5 Don’t Miss Museum Exhibits This Summer

School’s (almost!) out, summer’s on and the kids want to know what’s next.

If you’re looking to entertain, here are 5 exhibits for sure-fire fun. The best part? They also can stave off that summer brain drain.

*Note: Special exhibits usually require a separate ticket or admission fee. If you are a museum member, you should still call ahead or check the museum website for additional information.

Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition

Museum of Science and Industry
57th St. and Lake Shore Dr.


Runs through: September 3
Good for: Tots through teens

Details: Hands-on and very interactive, this exhibit engages kids of all ages in wacky fun experimentation. Props from the show and a live demo round out the experience.

While you’re there: A newly renovated Smart Home offers fresh ideas on going green. Check it out. Want more information? Check out this review: Mythbusters Exhibition at MSI: Two Thumbs Up


Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective 

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Runs through: September 3
Good for: Older elementary kids through teens

The perfect exhibition for anyone who thinks art museums are stodgy. There’s no shortage of visual stimulation when it comes to the quintessential Pop artist. Everyone from comic book fans to the truly cultured shouldn’t miss this summer show.

While you’re there: Don’t miss Dawoud Bey’s “Harlem, U.S.A.” exhibit—stunning photography.

(Photo credit: Roy Lichtenstein, American (1923-1997). Oh, Jeff…I Love You, Too…But…, 1964. Oil and Magna on canvas. 121.9 x 121.9 cm (48 x 48 in). © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Collection Simonyi. )

Extreme Mammals

Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Driv

Runs through: May 25 – January 6, 2013
Good for: Elementary kids through teens

Animal lovers could learn a thing or two with a spin around this exhibit. Find out which characteristic it is that links all 5,400 mammals out there—and discover everything that makes us different, too.

While you’re there: Get into a Genghis Khan groove—learn more about the man, the myth and the legend at this special exhibit.


Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St., Chicago

Opens: June 9
Good for: Tots through middle schoolers

Learn about Chicago’s role in the history of magic when you view magical artifacts and witness the tricks of the trade as performed by roaming magicians.

While you’re there: “Sensing Chicago” is a wonderfully fun exhibit for younger children, found in the Konen Family Children’s Gallery.

Circus Zirkus

Chicago Children’s Museum
Navy Pier, Chicago

Runs through: August 12
Good for: Tots through elementary age kids

Did your girlfriend come to visit with her gaggle of wee wots? Head to Navy Pier for a circus adventure. The Chicago Children’s Museum is a great place for kids to let it all hang out, and Circus Zirkus lets them explore their physical and intellectual curiosities.

While you’re there: If older kids are part of the picture, there’s plenty for them to do as well. Buy them a Pier Park pass for mini golf, the giant swings, etc. And don’t miss Cirque Shanghai: Year of the Dragon, also on Navy Pier—a summertime treat.


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