DONLEY’S WILD WEST TOWN, Route 20 & South Union Road, Union, 815-923-9000 or www.wildwesttown.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends May, September and October; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. The 2012 season opens May 19. Featuring a museum, Wild West Town with live action Wild West Show three times daily, pan for gold pyrite, pony rides, train ride, petting zoo, roping lessons, blacksmith, old time movies, shops, restaurant and more. Admission: $15 a person, free for children age 2 and younger when accompanied by a paying adult.
GREATER HARVARD AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 308 N. Hart Blvd., Harvard, 815-943-6141. Open 1:30 to 4 p.m. every Sunday from May through October. Silent movies shown each Sunday. Special tours may be arranged. Call 815-943-6141 or 815-943-3561. Free admission. Donations accepted.
ILLINOIS RAILWAY MUSEUM, 7000 Olson Road, east of Union. Information: 815-923-4000; 800-BIG-RAIL or www.irm.org. For a brochure, call 815-923-4391. Operating schedule: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through October; 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sundays through October. A museum in motion. The nation’s largest rail museum operating steam, diesel and electric trains. Featuring nearly 400 historic locomotives and rail cars. Fares: $10 adults, $7 children, $38 families weekdays (except holidays); $10 adults, $7 children, $38 families weekends April and October; $14 adults, $8 children, $50 families weekends May through September.
McHENRY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM, 6422 Main St., Union, 815-923-2267 or www.mchsonline.org. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, May through October. Closed Saturdays. Local history research library open year-round on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Heritage Quilters meet 9:30 a.m. each Wednesday year-round at the museum. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students, $12 per family (includes two family member adults and two or more children), free for society members.
AURORA UNIVERSITY, Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, 347 S. Gladstone Ave., Aurora, 630-844-7843 or www.aurora.edu/museum. Fall and spring hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and Saturday. Admission: $3 adults, $2 seniors and students, $1 children younger than 12, $7 family maximum.
BARRINGTON AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Old Barrington Center, 212 W. Main St., Barrington, 847-381-1730 or www.bahsil.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors, $2 students and children.
BURPEE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-965-3433 or www.burpee.org. Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Housed in two historic mansions. Main exhibits include mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians, rocks and minerals, fossils and dinosaurs. Featuring the permanent exhibit Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur. Admission: $10 adults, $9 children ages 4-12, free children younger than 4 and members. Schedule: through April 29, Ice Age Mammals.
CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, 1000 Lake Cook Road (a half-mile east of the Edens Expressway), Glencoe, 847-835-5440 or www.chicagobotanic.org. Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. A 385-acre garden featuring 24 display gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes. Free admission. Parking: $20 ($7 for seniors on Tuesdays).
CZECHOSLOVAK HERITAGE MUSEUM, 122 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, 630-472-0500 or www.csafraternallife.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Highlighting the history and culture of the Czech Republic and Slovakia featuring a wide variety of displays and exhibits including authentic Czech, Moravian, and Slovak costumes, crystals and ceramics, historical exhibits, dolls and puppets, and needlework dating from 1850. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students, $10 per family, $3 a person in groups of five or more.
DISCOVERY CENTER MUSEUM, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-963-6769 or www.discoverycentermuseum.org. A hands-on, family-oriented museum in Riverfront Museum Park. First outdoor museum park in the U.S., with exhibits about sound, weather, water, cave exploration, and a two-story maze. Check the web site for a variety of home school and classes after school. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $7 adults and children ages 2 to 17, free for children age 1 and younger and museum members. Schedule: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21, Kids in the Kitchen healthy eating event (free for children ages 10 and younger and their families).
ELGIN AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM, 360 Park St., Elgin, 847-742-4248 or www.elginhistory.org. Hours: noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays March through December. Admission: $3 adults, $1 students, free for Society members.
ERLANDER HOME MUSEUM, 404 South 3rd St., Rockford, 815-963-5559 or www.swedishhistorical.org. The cultural centerpiece of Rockford's Swedish-ancestry community. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors, $2 children ages 3-17.
