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Free days at Chicago museums in 2010

Yesterday I took my kids to Adler Planetarium. It was a week day and normally I would be at work, however being unemployed has its benefits and so I took advantage of one of the many free admission days offered by the planetarium.

Below is the 2010 free days schedule for the major Chicago museums. Since these dates can change over time, I strongly suggest you to use the links at the end of each section to verify them before you actually go. Enjoy!

Shedd Aquarium

Jan. 4, 5, 11,12, 16–21, 25, 26
Feb. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15–19, 22, 23
June 14–18
Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
Nov. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30

More info at this page

The Art Institute of Chicago

Admission is free every Thursday from 5pm till 8pm

More info at this page

Museum of Science and Industry

Jan. 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29
Feb. 8, 14
Mar. 18
Apr. 19-23
May 3
June 7-11
Aug. 30
Sept. 7-14, 20, 21, 27, 28
Oct. 4-6
Nov. 11
Dec. 6

More info at this page

Museum of Contemporary Art

Admission is free every Tuesdays from 10am till 8pm

More info at this page

Adler Planetarium

Jan. 5, 11-15, 19, 26
Feb. 2, 8-12, 16, 23
Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23
Apr. 20, 27
May 4, 11, 12, 18, 25
June 7-11
Sept. 7, 13-17, 21, 28
Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Dec. 7, 14, 21

More info at this page

Field Museum

Jan. 11, 13, 14, 19, 20, 26, 27
Feb. 2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 23, 24
Mar. 2, 3, 8
Apr. 12
May. 10
Jun. 2, 3, 14
Jul. 12
Aug. 9, 24
Sept. 13, 15, 16, 21, 22
Oct. 5, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, 19, 20
Nov. 2, 3, 10, 16, 17, 30
Dec. 1, 7, 8, 13, 15, 16

More info at this page

Groupon – harnessing web for group discounts

groupon-logoOne year old Chicago based startup is making headlines today. Groupon, a website that delivers sweet random deals to your email box each day has just raised $30 mil from Accel Partners, the venture capital firm behind Facebook and many other successful online businesses.

The idea is very simple - the Groupon team finds businesses willing to offer a deal if a certain number of people sign up and then features these deals one at a time on their website. If enough members buy in - everyone gets the deal, if not - no one gets it. The deals are mostly local service oriented discounts, e.g restaurants, museums, etc. The company started in Chicago but now offers similar service in 45 more cities around the US.

Groupon was founded by Andrew Mason of ThePoint. If you are familiar with the group action site you can quickly see the similarity between the two. ThePoint harnesses the powers of masses for social cause, Groupon does it to please the consumer in us. The difference? Groupon is now a profitable business and growing fast, ThePoint on the other hand… you can see it for yourself. This month monthly stats are 1.3 mil and 50K for the two domains (according to Compete).

The notion of using the buying power of masses is not new. A couple US companies have attempted to deliver, MobShop and Mercata (co-foundered by Paul Allen). Both shut the doors back in 2001. Later, in 2006, The Christian Monitor wrote about the trend picking up again, now in China. I wonder what is different this time.

The overall concept of “one deal a day” is somewhat similar to what Woot is doing with consumer products except that Woot doesn’t have any “must buy minimum” conditions - they themselves deal with the risk of underselling an unpopular product. What would it take for them to spin off another sub-domain to their Woot empire and start offering conditional group discounts on consumer products? My guess is that the limit doesn’t only add a safe cushion to the business, it also creates a certain appeal - “it is so hot, you can only get it if…”! I am giving the Woot folks a month. :-)

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Free admission days at Chicago museums

It is new year and Chicago museums have announced new schedule for free admission days in 2008. Be sure to take advantage of these savings.

Admittedly many of these dates fall on weekdays and might not work for you, but the least you could do is check against the list below in case you have planned a trip to the city anyways.

One of the notable changes compared to the last year is that the Field Museum is open for free the entire month of February!

Shedd Aquarium

On discount days, general admission is free, and admission to both the Oceanarium and Wild Reef is available for an additional fee. The discount day schedule for 2008 is:

January discount week (Jan. 12-18)
January, Mondays and Tuesdays (Jan. 21, 22, 28, 29)
February, Mondays and Tuesdays (Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12, 25, 26)
February discount week (Feb. 18-22)
June discount week (June 15-20)
September, Mondays and Tuesdays (Sept. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30)
October discount week (Oct. 6-9)
October, Mondays and Tuesdays (Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28)
November, Mondays and Tuesdays (Nov. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25)

Source: Shedd Aquarium website

Museum of Science and Industry

General admission will be free on the following dates:

January 12 through 31
February 29
June 17 through 22
September 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
October 31
November 27 (Thanksgiving)
December 24 (Christmas Eve), 31 (New Year’s Eve)

General admission does not include parking or entrance to Omnimax® and 3-D Theaters, U-505 on-board tour and CSI: The Experience

Source: Museum of Science and Industry website

Adler Planetarium

Museum admission is free on these days. An additional fee for shows applies.

