I planned last weekend’s local adventure to the Field Museum knowing we would be entertaining a kid. Mr. Dove’s dad and seven-year-old brother came to visit whilst his step-mom took a well-deserved vacation. The weather called for indoor activities, which is perfect for visiting kid-friendly museums. (And Chicago has a lot of those.) Unfortunately, museums in Chicago are expensive!
Lucky for Illinois residents there are many free days, and the Field Museum had free entry for residents the entire month of February. But this didn’t help the in-laws, since they’re not Illinois residents. So I hopped on the Chicago Public Library’s website and found the Field Museum Kids Pass available at my local library. 20 minutes later and I had the pass in hand. Score!
The passes are good for a week for two adults and two kids. The best part is that they don’t require all the users to be Illinois residents,1 so it works perfectly for hosting out-of-state family – assuming there’s a kid in the mix. And obviously if you live in Chicago and have kids yourself it’s a great way to take advantage of our awesome museums while staying on budget and avoiding the huge crowds that come with free days.
Plus Chicago is not the only city whose libraries check out museum passes. I know Boston libraries also have passes. It’s just one more way libraries are providing free entertainment in addition to books, dvds, music, etc. I think most people know you can get these benefits from the library (the CPL Kids Museum Passes are not exactly a secret). But too many of us, myself included, forget how easy it is. Oh, I have to go to the library to pick this up? Wait, I need to find my login info, place a hold, and then wait a few weeks?? How about I one-click an instant download instead?
Gah! I get something from the library and think wow that was really easy. I mean come on, my library is open until 9pm and a ten minute walk away! Yet the next time I’m looking at a movie, book, or whatever I forget this and start to consider paying for it. Which is especially ridiculous considering all the e-books available from the library now.2 And waiting a few weeks for the most popular items isn’t really that hard. Half the time I get notices for items I forgot I had placed holds on.
I almost didn’t check to see if a museum pass was available, thinking it probably wasn’t or would be too much a hassle to get. I’m glad I ignored my inner laziness. The kiddo loved the museum and we ended up going both Saturday and Sunday. A 20 minute round trip walk and 2 minutes in the library saved us $75! (And we saved $160 by combining the pass with free resident days!!)
- You have to be a resident to get a library card and you need a library card to check out the museum pass. ↩
- I also use BookBub to get free ebooks. Everyday I get a list of books in the categories I like that are $3 or less on Amazon, and usually at least one book on the list is free. I only “buy” the free books. ↩