FOX RIVER TROLLEY MUSEUM, Route 31, just south of State Street, South Elgin, 847-697-4676, or www.foxtrolley.org. Ride historic “L” and trolley cars on 103-year-old railroad along Fox River. Museum opens for the 2012 season on May 13. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, May 13 through Labor Day, as well as Fridays and Saturdays in October. One-ride fares: $4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 children ages 3-11, free for children younger than age 3 or $8 for an all-day ticket.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOME AND STUDIO, 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, 708-848-1976, www.gowright.org. This historic house museum, operated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, served as Wright’s residence, studio and architectural laboratory during the first twenty years of his career from 1889 to 1909. Oak Park contains the world’s largest concentration of Wright-designed structures, 26 in all. Daily guided tours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interior house tour admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors and youth ages 4-17, free for children ages 3 and younger. Other tour packages available.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S ROBIE HOUSE, 5757 S. Woodlawn, Hyde Park, 708-848-1976, www.gowright.org. Public tours will be conducted 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Interior house tour admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors and youth ages 4-17, free for children ages 3 and younger. Other tour packages available.
GARFIELD FARM MUSEUM, 3N016 Garfield Road, 5 miles west of Geneva off Route 38, LaFox, 630-584-8485 or www.garfieldfarm.org. A not-for-profit 1840s living historic farm and tavern museum. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays from June through September for drop-in tours. All other times by appointment year round. Guided tours: $3 adults, $2 children younger than age 13. Schedule: 9:30 a.m. April 21, Woodland Wild Flower Walk ($6 fee); 1 and 3 p.m. April 22, Hands On Dulcimer Workshops (mountain and hammered sessions, $25 each).
GENEVA HISTORY CENTER, 113 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-232-4951 or www.genevahistorycenter.org. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday (April through December). Free admission. Featuring changing exhibits, museum store and a public meeting room.
HISTORIC AUTO ATTRACTIONS, 13825 Metric Drive, Roscoe, 815-389-7917 or www.historicautoattractions.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends after Labor Day. Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors, $7 students ages 6-15, free for children younger than 6. Tour rates available. Come take a journey through time and enjoy more than 70 historic vehicles and hundreds of pieces of history that takes you beyond the concept of most auto museums. Visit the John F. Kennedy Display. See the secret service limo from the Kennedy assassination, Richard Petty’s oldest existing car, Batmobiles, Ghostbusters, Elvis’ car & memorabilia, cars of gangsters like Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde, Grateful Dead tour bus and more.
KLEHM ARBORETUM & BOTANIC GARDEN, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, 815-965-8146 or www.klehm.org. Explore every season in the heart of the Arboretum district with majestic colors of fall, hundreds of blooming crabapples in spring, butterfly gardens in summer and snow-covered evergreens in winter. Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $6 adults, $3 seniors and children age 3-17, free for children 2 and younger. Every Monday is Donation Day and entry is free to the public with donations always welcome. Schedule: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 19, Tree Planting course (fee is $12 Klehm members, $15 nonmembers).
KOHL CHILDREN’S MUSEUM, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, 847-832-6600 or www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $9.50 adults and children, $8.50 seniors and grandparents, free for children younger than 1 and members.
LAKE COUNTY DISCOVERY MUSEUM, Lakewood Forest Preserve, 27277 Forest Preserve Drive (Route 176 and Fairfield Road), Wauconda, 847-968-3400 or www.lakecountydiscoverymuseum.org. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $6 adults, $3 seniors and students ages 18-25, $2.50 children ages 4-17, free for children 3 and younger and members.
LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER CHICAGO, at the Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, 866-929-8111 or www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com. Hours: noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission: $19 adults, $15 children, free for children 2 and younger.
MIDWAY VILLAGE & MUSEUM CENTER, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, 815-397-9112 or www.midwayvillage.com. A turn-of-the-century reconstructed village on 134 acres, including a church, school, town hall, blacksmith shop, bank, jail, hospital, farmhouse, hardware store, plumber’s shop and water-powered machine shop. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. General admission: $7 adults, $5 children ages 3 to 17, free for members.
