The MSI is one of the most-visited sites in Chicago, and for good reason. The sprawling space has 2,000 exhibits on three floors, with new exhibits added constantly. The museum's high-tech interior is hidden by a Classical Revival exterior, designed in 1892 by D.H. Burnham & Company to house the Palace of Fine Arts for the World's Columbian Exposition. Beautifully landscaped Jackson Park and its peaceful, Japanese-style Osaka Garden are behind the museum.
surrounding the sub, which give stunning insight into the strategy behind the war at sea.
Discover how scientists can make frogs' eyes glow or watch baby chicks emerge from their shells at the "Genetics–Decoding Life" exhibit.
Find out how your body works at "You! The Experience," with 50 fascinating interactive stations.
See giant bolts of lightning, make a rainbow, and manipulate an indoor tornado at "Science Storms."
Navigate an 1,800-square-foot mirror maze and test your face for symmetry as part of the museum's "Numbers in Nature" exhibit.
Use the museum map to plan out your visit. Your best bet is to hit a couple of highlights (the onboard U-boat tour will take about 20 minutes), and then see a few quirky exhibits.
If the kids get grouchy, bring them to the Idea Factory, a giant playroom where they can play with water cannons, blocks, and cranks. It's limited to ages 10 and younger.
Relax with some ice cream in the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor, tucked away in a genteel re-creation of an Illinois main street.
On nice days, hordes of sunbathers and kite flyers occupy the giant lawn out front—it's almost as entertaining as the museum itself. Lake Michigan is across the street.
The museum has free-admission days, but the schedule changes often. It is also open for extended hours during peak periods. Check the website for details.