In times like these, it is costly to drive far and pay hefty admissions. I don't like to deny my children from having experiences that help increase the amount of background knowledge that they can obtain. Like most mothers, I think it is better to shop smarter. Many activities that cost a lot throughout the week have free days or free options. Here are some of my top picks. Expose your child to everything you can; it will ultimately help them in the future!

The Chicago History Museum is a privately endowed, independent institution devoted to collecting, interpreting, and presenting the rich multicultural history of Chicago and Illinois, as well as selected areas of American history, to the public through exhibitions, programs, research collections, and publications.

Looking for free days? Every Monday is FREE!

Visit  for special events, parking information, or interesting activities for your children to learn more about history at home

The Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Pkwy
Chicago, IL 
(773) 755-5100

Adler Planitarium

Visit the website for latest updates:

Field Museum

Location: The Field Museum – 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Lincoln Park Zoo

Open Every Day and Always Free!

Museum of Science and Industry

There are always new things to do and see at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Prepare for your visit by checking out their fun and interactive exhibits and experiences. You can plan your visit by going to their website and planning your trip before you go!

Chicago Children's Museum

Target Free First Mondays - Starting May 3, 2009, Target Free First Mondays becomes Target Free First Sundays! Check back soon for details. 
CCM is proud to partner with Target to present Target Free First Mondays the first Monday of every month, when children ages 15 and younger receive free museum admission all day long. On Target Free First Mondays, CCM will offer special reading activities and performances for families—all created to connect learning to play and instill an early appreciation for reading. 

Location: Chicago Children's Museum - 700 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Garfield Park Conservatory

It’s admittedly a tad too early to take your tots and go skipping barefoot through the grass, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get a little nature fix in the garden. Simply head to the Garfield Park Conservatory for Morning Glories for Families, a weekly drop-in event that features story time and a hands-on activity.

Location: Garfield Park Conservatory (Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden) – 300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624

Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

Montrose Burd SanctuaryOngoing at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

Maybe your kids have seen crows digging into the trash cans in front of your house, but don’t you want to expand their definition of “birdwatching” just a teensy bit? Luckily for you, the Windy City is home to avian residents that range from barn owls to snowy egrets, and the Montrose Point Area is surefire choice when it comes to observing a wide variety of feathered friends.

Location: Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary – 4400 N. Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639

Chicago Cultural Center

Location: The Chicago Cultural Center – 78 E. Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602

Outdoor Concert