Pricing and Tips for Your Visit
Here's what you need to know to make your visit fun, smooth and educational.
See note below on temporary relocation of group pick-up and drop-off locations.
School Group Reservations and Pricing
Reservations are required for all school groups. Prices below are for schools that make their own reservations; click here if you are a tour operator bringing a school group. Please make reservations four weeks in advance, and even earlier for peak season (November/December and April/May). Omnimax movies, Learning Labs and special exhibits have additional fees. Prices effective April 1, 2013.
Download Pricing: Field Trips
Arrival and Check In
- Groups enter and leave through the Group Center, which has been temporarily relocated due to construction on the Museum's west parking lot. See below for more information.
- Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before any scheduled event such as Learning Labs, Omnimax or ticketed exhibits.
- The Group Center can become congested, and check-in may take up to 20 minutes.
- Please present your Group Confirmation Form and signed Visitation Agreement and provide an accurate group count.
- If you bring your own lunch, Museum staff will collect and store them until your designated lunch time.
During a construction project on the Museum's west parking lot during 2013, the Museum offers convenient drop-off and pick-up locations (see below), but does not provide parking for school buses or motorcoaches. Just north of the Museum, the City of Chicago offers paid parking at the McCormick Place Truck Marshalling Yard, located at 31st Street and Lake Shore Drive. For information and options on bus parking, please visit Choose Chicago. Paid automobile parking is available in the Museum's underground parking garage.
Group Center (Temporary Relocation)
Please note that the west parking lot—the previous location for bus drop-off and pick-up—will be closed from July 8, 2013 through the end of the year during a Chicago Department of Transportation improvement project. During this time there will be a change in location for bus drop-off and pick-up.
- Motorcoaches will drop off and pick up at the Henry Crown Space Center entrance, located on the east side of the Museum off Lake Shore Drive. See the link below for a map.
- School buses will drop off and pick up at the Main entrance on the north side of the Museum off 57th Drive. See the link below for a map.
Once the project is complete, the new group entry lot will provide a better experience for our group guests, and it will be one of the greenest parking lots in Chicago. We appreciate your cooperation and flexibility. Please contact us at (773) 684-1414 with any questions you may have.
See Getting Here for general directions to the Museum.
Bus Scholarship Program
We offer free bus transportation to economically disadvantaged schools in the Chicago Public Schools system. Learn more.
Tips for Your Visit
Make a pre-visit: If possible, visit the Museum before bringing your class to familiarize yourself with the building and the exhibits. Illinois teachers are admitted free by presenting to our ticketing agents your current school ID, union card or a letter signed by your principal on school letterhead.
Schedule a Learning Lab: Our facilitated, hands-on Learning Labs provide in-depth learning experiences for school groups. Labs cost $120-140 and last about 60 to 75 minutes, depending upon the topic. A Learning Lab deposit of $25 will be due two weeks after your reservation request is booked.
Take part in our live science experiences: From making sound in a rock band to dissecting an eyeball, our daily shows and activities make students part of the action.
Set expectations: The Museum offers 14 acres of exhibit space to explore. Set realistic expectations for how much your group can accomplish and what you want your group to learn. Our exhibits are designed to spark interest and engage the visitor. Rushing to see the entire Museum in one trip can be a frustrating experience. On busy days, it can take 15 minutes to travel from the Group Center to a Learning Lab. Use our map or visit planning tool to decide what to see and do, or check out our exhibit guides.
Ready to book?
One chaperone per 10 students (one per five students in grades K-3) is admitted free. The Idea Factory requires one adult for every five children. Groups with special needs may require additional chaperones. Call (773) 684-1414 with questions about your group. Download our chaperone information sheet to help you provide instructions to chaperones during your visit.
Use of lunchroom space is available by reservation only. Groups may bring their own lunches, visit the Brain Food Court or purchase box lunches ($8.75 for adults and $6.50 for children).
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