Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is a good place. More on the south side ; more south than even Cellular Field (White Sox Park). Last time I was there was 2003 ; last time before that was 1963. It's been awhile.
U-505 is awesome -- tour a German U-boat captured by the U.S. Navy during WWII. Jollyball is as good as the old Sesame Street 1-2-3-4-5 etc pinball machine and never gets old. I like the hands-on gear mechanisms in one of the stairwells. Plenty of other things to see, well worth a visit.
There are a few things you'll still have to pay for. The Omnimax theater has a good Tour de France show (a few years old), and the Great Lakes show is less enviro-preachy than most recent offerings. You can buy movie tickets online. The White House model is ok if you're into doll houses, but the free fairy castle would have been enough for a Philistine like me.
The new You! exhibit is a whole lot of gloss and glitter without much substance, but there are some Body Works type things on display if you've always wondered what those were about.
What library? Was planning a trip to Chicago this March/April. A few bucks saved is a few bucks I can spend on something else!
You can get a pass at any branch of the Chicago Public Library as long as you have a library card. I don't think it's an option if you are not a resident. As others have posted, it can be hard to get the pass as they are often checked out and are limited in number at each branch.
It was free when I was kid, miss that. Been trying to get up there and take my kids so they can get the experience, it's a fantastic museum. I travel quite a bit for my job and have been able to see other museums around the world and very few compare.
I was there last year and i saw the christmas trees from around the world display and the U505 and the coal mine. I got there early enough to park for free in the parking lot behind it but you might be better off with mass transit if you live around there.
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