Never fear! Along comes the Friday Free for All! Every week, I'll feature something fun and free (or very nearly so) for families. Sometimes it will be an event. Other times, a great deal. The possibilities are endless!
And, dear readers, if you come across a fantastic freebee happening in your area, I encourage you to share the details in the comments section. After all, the more the merrier!
When I was little, my family lived just outside of Manhattan. It seemed like once a week, my mom would pack up my brother and me and schlep us into the city to visit this museum or that. (This lead to a particularly interesting discussion that my parents had with my first grade teacher when I had to draw something that began with the letter "N" and I drew NUDES!)
Now that I have children of my own, I am hoping to provide them with the same kind of experiences (Not the drawing nudes part... the museum part!) and the Chicago Public Library has made it easier (and cheaper).
As part of the Kraft Great Kids Museum Passport program, every branch of the Chicago Public Library has family museum passes available for one week loans. While the rules vary by location, the pass entitles four family members general admission to that particular museum. Available passes include biggies (The Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Children's Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Notebaert Nature Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry) and some off the beaten path (Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History and the National Museum of Mexican Art).
You do need to show some flexibility in your plans as each branch has a limited number of passes and it is first come, first served. Also, these passes are only for general admission so any special exhibits will require a fee. More information can be found on the Chicago Public Library website.
Not from Chicago? Check with your local library to see if they have a similar program. Boston does! The Twin Cities do! Detroit as well!
Added 09/03/09- Want to visit Chicago museums but are from the suburbs! You aren't left out! Just this week, it was announced that through 2010, the Museum Adventure Pass is available.