MIDWEST MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, 425 W. State St., Sycamore, 815-895-9777 or www.mmnh.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday and holidays. Admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors and children ages 2-12, free for children younger than 2.
MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM, 700 N. Art Museum Drive, 414-224-3220 or www.mam.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. General Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors and students, free for children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult, free for members.
MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MUSEUM, 800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee, 414-278-2700 or www.mpm.edu. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Closed July 4, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission: $14 adults, $11 seniors and children ages 13-17, $10 children ages 3-12, free for children younger than 3 and members.
MORTON ARBORETUM, 4100 Route 53, Lisle, 630-719-2400, 630-968-0074 or www.mortonarb.org. An outdoor 1,700-acre museum with collections of several thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and other plants from around the world. Open daily. Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset through November. Admission: $12 adults ($8 on Wednesdays), $11 seniors ($7 on Wednesdays), $9 ($6 on Wednesdays) children ages 2-17, free for children younger than 2 and members.
NAPER SETTLEMENT, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, 630-420-6010 or www.napersettlement.org. A 19th century living history museum. The 13-acre village has 30 historic structures, including a Victorian mansion, homes, businesses, a log house, fort, chapel and one-room schoolhouse. Summer hours April through October: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children ages 4-17, free for members. Schedule: 8 to 11 a.m. April 21, Blacksmithing 101 class ($150 fee includes materials); 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21 and 1 to 4 p.m. April 22, Earth Day Celebration.
TINKER SWISS COTTAGE MUSEUM & GARDENS, 411 Kent St., Rockford, 815-964-2424 or www.tinkercottage.org. Administrative hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. General admission tours of the Cottage will be offered at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission: $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children ages 6-17, free for children 5 and younger.
VOLO AUTO MUSEUM, 27582 W. Volo Village Road, near intersection of Route 120 & Route 12, Volo, 815-385-3644 or www.volocars.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Admission: $11.95 adults, $9.95 seniors, veterans and active military personnel, $5.95 children ages 5-12, fee for children younger than 5. Group rates. American Classic Shop offers unique auto-related books, clothing, toys and gifts, popcorn and candy. Free parking. Car museum includes more than 300 vintage collector and Hollywood cars.
ADLER PLANETARIUM, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, 312-922-7827 or www.adlerplanetarium.org. Museum of astronomy and space exploration featuring astronomer gallery talks, exhibitions, astronomy artifacts, sky shows and more. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. General admission (exhibits only): $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children ages 3-11. Definiti Space Theater shows and 3D Universe Theater shows are $10 each in addition to general admission. Adler Pass (includes admission, two shows and Atwood Experience): $28 adults, $22 children 3-11.
CHICAGO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM, 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, 312-527-1000 or www.ChiChildrensMuseum.org. Interactive exhibits for children. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. Admission: $12 adults and children, $11 seniors, free for members and children younger than age 1. Permanent exhibitions: Dinosaur Expedition; The Inventing Lab; WaterWays; Allstate Foundation presents Play it Safe; Kovler Family Schooner; Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows for PlayMaze; Treehouse Trails, Artabounds Studio and Gallery; Kids on the Fly (located at O’Hare International Airport). Target Free First Sundays (free museum admission all day for ages 15 and younger). Kraft Free Family Night 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday evenings (free admission for everyone).
CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM, Clark Street and North Avenue, 312-642-4600 or www.chicagohistory.org. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $14 adults, $12 seniors and students with ID, free for children 12 and younger. Permanent exhibitions are Chicago Crossroads of America, Facing Freedom, The Dioramas, Treasures, and Sensing Chicago.
