Accessibility

Exhibits and Experiences

Here is a brief overview of the Museum's exhibits and experiences for guests planning a visit with mobility, sensory or other accessibility features in mind.

Info Desk + Staff

If you need any assistance, directions or recommendations, please see a facilitator at the Info Desk on Main Level 2 or ask any staff wearing a lab coat.

The Art of the Bicycle

included in museum entry
  • Sensory Note: This exhibit tends to be a quieter part of the Museum.

Open from late November to early January each year.

  • Sensory Note: Every 30 minutes fake snow falls from the ceiling, near the Information Desk.
  • Bright Lights: This exhibit is in the busy Rotunda, and has bright and moving lights.
  • Loud Noises: Holiday music plays throughout the main floor of the Museum.

Coal Mine

requires additional ticket
  • Mobility: Sections of the tour can only be accessed by stairs.
  • Sensory Note: You will stand in tight and enclosed spaces.
  • Low Lights: Moments of complete darkness.
  • Loud Noises: Moments of sounds like a loud boom and operating machinery.
  • Seating: A chair can be provided in each room of the tour by request.
  • Movement Opportunities: Includes rides on an elevator and a train.

Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle

included in museum entry
  • Sensory Note: This exhibit is located in a quieter area of the Museum. A quiet audio track narrates what to find in the Fairy Castle.

Earth Revealed

included with museum entry
  • Seating: This exhibit is an opportunity to sit down.
  • Low Lights: The exhibit is dimly lit.

Extreme Ice

included with museum entry
  • Seating: Opportunity to sit down and watch a movie at the exhibit entrance.
  • Tactile Opportunities: A wall made out of ice that guests can touch.

Fab Lab

requires additional ticket
  • Mobility: It can be difficult to see some of the machines operating in the Fab Lab. Facilitators in the space can make accommodations by request.
  • Seating: Seating is available in the Fab Lab.

Farm Tech

included in museum entry
  • Mobility: The exhibit has a real tractor and combine to explore. To get to the driver seats of these vehicles, there is a staircase to climb.
  • Seating: This exhibit has nearby benches for sitting.
  • Tactile Opportunities: There are opportunities for hands-on play with interactives in the exhibit.

Flight and Ride Simulators

requires additional ticket
  • Mobility: There are stairs to enter the simulators and small enclosed spaces inside, making the simulators not wheelchair accessible.
  • Sensory Note: The flight simulators turn you upside down and the entire capsule moves and shakes to make it feel like you are flying.
  • Sensory Note: An ADA station is offered that is wheelchair accessible and doesn’t feature additional motion. Ask an employee at the flight simulators for assistance.

Future Energy Chicago

requires additional ticket
  • Sensory Note: There are several large screen videos that are bright and loud.
  • Low Lights: Many areas of the exhibit are very dark.
  • Tactile Opportunities: There are opportunities to play games on touch screens.
  • Movement Opportunities: There are stationary bikes to ride.

Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery

included in museum entry
  • Seating: This exhibit has opportunities to sit down.

Giant Dome Theater

requires additional ticket

A five-story, wraparound dome theater presenting large-format films.

  • Mobility: Elevator access and wheelchair accessible seating are available. Ask any Giant Dome Theater staff member if you need assistance.
  • Loud Noises: Volume from the movies in the theater can get loud enough to shake the seat (may vary by film). Noise-dampening headphones are available by request at the theater.
  • Assistive Features: Closed captioning, audio amplification, video description* and noise-dampening headphones are available from any Giant Dome Theater staff member.

* Video description availability may vary by film.

Henry Crown Space Center

included in museum entry
  • Seating & Sensory: There is a quiet vending machine area with open seating.
  • Mobility: There is a staircase that leads down to take a closer look at the lunar lander, which can also be easily viewed without walking down the stairs.

The Idea Factory

requires free timed ticket available onsite

For guests ages 10 and under (and their families).

  • Loud Noises: The exhibit can get loud from the sounds of young guests playing.
  • Seating: There are many opportunities to sit down inside and outside the exhibit.
  • Tactile Opportunities: This exhibit has many opportunities for hands-on play with interactives, some including moving and spraying water.

Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze

requires free timed ticket available onsite
  • Sensory Note: At the exhibit entrance, there is a video projected on a large screen in a dark room.
  • Sensory Note: The Mirror Maze can be visually disorienting. You can choose instead to bypass the maze portion of the exhibit.
  • Low Lights: Colored lights inside the Mirror Maze are dim and slowly change colors.

