Break destinations need not be far

Chicago attractions provide something for all interests during the week off

Just like other areas of society, museums are reopening to the public - and just in time for spring break. Check out these options for out-of-the-ordinary experiences that are just a short trip from home.

- by Ken Knutson

Field Museum

Hear the voices of warriors who are fearless in battle, powerful women who are keepers of war shields, beaders, artists, mothers, two-spirited people and many others in the Field Museum's exhibit "Apsáalooke Women and Warriors." Learn about the history, values, and beliefs of the Apsáalooke people of the Northern Plains, also known as the Crow. Understand and honor the tradition of "counting coup"-performing acts of bravery. From 100-year-old war shields to contemporary beadwork and fashion, Apsáalooke community members tell their stories and share vibrant works of art.

The all-access pass is $38, which includes all general admission and ticketed exhibitions and one 3D movie; basic tickets are $24-$32, $21 for seniors and students w/ID, and $17 for kids ages 3-11.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m; closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays.


Museum of Science of Industry

Experience the only German sub in the U.S. at the Museum of Science of Industry's U-505 submarine exhibit. From the fleet of Nazi World War II vessels that terrorized America's east coast, this sub has amazed museum guests since 1954. This captivating new exhibit reveals its technology, what life like on the sub and the riveting story behind its secret capture.

Also, explore the record-setting Pioneer Zephyr train to learn how its diesel-electric engine, innovative construction and lower center of gravity allowed it to travel faster and more efficiently than steam locomotives.

Admission is $21.95, $12.95 for children 3-11, with add-ons for exhibits.

The museum is open from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Celebrate spring break with in-person nature walks or virtual meetings with amazing animals and singalongs at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Guided Spring Break Nature Walks will be held March 30, April 1 & 3, taking families through the museum's outdoor exhibits. At 11 a.m. March 31, Little Miss Ann will perform virtually a half-hour of upbeat, interactive fun music with critters from the museum. At 11 a.m. April 3, check out the live online program "Wings and Talons: A Day in the Life of a Raptor" to see impressive birds of prey up close and learn how their habits and habitats are affected by our own daily lives.

Registration for all spring break programs are free but require advance registration.


Shedd Aquarium

Underwater Beauty at Shedd Aquarium takes visitors into a world of shimmer, color, pattern and rhythm, where jellies pulse, eels ribbon and a rainbow comes alive with reef fishes in the aquarium's most diverse special exhibit ever. Learn how every aquatic animal is beautifully adapted to thrive in its environment.

In the Abbott Oceanarium, watch dolphins soar and play while taking in the stunning view of Lake Michigan. The Oceanarium is also where belugas play, otters dive and sea lions bark, surrounded by a beautiful indoor forest.

The aquarium's other exhibits - including Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Islands & Lakes, Waters of the World and At Home on the Great Lakes - allow visitors to see incredible animals from around the world.

General admission is $39.95 for adults and $29.95 for children ages 3-11.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.


Art Institute of Chicago

Save the airfare to Paris and experience the work of the artist synonymous with Impressionism at the Art Institute's "Monet and Chicago" exhibit.

When Claude Monet's paintings first appeared in a Chicago gallery in 1888, he was singled out for praise by the press. And when his works were shown in the city again as part of the last Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago in 1890, they not only captured the eye of local collectors - they ignited a collective passion.

Also, take in exhibits of Bisa Butler's portrait quilts that vividly capture personal and historical narratives of Black life, "Cosmoscapes: Ink Paintings by Tai Xiangzhou," and "Toulouse-Lautrec and the Celebrity Culture of Paris."

Admission is $22 for adults and $16 for students, seniors 65 and older and teens 14-17. Children are free.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thurdays-Sundays; closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays.


Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean