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“The U-Boat was the big hit of the visit”

Museum of Science and Industry
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US$19.95*
and up
Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
Ranked #27 of 685 things to do in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere! Housed in the only remaining building from the 1893 World’s Fair, MSI is a Chicago must-see. You’ll experience 14 acres of hands-on exhibits and have the chance to stand before a 40-foot tornado; climb aboard a World War II German submarine; take a run in a human-sized hamster wheel; descend into an Illinois coal mine; tour a fully functioning eco-friendly home; board a 727 hanging from the ceiling; transmit your pulse to a 13-foot, 3-D beating heart; and much more! MSI is not a place where you walk around quietly and observe. No way! You get involved in the fun—and learn—by doing. Just a few miles from downtown with convenient underground parking.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I really had high hopes for the Museum, having not been to it for decades. We purchased our tickets online through the City Go website and used the App, which greatly sped up getting in. Elven though we got their about an hour after it opened the U-Boat tours were already all sold out, so I recommend locking that in early if you want to take it.

The U-Boat, one of the few intact ones left in the world, is breathtaking. The boys and I in particular visited it twice, although the the rest of the family also enjoyed their one visit to the U-Boat wing. There is a lot of history to take in.

We also did the Lego Brick exhibit which featured huge lego constructions of many famous things like the Golden Gate bridge, Hoover Dam, The International Space Station, etc. Awesome feats of creativity and skill using 10,000s of Legos.

The food court was more reasonably priced than I expected and I didn't feel gouged, other than for the drink prices. The lines at least moved quickly and we found a table without too much scrambling.

I don't enjoy saying it, but the rest of the museum was rather underwhelming. Everything is well maintained, and definitely geared for all ages, but many of the exhibits kind of left me scratching my head thinking "what are they trying to do here". A lot of it also felt kind of dated as far as technology goes. It felt very 70s and 80s but not in a retro-nostalgia kind of way. I think the place needs a major updating, just be sure to keep the U-Boat, which i have no doubt they will.

Thank Rick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"coal mine"
in 1,089 reviews
"u boat"
in 858 reviews
"all ages"
in 711 reviews
"german submarine"
in 202 reviews
"submarine tour"
in 194 reviews
"human body"
in 161 reviews
"fairy castle"
in 157 reviews
"baby chicks"
in 102 reviews
"weather exhibit"
in 101 reviews
"tesla coil"
in 101 reviews
"flight simulator"
in 99 reviews
"brick by brick"
in 89 reviews
"interactive exhibits"
in 244 reviews
"hands on activities"
in 123 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 195 reviews
"great for kids"
in 158 reviews
"great exhibits"
in 97 reviews
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70 - 74 of 8,779 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We wanted to see sue the dinosaur but the day we arrived they were packing her away until 2019, so we never saw her but we saw plenty more to make the entry fee worthwhile, too see it all you’d need a week inside so I would suggest you pick what rocks your boat and go and see that part or parts only.

Thank Penny A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Come here early. Attractions get sold out easily. If I can remember 2 attractions are included in your city pass. The interactive Lego area, the space displays, the human body area, just so much to see and do. This place is so much fun. This place was educational and entertaining. Had a great time and will go back next time we are in Chicago.

Thank Noeey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

A family member of mine and myself visited the Museum of Science and Industry his weekend. Upon arrival we waited 1 hour and 7 minutes, give or take a minute, in line waiting to purchase our admissions. This is completely unacceptable. Because of the wait, we decided to forgo seeing one of their " large screen films " in their Giant Dome Theater, a loss in revenue for the Museum of $ 24.00. That was fine with us since the Admission Rates for this " Museum " are criminally overpriced. I find it hard to believe that the average family that visits the Museum purchases just the Basic Level admission, so even at the Explorer 1 Level, wold set back that family $ 123.85 and that's JUST to walk in the door. If you plan on getting anything to eat you better stop at your financial institution and take out a loan first. One standard Club sandwich, a Dirt Cup pudding cup, a wrap, applesauce, and two bottles of ice tea cost us $ 38.00. One scoop of ice cream at their ice cream parlor in Yesterday's Main Street costs $ 5.85. As my family member said " If they can't sustain the Museum without charging you those prices for food, then they should shut it down. " I think it is time to shut this Museum down. Virtually nothing in it has changed in over 3 decades, it's poor organized and managed, it's prices are Highway robbery, and it simply isn't very interesting unless you're below the age of 13.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Along with the Art Institute, this turned out to be a "remember forever" museum. Friends told me to invest in the special ticket for the U-Boat, which I somewhat grudgingly did (I don't like having to pay for extras). In this case it was totally worth it! A top-quality interpretive tour with a guide helped me understand an event that was heroic, historic, and extremely dramatic. Not just details of an old boat, but living history, helping to understand and really feel the immense threat that Hitler's submarine force posed to us as well as the European Allies. Very touching, too, when you think of the lives lost, and those saved, thanks to the immensely heroic people who captured this ship. The surrounding exhibit is set up with imagination and compassion. Far from being "just" technology, you get to interact with technology and experience its human impact.

This is true of the whole museum. Wherever I went, there was interaction, learning, fascination. It was not the usual "get kids excited about science" (though there's nothing wrong with that). This was all about the world inside and outside of us, and you could delve into it at virtually any level, from a child filled with wonder to an adult trying to make sense of the news, of weather, of the human body, you name it. There were many delights that I had to race through or skip altogether, as the winter hours the day I visited sadly ended at 4pm. On the good side, the off-season isn't fearfully crowded during the week, so I could access the exhibits without waiting. The gift shop is fun and filled with "nerd humor" items along with more serious gifts.

TIP for TOURISTS like me: It may not be worth putting this on a GO PASS. There was a small discount for buying my ticket directly from the museum on-line, and I was able to reserve my U-Boat ticket and time slot at the same time. The U-Boat visit was not included on the GO Pass with admission. It pays to figure out which attractions save money on one of the various tour passes, and which ones are more economical on your own. By optimizing, I saved some money.

Thank JerseyJean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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