Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry
4.5
About
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.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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from $45.41
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Hyde Park
If you want to get a feel for quintessential South Side Chicago, you have to make a stop in Hyde Park, one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. This historic area is home to two of the city’s most prominent cultural institutions, the Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Chicago. A stroll here will bring you past vintage and grand hotels converted into luxury apartment buildings; peaceful gardens, parks and green spaces; and ivy-adorned museums and other cultural institutions that speak to the city’s diversity and architectural beauty.
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  • patlv23
    Winnipeg, Canada962 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Too much to see
    This museum has so much to see. It's best to come early if a day is all you have for you to have any chance of seeing everything. I didn't like that there were quite a few areas that are only available for an additional fee (aside from the special Pompeii exhibit). Favourites for us include the German submarine/U-boat, miniature train exhibit, flight simulators, mirror maze and science storms. I also like that there is relatively cheap outdoor parking behind the museum.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 24, 2023
  • travlingmama
    266 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    First Class Chicago Museum
    A great day for the kids...Very interactive, hands on museum. There is something for everyone and too much to see in one day. For young children 2-3 hours is probably all they can handle. My only complaint and it is a general one....taking a family to museums and events is expensive. I know they offer a free day but that is not always an option.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 28, 2023
  • Steven B
    West Chester, Pennsylvania29 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A truly great museum
    I cannot say enough. I have been three times over the years. MSI is one of the world's great science museums. The U-505 exhibit is outstanding - large, comprehensive educational and the chance to walk through an actual WW2 U-boat is wonderful. Don't forget the enormous scale model railroad with minature Chicago and Seattle.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 6, 2023
  • Souj S
    Schaumburg, Illinois18 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun day at the Museum
    We opted to see the MSI last weekend because of the rains. And that turned out to be a really good decision. We booked the 1 pm slot and got there a lil later so that dint leave us with a lot of time inside. Very educational experience. The interactive exhibits were a lot of fun. The toy maker exhibit was closed, would have luved to see that. And by the time we got to the flight simulation and VR experience it was 5PM and they were closing the counters. Having done the flight simulation activity at the Intrepid museum in NY, we were really looking forward to it, so it was rather disappointing to have missed that. We really enjoyed the Science storms exhibit and the mirror maze.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 11, 2023
  • nounouaa
    New York City, New York131 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend the visit!
    This was such an interesting visit. We arrived 2.5 hours before closing time, so we had to rush at the end. I would recommend a 4 hour visit. This museum is entertaining for all ages and includes a combination of history, modernization, and interaction. The U505 submarine is also amazing, and it's the real one! The weather corner is amazing, and the Mirror Maze is fun. Highly recommended !
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 11, 2023
  • christopherbO9687MP
    Acton, Massachusetts720 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent collection of permanent & temporary exhibits covering all kinds of science
