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Planning Your Visit

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Make a trip to the Art Institute fun for the whole family with these tips for planning your visit and looking at art together.
Little girl interacts with a contemporary piece of art

There are so many ways to visit the museum with children. Get the most out of your experience with these ideas for how to plan your visit and let your imagination run wild. Learn more about admission prices, maps and guides, food, parking, and other key information on the museum’s Visit page.

Plan Ahead
Visit the calendar to see if there are any special events taking place. View the museum floor plan and identify areas of the museum you’d like to visit. Request an accessibility accommodation. If you or someone in your group has sensory sensitivities, consider using our sensory map of the museum as a guide for finding spaces that will likely be quieter and less crowded. When choosing a day to visit, know that there are busy periods (weekends) and quiet times (weekdays, particularly mornings and days early in the week).

Create Your Own Museum Adventure
Prepare for your visit together by designing your own customized museum tour using JourneyMaker, our family interactive. Create your guide on your home computer in advance of your visit.

Keep It Short
Depending on the age of your child, a 45- to 90-minute visit can be plenty of time to enjoy the museum. Select a few artworks to see instead of touring the whole museum. Help your child make new discoveries and explore what excites them.

Take Care of Your Needs
The museum floor plan shows the locations of restrooms, including a family restroom. The museum has an infant care space, located near Gallery 249, and a family restroom next to Gallery 182. Nursing and bottle feeding are always permitted in the museum. While you’re in the galleries, find a bench to rest on for a bit and talk about what you’ve seen so far.

Get Creative
While the Ryan Learning Center’s space for art making is closed, feel free to bring paper and colored pencils to sketch or write in the galleries.

Play Games
Turn looking at works of art into a game of I Spy! Make up a story, use funny voices to bring characters to life, or be creative and invent your own game.

Make It a Hunt
Pick your own theme and challenge your child to find things as you walk through the galleries—something that has a favorite color, something smaller than a hand or bigger than a car, or something that seems like it would smell funny.

Help It Stick
Talk about what you saw together at the end of your visit, and ask everyone what they liked best. Look at pictures from your trip, or view the Collection online to find images of the art you saw. Begin to plan what you’ll see next time.

Come Back for a Program
For more information about this year’s family programs, see Family Programs.

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