20) gets you into all marine-life exhibits. But if your kid isn’t set on the Shedd, peruse art for free at the MCA’s Family Days (second Saturday of the month, 11am–3pm; next date is February 12), when families with kids ages 12 and under are admitted at no charge for hands-on art projects, scavenger hunts and other activities related to exhibits. You can’t beat the price—or the opportunity to expose your kids to art. (Oh, and the Shedd hosts its next Community Discount Day, with free admission to the original galleries, Monday 31.)
Money saved with steal: $59
Looking for more cut-rate culture? Try Old Town School of Folk Music’s First Fridays at its Lincoln Square location (first Friday of the month, 4544 N Lincoln Ave, 773-728-6000), when an evening of free concerts, instrument demos and group jams are open to the public. The Chicago Architecture Foundation hosts free CAFamily Studio Sundays (third Sunday of the month, 224 S Michigan Ave, 312-922-3432) with a rotating roster of walking tours, story times and activities for families with kids ages 3–11. Tickets to theater troupe Barrel of Monkeys’ That’s Weird, Grandma, a collection of short and superfunny plays written by Chicago Public School students are $9 for adults and $4 for kids (Mondays at 8pm at Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N Ashland Ave, 312-409-1954).