Chicago Museum Week kicks off with special programming, admission discounts

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Museum Week returns January 18 - 26 with discounted admission, exclusive offers and special programs. (WLS)

Chicago's world-famous winters can make it difficult to comfortably discover the city, but that doesn't mean the fun has to go into hibernation. In fact, January is an ideal time to experience Chicago's renowned cultural institutions. Museum Week returns January 18 - 26 with discounted admission, exclusive offers and special programs. During the nine-day celebration, Illinois residents will receive either free admission or 10 to 25 percent off full-priced tickets at participating institutions.

Museums In the Park, an association of 12 museums in the Chicago Park District, has unveiled a detailed list of deals and special programming and offers on ChicagoMuseumWeek.com.

This year's exclusive programming:

- Meet real scientists, experience some of the latest visualizations of the Universe's most recent discoveries and tackle daily design challenges at Adler Planetarium

- Free art-making activities for all ages at Artist's Studio at The Art Institute of Chicago

- An exclusive exhibit on the history, science and social experiences of race and racism at the Chicago History Museum

- Special weekend guided tours and a gift basket giveaway at the DuSable Museum of African American History

- A special exhibit on ancient Mediterranean cultures, including a mummy from Egypt and a bronze bathtub from Pompeii, at The Field Museum

- Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open to the public 365 days a year! During Museum Week, enjoy 10% off food, beverage and purchases at Wild Things! Gift Shop.

- See gems of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, including works by Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and the Chicago Imagists

- Meet cutting-edge robots from around the world that can play team soccer and sense and react to facial expressions in "Robot Revolution" at The Museum of Science and Industry

- Explore the advent and development of places and structures within the Mexican-Chicago community at The National Museum of Mexican Art

- Discover the life and work of Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant who served as Superintendent of Humboldt Park and became the "Dean of American landscape architecture" at The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

- View rarely-seen specimens at the Founder's Day: Opening of the Vault and journey to the remote rainforests of New Guinea in Birds of Paradise at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

- Sixteen colorful, larger-than-life sculptures of aquatic animals, crafted entirely from plastic beach trash, in addition to animal chats and encounters at the Shedd Aquarium

New this year is a special Museum Week After Hours Event hosted by Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum. The event, called "Water, Earth and Sky," will give attendees access to experts from all three institutions who will share the inside scoop on their one-of-a-kind work in this Chicago Museum Week celebration. See Shedd's animals after hours and warm up with a decadent hot chocolate bar, cocktails and comfort food. Admission is free for Illinois residents with a valid ID, otherwise tickets are $25.

In addition to the museums that comprise Museums In the Park, six partner institutions will join this year's Chicago Museum Week. From the Bronzeville Children's Museum to the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, Museum Week will offer visitors even more delights and surprises for museum buffs and first-timers alike.

Members of Museums In the Park include: Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, The Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and Industry, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and John G. Shedd Aquarium.

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