    The Museum of Science and Industry has an excellent collection of permanent & temporary exhibits covering all kinds of science. Plan on spending an entire day at the Museum if you want to get to all the galleries and some of the special exhibits. Some of the highlights for we were: * Pompeii special exhibition, with both displays of life in the Roman city and how it was destroyed ~2,000 years ago. * Huge model train layout with scenes show the industries on the lines from Chicago to Seattle; the model of downtown Chicago was particularly realistic. * Captured German WWII submarine U-505; covering both life on the sub and how the US Navy was able to capture it. * Historic Burlington Zephyr streamlined train. * Collection of space travel artifacts; particularly the Apollo 8 space capsule. * How storms - particularly tornados - form. All ages will enjoy this!
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 14, 2023
  • Jason B
    Clinton Township, Michigan24 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Really Nice - Must See Museum
    This is a really cool huge museum. We (mom and dad) and our 8 year old son really enjoyed it. Our favorite part was the U-505 Exhibit. It costs extra but well worth it. I really wanted to see the U-boat but I was wondering how the museum would feature a tool of war of one of our enemies. It was really well done. The exhibit celebrates the team that set out to capture and bring back a U-boat for the U.S. to study the technology. There are many things for kids to do. We did the mine tour. We didn't think it was worth the additional cost. We didn't do Pompeii or The Blue Paradox. We spent about 5 hours there and could have spent much longer.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 17, 2023
  • LMicheleS
    La Quinta, California177 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The building itself was my favorite part of the day
    We visited on July 5th and purchased the extra ticket to see the Pompeii exhibit as well as general admission. This was our first trip to the MSI as we were visiting Chicago from the west coast and wanted to see a building that was original to the World Fair. The interior is all museum now - nothing about their history - still a great experience, but don't go there expecting to learn any history about the building itself. The Pompeii exhibit was really well put together, interesting and a little sad. The molds of the people who are forever frozen in their last seconds of life are slightly creepy. The ash, etc preserved everything. Highly recommend a visit while its still there. We did not think we could pay any extra for the other exhibits, so missed out on the submarine and other extras. The cafeteria is overpriced for what you get. Far to expensive. If you can pack your lunch and bring it with you, I'd recommend that. The wing where the space exhibit is was one of the best things they had imo. Lots of cool older exploration vehicles and a little taste of the present. Our favorite part of the day was when we simply walked around the entire building outside. It was muggy and warm, but the exterior of the museum was amazing. I'm not positive its all original to the way it looked during the worlds fair but...just a really cool structure. Be careful of the hissing Canadian geese in the back by the pond though! lol
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 24, 2023
  • mmarcos0717
    Chicago, Illinois105 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great for a Rainy day or any day a true Chicago Gem.
    We went with a 2 yr old , 3 yr old, and a 13 yr old... This was such a good time. We kept busy with the exhibits for almost 4 hours and the kids were exhausted by the time we left. Great for a rainy day visit. So much to do and explore.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 28, 2023
  • faith327
    Niles, Michigan99 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Become a Member
    We traveled into Chicago for the day to experience the Pompeii exhibit and the Blue Paradox exhibit and we were extremely pleased with both. The Blue Paradox exhibit is absolutely AMAZING!!! One thing that I would suggest is becoming a member. One of our family members became overheated and we thought we would need to leave early but we found the members lounge and that was a lifesaver. The air conditioning was fabulous in this room and allowed our family member to relax and cool down. There were comfortable chairs and outlets for charging devices if necessary. The room also has a corner with kids items to play with. It truly is a benefit to become a member. Thank you to the staff of the museum for thinking about the members and their needs.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 7, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles11,219 reviews
Excellent
8,204
Very good
2,104
Average
650
Poor
177
Terrible
84

