Summer Fun means time to get out and about. If you are headed to Illinois, this list of 10 Museums in Illinois is sure to make your summer fun easier to manage! After all, Illinois is not just the “Land of Lincoln”. It is the land of a lot of fantastic sights.
Summer Fun At 10 Museums in Illinois
Illinois has a lot to show off, both in natural beauty and in amazing man-made wonders. You can find enormous cities as well as wonderful rural communities. There are professional sports teams that fans live and die with each season. There are famous institutions of learning, unbelievable architecture, and so much more to create endless summer fun for your family!
Illinois’ history is the story of people from all over who dared to suffer the hardships of pushing west to settle on the open plains of middle America. It’s the story of people who grew crops, built fantastic cities, developed an iconic Great Lakes port, and have fostered the growth of the arts and an appreciation of culture.
As times have changed, so has Illinois, embracing industrialization without losing its appreciation of nature. “Illinois” is a Native American word, referring to a “tribe of superior people” and the residents of Illinois live up to that name. There is so much to learn about this state, and these 10 museums to see in Illinois this summer will help you do just that.
DuPage Children’s Museum – Naperville, IL – DuPage Children’s Museum believes that every child should have the opportunity to reach their full learning potential. Through integrating art, math, and science with hands-on play, they help every child learn. Their numerous exhibits encourage children to take an active part in making things happen. Check their schedule of events so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
Aurora Regional Fire Museum – Aurora, IL – Firefighters are considered one of the local heroes in any community. But it is amazing how little most of us know about what they do. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum has been educating the public since the 1960s. The fun and interesting displays of firefighting gear down through the years will help you appreciate how far the science of firefighting has come. In addition to sharing a look at a variety of firefighting apparatus, the museum also helps teach about fire prevention and fire safety. This is the epitome of turning summer fun into an edicational event for your children.
Illinois Aviation Museum – Bolingbrook, IL – All too often when an aircraft – even a vintage one – can no longer be flown, it is scrapped or left to rust. This is a terrible fate for the aircraft and a loss for aviation history, too. The Illinois Aviation Museum tries to make sure those heartbreaking scenarios don’t happen. They provide a place where aviation history is honored. They also take on the noble task of restoring these vintage aircraft before displaying them. Through their many stories, visitors gain a sense of history and an appreciation of these great aircraft.
Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago, IL – It isn’t often that a museum is so well-known that it ranks up there with Disneyland or the World’s Largest Ball of Mud. But the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has pretty much, achieved rock-star status among museums. And it has earned that rating for a good reason. The vast number of displays and exhibits in so many areas of science astound the senses. This museum has mastered the art of entertaining and educating people simultaneously. From Flight to Agriculture, from Meteorology to Railroads, there are areas of interest for all ages. Many displays are interactive, so be prepared for some hands-on fun!
National Museum of Mexican Art – Chicago, IL – The National Museum of Mexican Art shares the beauty and richness of Mexican art and culture with the world. Since taking on this responsibility, it has continued to expand through the years. This state-of-the-art facility now occupies 48,000 square feet and houses one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the United States. Their displays include more than 10,000 pieces of art from ancient Mexico right up to the present. To fully immerse yourself in the art and culture of Mexico in a facility like this one, allow yourself plenty of time to explore. You’ll be glad you did.
Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum – Lisle, IL – Some of the greatest treasures we find in life are the ones that require a little searching. That is certainly true of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum. It is located in the Michael and Kay Birck Hall of Science at Benedictine University in Lisle. This amazing facility is the combined work of Fr. Hilary Jurica, O.S.B. and his brother, Fr. Edmund Jurica, O.S.B. who traveled the world collecting specimens. The value of this incredible collection was recognized by Fr. Theodore Suchy, O.S.B who used it to create an impressive nature museum with over 10,000 specimens ranging from tiny aphids to a whale skeleton. For the family with boys or girls that love learning about creatures, this is a great place to spend time and will be full of summer fun!
Scitech Hands On Museum – Aurora, IL – Learning can occur in a number of different ways. But when it comes to children, they thrive in a “hands-on” environment. That is the core concept behind the incredibly fun Scitech Hands On Museum. Featuring over 200 interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) exhibits, children will find plenty to keep them happy and involved for hours!
The Museums at Lisle Station Park – Lisle, IL – It isn’t often that a community makes such a concerted effort to preserve its history and culture as the citizens of Lisle have. They’ve gone so far as to create an historic district with homes, businesses, and even a railroad depot preserved and used to educate visitors about their town, its citizenry, and its culture. You can walk through the area and appreciate what life for early residents was like. Get up close and personal with a blacksmith shop, a tavern, and even a restored railroad waycar. There is a lot to see and learn here and you can do it at your own pace.
The Field Museum – Chicago, IL – If you’re serious about learning all you can about the world around us, this museum is probably the best place to start. The scale of the facility and the range of sciences covered can boggle the mind, but they also make a fun and exciting time. You can put yourself into the world of dinosaurs, shrink down to the size of a bug, visit ancient Egypt, learn about ways to help save our planet, and a lot more. There are displays, 3-D movies, dioramas, and even some hands-on exhibits. With so much to see and do, you may want to make this visit a two-day affair since it is so full of summer fun for the whole family!
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Chicago, IL – The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a part of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, is an amazing collection of exhibits and displays, both permanent and traveling. You’ll have a chance to see an incredible collection of specimens that you may not find anywhere else. They are like snapshots or tiny slices of time collected and preserved for study at a later time. Plants and animals of all types can be seen and perhaps provide a better understanding of our world and how connected living things are to our planet.
Illinois has such an incredible mixture of urban, suburban, and rural communities that it’s no wonder there is so much to see and enjoy. This guide to 10 museums to see in Illinois this summer should at least give you some ideas. Summer fun isn’t just about watching movies or hitting up theme parks! These museums can be educational and amazingly fun! Have you visited any of these museums? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.