THE FIELD MUSEUM, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, 312-922-9410 or www.fieldmuseum.org. Permanent exhibits are What is an Animal? Africa; Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex; Inside Ancient Egypt; Nature Walk; Underground Adventure; Pawnee Earth Lodge; Pacific Spirits; Evolving Planet; The Ancient Americas; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice DNA Discovery Center and many others. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (check for extended holiday hours and closings). General admission: $15 for adults; $12 seniors and students with ID; $10 children ages 3-11 (Gold Pass and Platinum Pass ticket options available). Schedule: through April 22, Natural Wonders: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel; through April 22, Opening the Vaults: Mummies; through May 13, Blood/Stones: Burmese Rubies; through Sept. 3, Genghis Khan.
GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, 312-746-5100 or www.garfield-conservatory.org. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Wednesdays until 8 p.m. Free admission.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660 or www.mcachicago.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: $12 adults, $7 students and seniors, free for children 12 and younger, members of the military and museum members. Admission is free all day on Tuesdays year round.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave., 312-663-5554 or www.mocp.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, 773-684-1414; 800-GO-TO-MSI or www.msichicago.org. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Open until 5:30 p.m. on select dates (visit website for information). General admission: $15 adults, $14 seniors, $10 children ages 3-11, free for children younger than 3. Other packages available. Permanent exhibits: Petroleum Planet; The Great Train Story; Toymaker 3000; U-505 Submarine; Earth Revealed; Fast Forward; Science Storms and more. Schedule: through Sept. 3, MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition.
NATIONAL HELLENIC MUSEUM, 333 S. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-655-1234 or www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org. The only major museum in the U.S. dedicated to the Greek journey, the Museum explores the story of Greek history, culture and arts from ancient times to today. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday evenings. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $7 children ages 3-12, free for children younger than 3 and members.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, 312-738-1503 or www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. Permanent exhibition: Mexicanland: Our Past is Present. Free admission. Performance festivals are ticketed.
PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, 773-755-5100 or www.naturemuseum.org. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $9 adults, $7 seniors and college students with ID, $6 children ages 3-12, free for children younger than 3 and Illinois residents on Thursdays. Featuring permanent exhibits such as Birds of Chicago, Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, Mysteries of the Marsh, Extreme Green House, Hands-on Habitat, Nature’s Lunch Box, as well as science and nature workshops and a variety of ongoing programs. Environmental View Film Series 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. select Thursdays and Saturdays.
RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS MUSEUM, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago, 312-932-8665 or www.driehausmuseum.org. Housed in the historic Samuel Mayo Nickerson Mansion, built from 1879 to 1883, the museum is a showcase for late 19th and early 20th century art and design. The Marble Palace, as the house became known, was one of the grandest residential buildings of the 19th century Chicago. Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday for tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Admission: $20 adults, $12.50 seniors, $10 students with valid ID and children ages 10-17. Due to the fragile nature of the historic interiors, children younger than age 9 are not admitted and those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
SHEDD AQUARIUM, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, 312-939-2438 or www.sheddaquarium.org. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays until Memorial Day. Spring break extended hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 31 through April 1 and April 7-15. Extended hours: March 29-30 and April 2-6 when Shedd stays open until 8 p.m. Featuring Caribbean Reef, Wild Reef, Fantasea, Amazon Rising, Oceanarium exhibits, Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Polar Play Zone, Penguin and Beluga Encounters, 4-D Theater and more. General Admission: $8 adults, $6 children. Shedd Pass: $28.95 adults, $19.95 children ages 3-11. Visit the website for other admission options. Schedule: through May 28, “Jellies,” a new limited time special exhibit showcasing pulsing, translucent sea jellies and their mystifying natural history.
SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM CENTER, 5211 N. Clark, Chicago, 773-728-8111 or www.samac.org. E-mail: email@example.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission: $4 adults, $3 seniors, students and children, free for children younger than 1 year, $10 families. Free admission second Tuesday of every month.
UKRAINIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM, 2249 W. Superior St., Chicago, 312-421-8020 or www.ukrainiannationalmuseum.org. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, by appointment only Monday through Wednesday. Suggested donation amount for visiting the museum is $5.00.