Charles B
Montreal, Canada33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The MSI is a fantastic museum for families and scientifically-minded adults, the highlight of which, at least for this visitor, is the enormous model railroad display, with a scale model not only of downtown Chicago but of the rail route across the prairies and Rockies to Seattle. The only downside is the cost, which is high, but for fans of science and engineering, it's totally worth it. Located several miles south of the Loop, beyond walking distance, but getting there from downtown is cheap and easy on the Metra ME line train from Millennium Park Station, with trains every 20 minutes or so. Once you're down there, take a short walk west to see the famous Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright and the beautiful campus of the University of Chicago.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

research_queen_1
San Antonio, TX5 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Family
We were disappointed with this visit. Every exhibit was sold out. The mirror maze (numbers in nature) had a limited capacity. Make sure you go straight there and get an appointment for entrance otherwise you won't get in. Many others were disappointed bc they couldn't get in either. They say its due to covid, however no masks were required inside museum therefore the rationale didn't make sense for all of the capacity limits & closures. Oh, and do not waste your $6 on the simulators, the screens were small & they jam 8 ppl in one simulator. The simulated rides at places like Main Event are 10x better. Very disappointing. But there were 5 of us and we laughed and said it would make for a great story (felt like a chuck e cheese simulator ride for toddlers, lol). We rationalized everything as "covid times, so they've still gotta make money at our expense". Also, they weren't allowing anyone to enter the submarine, ugh! The museum of science in Toronto was amazing & so much fun with many interactive displays. I expected this one to be even better, but not so much. Maybe visit in future once they've recovered from the effects of pandemic. They were understaffed and that is probably why many areas were closed to public...since these areas need to be monitored & managed. My apologies for a negative review. I read other bad reviews but dismissed it and figured we would have a better experience, but not the case unfortunately. On a positive note, we enjoyed seeing the baby chicks, so cute.
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CarpeDiem0212
Cypress Gardens, FL229 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
My wife and I recently went to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) since we had not been there and had heard so much about it. We chose to only do the free exhibits which came with the price of admission. However, there were a lot of other exhibits open for an additional charge. That worked out well for us because we spent about four hours there just visiting the main exhibits.

We went first to the U505 submarine area. It was very impressive. They did an outstanding job of telling the history of the submarine and its capture with multiple displays, artifacts, videos and pictures. Since people were not allowed on the submarine due to Covid, they had two areas where you could look into the interior of sub and a separate area where a docent was showing slides of other interior sections of the ship.

Then we went up to the main area. We visited all the MSI classic sites such as Science Storms, Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery, and YOU - the Experience. The museum was filled with loads of interactive displays, movies and artifacts. It was an incredible experience!

We highly recommend going to MSI for this world-famous experience. You will be thrilled by what you see and experience. It is a Great Museum. Afterwards, we drove through the beautiful University of Chicago campus and a quick view of the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House. It was a great way to end our journey on the southside of Chicago.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tobias I
Hamburg, Germany150 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019 • Solo
I've booked the flex pass which allowed me to check out as many exhibitions as I wanted within one day. If you are planning to see more than two exhibitions and you want to have a great experience, I'd definitely recommend this pass. All in all, the museum had many very interesting things to see, i.e. the German submarine, the exhibition about forces of nature (Science Storm) and Wired to Wear.
I'd definitely recommend to visit this museum.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrea764
Whitefish Bay, WI23 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021 • Family
My husband and I took our 4 daughters to see the museum today. The kids range in age from 6-16. I remembered going to this museum several times as a kid and loving it, and I was really excited to show them. We drove from Milwaukee (almost two hours) and planned to spend the afternoon at the museum.
I knew many of the “extra” exhibits were sold out for the day because we waited until the last minute to decide to visit the museum. So, I understood that.
What I didn’t understand was why basically NONE of the exhibits that had interactive features were turned on. The website did not notify me that we wouldn’t be able to use any interactive exhibits. In fact, the website mentioned that a stylus would be provided so we wouldn’t have to touch the interactive exhibits with our fingers.
It was such a disappointment. What kid wants to walk around and read the descriptions of exhibits but not get to touch the interactive screens, buttons that explain the exhibit, etc? It was incredibly boring and not educational at all. My kids were all whining to leave after an hour. I don’t blame them, I wanted to leave as well. But we suggested that we go sit down in the cafeteria with a cool drink and a snack for a bit. We get to the cafeteria and I was slightly taken aback when I found that the drinks were $4+ apiece. Seriously, a bottle of Powerade, $4.25? I know that this is a pretty standard price at many venues but you’d think they could offer water bottles for less than $4.25, especially considering all of the drinking fountains were also turned off, due to Covid. Our snacks/drinks for 5 people (one of us didn’t have any) were $35ish dollars. Forgot to mention the $100+ we spent on tickets to get in, and the $22 we paid for parking. What an utter disappointment and a total ripoff. We dragged the kids through the rest of the museum in about an hour and happily left. We won’t be back.
Written March 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peri H
Chicago, IL30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
Make a reservation. Initially the website said they were sold out, but we were still able to make a reservation. Come early, there were very few visitors on Aug 2. Bring a picnic to enjoy outside, then return to the museum. All the “touch” exhibits are roped off, but still didn’t make it thru half the building. A great day!
Written August 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paxton
Washington DC, DC35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Solo
I went to this museum not really knowing what to expect but knowing based on reviews I should take the guided tour of the submarine. When I bought my ticket at the museum, I added the U-505 experience, which is an extra cost. My tour time was about an hour and 15 minutes after I arrived, which was the perfect amount of time to go through the U-505 exhibit. The tour was EXCELLENT. My tour guide, Chris, was extremely knowledgeable. My group asked a lot of questions, and he had answers for everything. I highly recommend purchasing the U-505 experience that takes you through the captured submarine. It was well worth it! As for the rest of the museum, it is a pretty interactive children’s museum. All of the more adult interested activities are considered “experiences” which are behind a pay wall. This can get expensive rather quickly. I only paid for the submarine experience, which I loved, but left shortly after. I probably spent 2.5 hours total in the entire submarine exhibit, so the trip was worth that for me.
Written August 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jay S
Brevard, NC177 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
My wife and I spent about three hours here on a recent visit to Chicago. It's quite removed from downtown.... down the lake front a few miles. We didn't have a car & took public transportation, which was convenient. Even if we'd HAD a car, I'd have done the same - parking at the museum is expensive ($25, I think).