Pioneer Zephyr

included in museum entry
  • Mobility: The Zephyr’s exterior and surrounding exhibit are wheelchair accessible. The onboard tour of the train involves climbing stairs and moving through tight spaces, making the tour not wheelchair accessible
  • Sensory Note: While onboard, the train itself rocks to simulate the feeling that it is in motion.
  • Seating: There are seating options inside the train and along the side and back of the train.

Science Storms

included in museum entry
  • Mobility: There is an escalator within the exhibit for travel between the first floor and second floor portions of Science Storms. Elevators are available outside of the exhibit as well.
  • Sensory Note: There is a 40-foot vortex in the exhibit. If you are near it, you can feel the wind and moisture from the vortex.
  • Bright Lights: Interactives project different colored lights and sometimes flashes of lights.
  • Loud Noises: The Tesla Coil above the exhibit fires every 45 minutes, creating an extremely loud sound. Videos and interactives throughout the exhibit present loud noises.

Ships Gallery

included in Museum Entry
  • Low Lights: This exhibit is dimly lit.
  • Movement Opportunities: A ship’s deck is recreated in this exhibit for guests to play on.

ToyMaker 3000

included in museum entry
  • Loud Noises: This exhibit’s machinery makes noises throughout the exhibit.

Transportation Gallery

included in museum entry
  • Sensory Note: A real 727 airplane periodically flashes lights and has wheels that lower from the plane.
  • Low Lights: The lighting regularly dims to simulate night time.
  • Loud Noises: Sometimes loud noises from nearby exhibits can be heard in this exhibit.

U-505 Submarine

included in Museum Entry

The exhibit around the submarine.

  • Mobility: There are several flights of stairs throughout the exhibit. Elevators are available to take you between each floor.
  • Loud Noises: Videos and interactives throughout the exhibit feature sounds of explosions, aircrafts, and other wartime footage.
  • Sensory Note: One video shakes the floor of the exhibit to recreate wartime conditions.

U-505 On-board Tour

requires additional ticket

The daily optional tour of the submarine's interior.

  • Mobility: Stairs, uneven floors and tight quarters aboard the submarine make the tour not accessible to wheelchairs.
  • Sensory Note: You will stand in tight and enclosed spaces.
  • Sensory Note: Moments of flashing lights recreating explosions.
  • Low Lights: Moments of complete darkness.
  • Loud Noises: Moments with sounds of bells ringing and explosions.

U-505 In-depth Experience

requires additional ticket

Extended weekend tour of the exhibit and submarine interior.

  • See notes for U-505 Submarine and U-505 On-board Tour.

VR Spacewalk

requires additional ticket
  • Mobility: There are stairs to enter the VR Spacewalk, which makes it not wheelchair accessible.
  • Sensory Note: The VR Spacewalk uses a virtual reality headset and seating that moves and shakes to make it feel like you are in space.
  • Sensory Note: An ADA station is offered that is wheelchair accessible and doesn’t feature additional motion. Ask an employee at the VR Spacewalk for assistance.

Wired to Wear™

requires additional ticket

Open through spring 2020.

  • Sensory Note: You can try on wearable technology that creates sensory experiences related to noise, temperature changes, and physical vibrations.

WOW! Tour

requires additional ticket
  • Mobility: This tour involves a lot of walking. Let your tour guide know if you have any mobility issues, and they can make accommodations to the tour.
  • Sensory Note: You are invited to eat a Miracle Berry Tablet, which changes your sense of taste. You must be free of any food allergies or dietary restrictions to try the Miracle Berry Tablet.
  • Low Lights: The tour goes behind the screen of the Giant Dome Theater, a very dark space.
  • Loud Noises: At one point in the tour, guests are invited to blow the very loud Coal Mine whistle.

Yesterday’s Main Street

included in museum entry
  • Mobility: This exhibit’s floor is cobblestone, making it a rough and bumpy surface.
  • Sensory Note: The exhibit is quiet with only a couple of background noises.
  • Low Lights: The entire exhibit is dark with only a few lights.

YOU! The Experience

included in museum entry
  • Low Lights: The Prenatal Gallery exhibit is dimly lit.
  • Loud Noises/Bright Lights: Videos and interactives feature sounds and bright lights that can be seen and heard throughout parts of the exhibit.
  • Seating: Some interactives have opportunities for sitting.
  • Movement Opportunities: Features of the exhibit invite movement including the Movement Wall and Hamster Wheel.