Museum Admission Prices – YIKES!
Last week I had the occasion to find out the general admission price for the Shedd Aquarium. A whopping $26.95 per person over 12 years old, and $19.95 for kids 3-11. (Admission to any special exhibits is extra.) Can you imagine a family of 4 paying over $100 for a few hours at a museum?!? Yeah, they have free and discount days, but lines are always long as you might imagine.
As a museum volunteer, I've become aware that it costs a lot of money to maintain a world-class museum, and a lot more to bring in special exhibits to attract visitors. Museums are non-profit organizations that rely on memberships, and public, private, and corporate donations (and unpaid volunteers) to survive. But Hell's Bells! Even those entities have been cutting back in this horrific economic recession. The freebies to visitors are becoming fewer and fewer. As for volunteers, just a few months ago the 'free general admission to other museums' benefit was eliminated. Boo-Hoo! That was a major perk of being a museum volunteer.
Bottom line: You really do have to plan and budget for a museum visit these days. Below are links to the museums mentioned in this post (and a few others I like). I strongly encourage you to visit the websites to find out what the “deal of the day” is, to get the best bang for your buck.
Art Institute of Chicago – www.artic.edu/aic
Field Museum of Natural History – www.fieldmuseum.org
Shedd Aquarium – www.sheddaquarium.org
Adler Planetarium – www.adlerplanetarium.org
Museum of Science and Industry – www.msichicago.org
Museum of Contemporary Art – www.mcachicago.org
Chicago History Museum – www.chicagohs.org
TIP: You can go inside any of these museums to the lobby area or museum store for free.