This is a huge place with a very wide variety of well-done exhibits, many of them interactive. It's hard to imagine anyone older than 5 or 6 wouldn't enjoy it. Three hours was about right for us, and I think we're probably pretty typical visitors.

I paid extra for one of the VR experience.... in ours, we were on the International Space Station. Cost was $10 each for the 5 minute "ride". Both of us felt it was not worth it at all. The images you see really don't even appear to be high definition, and kind of hokey narration.
Written November 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amy D
Littleton, CO13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
Our flight was cancelled, which allowed us the opportunity to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. My nephew (13-years old) was mesmerized by the exhibits. We did not watch any of the iMax movies, but we did partake in the flight simulator - twice. We had 4 hours to spend at the museum and stayed until the museum closed - something that surprised me! The interactive elements were amazing. The ginormous train display area and submarine exhibit kept my nephew's attention and had him exploring and asking questions. He loved the weather/science area and I had to drag him away. We took the CTA Bus #10, which cost us $3/each way total. I highly recommend this museum! If you have the opportunity to bring snacks or lunch that might be better than the currently limited food options (due to Covid). With that said, we ate at the cafeteria and shared chicken strips which were very yummy.
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

307leven
Stroudsburg, PA295 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
We visited the last Friday in April. To get there by the 9:30 opening, we traveled by bus instead of driving from our hotel on Michigan Ave. because it was cheaper ($10 for both of us, round trip) than paying the $22 parking fee, plus we didn't have to drive. The #2 bus dropped us off at 57th and Stoney Island Ave, which is only a block west of the museum, to get back we took the #6 bus, but during the summer months, the #10 bus drops you off right at the museum.

The exhibits were spectacular, I took the U-505 tour which was an extra $18 and took about 1/2 hour, but our tornado film inside the giant dome theater was included upon our request as part of our CityPass admission. The rocket and Apollo exhibits were outstanding, the transportation exhibits were great. I also enjoyed the farm tech exhibits, the extreme ice displays, the 727 plane exhibit, which you can walk through and various other displays including the various aircraft on display.

I did not get to see the coal mine or the Art of the Brick Gallery because they were extra add ons and I didn't have enough time. But, my wife saw the Coal Mine exhibit and enjoyed it. We were there all day until closing at 4pm and only took a 15 minute break to eat a snack and grab a cup of coffee. If I had another day, I would have liked to come back and see more.

If you go, wear comfortable shoes due to all the walking. Also, don't schedule too many add on exhibits such as the Brick Gallery, U-boat tour, tornado film, etc. or you won't get to see the whole museum.
Written May 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Museum of Science and Industry - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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