My kind of enlightening town

Take advantage of family time next week with a visit to city museum

Avoid the teeming airports and bumper-to-bumper expressways out of town this spring break and make a short trip to Chicago, where world-class science and cultural facilities await with fresh attractions to enjoy. Here are a few enticing options.

Adler Planetarium

Join an imaginative Chicago pre-teen, on a visually stunning Afrofuturist journey in the Sky Show “Niyah and the Multiverse.”

Niyah has a lot of questions about space and time. How can a special mask help us understand who we are in the world? Do we really need all the laws of physics? How is the multiverse like the blues?

With her friend Luis, and a curious cat named Bast, Niyah comes face-to-face with her grown-up self — an astrophysicist who studies multiverse theories. Find out what shape your shadow matter might take and get inspired to dream up multiverse theories of your own.

These and other show and events await at the planetarium, 1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Monday and 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Admission is $28, $17 for ages 3-11 for all exhibits and one Sky Show. Admission is free on Wednesdays for Illinois residents with proof of residency. Parking is $25.


Art Institute of Chicago

While often presented as an artistic genius, a singular force solely responsible for his creative output, Pablo Picasso would not have achieved the immense success he did without the many people who supported him.

The exhibition Pablo: Drawing from Life, centered on the artist’s works on paper, brings into focus Picasso’s life and art as it intersected with a network of artists, dealers, printers, family members and lovers. The many women with whom he had passionate and sometimes volatile relationships inspired him, and the complex man represented his subjects with both tenderness and aggression. The printers and dealers with whom Picasso collaborated helped him realize and bring attention to thousands of works, enabling him to gain international renown. The exhibit runs through April 8.

The Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan Ave., is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays to Mondays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Admission is $32, $26 for seniors, students and teens, and free for age 13 and younger.


Field Museum

Check out larger-than-life models of bloodsucking creatures and learn how different species earned their titles in the exhibit Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches.

Use magnifying glasses to see fossilized bloodsuckers up close. Step into the sounds of a Northwoods mosquito swarm, then play a game to discover which repellents best protect us from their bites. Take a journey through classic movies like “Dracula” in a mini movie theater and see a historical vampire hunting kit to discover where fact meets fiction. There’s even a recreation of a barber’s bloodletting station and interactive apothecary drawers to convey the story of bloodletting in medicine.

The Field Museum, 1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $27-$40, depending on the level of access, with discounts for seniors, students w/ID and kids ages 3-11. Basic admission is free every Wednesday for Illinois residents. Parking in the Soldier Field lot is $25.


Museum of Science and Industry

Access the adventure where science and imagination meet in the exhibit 007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond.

Explore the iconic cars, gadgets and props of the world’s longest running film series, and go behind the scenes to learn how the Bond production teams harness real-world science to craft 007’s on-screen adventures. See fantastical gadgets created for the Bond films alongside the real-life inventions they prefigured. Enter a lab space inspired by “Q” — the source of secret field technologies in the Bond movies — and test your abilities to design the perfect spy vehicle, dangle from a steel beam and devise amazing stunts.

The Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Daytime admission that includes a timed-entry ticket for OO7 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond is $43.95, $28.95 for ages 3-11.


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Get ready to encounter a variety of fascinating animals in Wild World: Miracles in Conservation.

Take part in impromptu animal interactions, meet animal care specialists and learn about conservation efforts around the world. See why there is hope on the horizon by learning about amazing real-life conservation success stories around the globe and connecting them to the local conservation efforts happening in our own backyard.

Other daily activities include Critter Connection from 11:30 a.m. to noon, Animal Feeding from noon to 12:30 p.m. and Butterfly Release from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

The museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $15, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for ages 3-12 and free for ages under 3. Thursday admission is free for Illinois residents; a $10 suggested household donation is encouraged.


— compiled by Ken Knutson

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean