Current COVID Vaccination Requirements for Chicago’s Most Popular Museums, Attractions & Event Spaces

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We are most definitely struggling to keep up with COVID mandates, and we thought perhaps you are, too. New rules in Cook County are stretching out to surrounding suburbs, but only in some instances, making it difficult to know who is requiring what in terms of proof of vaccination. Part OCD-level desire to see data organized on one page and also driven by pure curiosity, we’ve checked with a few of our favorite destinations to help guide your plans. As we come across new information, we’ll keep coming back to update and keep you informed as much as possible.

Summarization of Cook County Mandate

As of Jan. 3, the Cook County Department of Public Health mandated all indoor establishments where food or drink are served for on-premise consumption, and health and fitness centers, are required to verify the COVID vaccination status of guests. Everyone ages 5 & up must be fully vaccinated. Those ages 16 & up must also provide photo identification. 

It's important to note that some restaurants, museums and entertainment venues outside of Cook County are also adopting this policy. So, regardless of what county you're headed to for family meals and entertainment, please check their current policies. Here is a link to view suburbs that fall within the Cook County boundaries. 

A good rule of thumb is to have vaccination cards handy for all family members who are eligible and have received the vaccine. Digital photos and copies of the cards work if you want to keep your original safe at home. 

photo: Museum of Illusions

Masks Required; No Proof of Vaccination or Testing

KidsWork Children's Museum — Local parents and educators founded KidsWork because they wanted a safe and fun place for kids to play and learn. What they’ve found, is the community as a whole benefits. Kids can roam around the museum’s two floors, discovering science, art and movement exhibits. 11 S. White St., Frankfort; Online: kidsworkchildrensmuseum.org

Museum of Illusions — Chicago's newest museum is an absolute delight for kids. You'll find more than 80 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions and immersive rooms designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. 25 E. Washington St., Loop; Online: moichicago.com

WNDR Museum — This ever-evolving, immersive art and technology experience features one-of-a-kind installations from artists, collectives and studios locally and globally that prioritize joy, curiosity and creativity. 1130 W. Monroe, West Loop; Online: wndrmuseum.com

Skydeck Chicago — Located 103 stories atop world-famous Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago is the perfect destination for a family field trip. Their shiny-new interactive museum celebrates the unique personality, history, neighborhoods and sites of Chicago. 233 S. Wacker Dr., Loop; Online: theskydeck.com

photo: Shedd Aquarium

Proof of Vaccination for Ages 5 & Up, Accompanying Photo ID for Ages 16 & Up; Masks Required

360 CHICAGO — Shoot 94-floors high at the Hancock Building and lean (squeal and maybe cry a little) 30-degrees over the city with 360 CHICAGO and TILT. 875 N. Michigan Ave., Mag Mile; Online: 360chicago.com

Allstate Arena — Home ice for the Chicago Wolves and traveling shows, including Disney On Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party in Jan. & Feb., JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. the Tour,  Feb. 10. and Monster Jam, Feb. 25-27. 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont; Online: rosemont.com/allstate

Art Institute of Chicago — ARTIC has way more than Renoir, Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh paintings to pique a mini art aficionado’s interest. Don’t be deterred by the quiet library-like atmosphere, they have kid-appropriate spaces that encourage little ones to discover, explore and, believe it or not, make some rowdy noise. 111 S. Michigan Ave., Grant Park; Online: artic.edu

Broadway in Chicago — Shows in production are Frozen, The Play That Goes Wrong, Oklahoma!, Teatro ZinZanni, with Hairspray, Come From Away, The Simon & Garfunkel Story coming soon. Concessions are not currently available, so be sure to eat and drink before you attend. Online: broadwayinchicago.com

Chicago Children's Museum Play and learning are bridged together at this museum where kids can excavate dino bones, design and build a kid-sized skyscraper, explore a mini town and tackle Cloud Buster, a 37-foot-tall dreamscape that celebrates adventure. 500 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier; Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

Chicago History Museum — Learn about how blues music came to Chicago, take a deeper look into Dr. King's work within the Civil Rights movement, get a glimpse of Chicago during Lincoln's era and use your five senses to explore Chicago in Sensing in Chicago1601 N. Clark St.; Online: chicagohistory.org

DuPage Children's Museum — The museum's 20,000-square-feet of play space will keep little kids and their imaginations busy for hours. There are designated spaces for babies and toddlers and older kids can run around and get their sillies out. 301 N. Washington St., Naperville; Online: dupagechildrens.org

Exploritorium — This hidden-gem museum delights kids with hands-on exhibits about light, water, wind and more. Come wearing your thinking cap—or just romp around. Attractions include a giant “Lite Brite” pegboard, musical instruments, and climbing tubes and tunnels that stretch two-and-a-half stories. 4701 Oakton St., Skokie; Online; skokieparks.org/exploritorium

Field Museum — See the largest dino that ever lived, Maximo the Titanosaur and, the world's most famous T. Rex, Sue in her private digs. New exhibit Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep opens Feb. 25. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.; Online: fieldmuseum.org

Kohl Children's Museum — Ages 8 & under will love exploring the hands-on exhibits that instill a love of learning through music, art, water play and nature. New activities and exhibits are featured on the regular, which means that there is always something fresh and fun. 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview; Online: kohlchildrensmuseum.org

Museum of Contemporary Art — One of the largest museums in the world dedicated to contemporary art that not only hosts thought-provoking exhibits, but does a great job with the family programming with workshops and special sensory-friendly sessions. 220 E. Chicago Ave., Streeterville; Online: mcachicago.org

Museum of Science & Industry — This museum has it all: flight and ride simulators, submarine, coal mine, chick hatchery, mirror maze, storms created by science, model ships and railroads, farming equipment, pinball machines and classic metal toys, a whispering gallery and a Pioneer Zephyr. 5700 S. DuSable Dr., Hyde Park; Online: msichicago.org

Navy Pier — The pier's iconic Centennial Wheel, gorgeous lakefront views and creative activities for families make this the top leisure destination in the Midwest. 600 E. Grand Ave., Streeterville; Online: navypier.org

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum — Children are connected to nature and science through the museum's hands-on exhibits and educational programming. A highlight is the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven where you can watch 40 species of the delicate creatures flutter about a greenhouse. 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Lincoln Park; Online: naturemuseum.org

Shedd Aquarium — Meet beluga whales and bluegills, rockhopper penguins and rockfish, alligators and an alligator snapping turtle and much more as you explore the world's oceans, lakes, rivers and reefs. 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.; Online: sheddaquarium.org

United Center — Home to Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks and a major venue for concerts and traveling shows. 1901 W. Madison St., Near West Side; Online: unitedcenter.com

No Proof of Vaccination Required, Mask While Indoors

Chicago Botanic Garden — This North Shore destination is 26 gardens in one—and each has a different feel and vibrancy of colors depending on the time of year. Stroll the 385 acres and pause at the most photogenic sites. 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe; Online: chicagobotanic.org

Morton Arboretum - The Arboretum is currently hosting an outdoor exhibit, Human + Nature, that includes 5 massive sculptures that bring attention to the deep connections between humans and nature. If you go indoors, guests over the age of 5 must be fully vaccinated. 4100 IL. Rte 53, Lisle; Online: mortonarb.org

— Maria Chambers

Featured photo: Museum of Illusions

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