Jan Discount Week
Jan Mon & Tue
Feb Discount Week
Feb Mon & Tue
June Discount Week
Sept Mon & Tues
Oct Discount Week
Oct Mon & Tues
Nov Mon & Tues
Jan 12-18
Jan 21, 22, 28, and 29
Feb 18-22
Feb 4, 5, 11, 12, 25 & 26
June 15-20
Sept 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30
Oct 6-9
Oct 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, & 28
Nov 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 & 25

Source Adler Planetarium website

Field Museum

The Field Museum offers 52 days a year when admission is discounted for all visitors.

Discount Weeks:

September 21st – 26th
October 26th – 31st

FREE February
We’re opening our doors for FREE the entire month of February!

Other FREE Days are on the second Monday of every month

January 14th
March 10th
April 14th
May 12th
June 9th
July 14th
August 11th
September 8th
October 13th
November 10th
December 8th

Source: Field Museum website

Free Tickets to 2008 Chicago Auto Show

I just love these auto shows! I try to go to every other one to keep up to date with the latest car models. The regular price for these tickets is $10 but some local dealerships will give away a limited quantity to visitors for free. Last time I got my tickets from Mazda, this time it is going to be Chevrolet.

If you plan a trip to the auto show and have one of these participating dealerships near you, fill out this form, print the receipt, bring it to the Chevrolet dealership and save ten bucks. :-)

Free Tickets to 2008 Chicago Auto Show

Source: discussion thread at FatWallet forums (via WiredDeals)

Free admission days at Chicago museums

Update: click here to go to the 2008 schedule

One of the main rules of bargain hunting is not to pay for goods or services more than you have to. More than to anything this applies to visiting museums.

As it is true with many state sponsored institutions, museums in the US often provide ways for general public to visit them for free or at a deep discount. This helps low income folks enjoy the same benefits as others.

Admittedly many of these dates fall on weekdays and might not work for you, but the least you could do is check against the list below in case you have planned a trip to the city anyways.

Now, to make things easier for you, I have entered all these dates into a Google Calendar which I embedded into this post below. Also, you can access the calendar by clicking here, or use this link to import the dates into any other calendar that understands iCalendar format.

Shedd Aquarium

On discount days, general admission is free, and admission to both the Oceanarium and Wild Reef is available for an additional fee. The discount day schedule for 2007 is:

January discount week (Jan. 13-19)
January, Mondays and Tuesdays (Jan. 9, 22, 23, 29, 30)
February, Mondays and Tuesdays (Feb. 5, 6, 12, 13, 26, 27)
February discount week (Feb. 19-23)
June Discount Week (June 17-21)
September, last three Mondays (Sept. 10, 17, 24)
October, Mondays and Tuesdays (Oct. 1, 2, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30)
October discount week (Oct. 8-12)
November, Mondays and Tuesdays (Nov. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27)

Source: Shedd Aquarium website

Museum of Science and Industry

General admission will be free on the following dates:

January 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30
February 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27
June 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
September 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25
October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30
November 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 22
December 24

General admission does not include parking or entrance to Omnimax® and 3-D Theaters, U-505 on-board tour and CSI: The Experience

Source: Museum of Science and Industry website

Adler Planetarium

Museum admission is free on these days. An additional fee for shows applies.

Jan Discount Week
Jan Mon & Tue
Feb Discount Week
Feb Mon & Tue
June Discount Week
Sept Mon
Oct Discount Week
Oct Mon & Tues
Nov Mon & Tues
Jan 13-19
Jan 22, 23, 29, and 30
Feb 19-23
Feb 5, 6, 12, 13, 26 & 27
June 17-22
Sept 10, 17 & 24
Oct 8-12
1, 2, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30
Nov 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 & 27

Source Adler Planetarium website

Field Museum

The Field Museum offers 52 days a year when admission is discounted for all visitors.

Discount Weeks:

January 13-19
February 19-23
June 17-22
October 8-12

Other Discount Days are on the following Mondays and Tuesdays:

January 22, 23, 29 and 30
February 5, 6, 12, 13, 26 and 27
September 10, 17, and 24
October 1, 2, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30
November 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27.

Source: Field Museum website




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