Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago Kids will love the new hands-on contemporary art installation at the Art Institute of Chicago. It runs through March 15, 2015.

Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago
Kids will love the new hands-on contemporary art installation at the Art Institute of Chicago. It runs through March 15, 2015.

You can’t touch the famous Vincent van Gogh or Henri Matisse masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago.

But families can literally walk through the new contemporary installation by renowned abstract artist Jesús Rafael Soto.

Known for his “penetrable” art pieces (artsy types call them “installations,”), Soto’s luminous environmental sculptures always require audience participation. “Pénétrable de Chicago” is a new installation at the Art Institute, and will be up until March 15, 2015, in Gallery 292 of the Modern Wing. It’s included in the museum’s ticket price (free for kids under the age of 14, $20-24 for adults).

The installation has literally thousands of transparent filaments hanging from the ceiling in a rectangular formation, making it eye-catching for kids and fun to walk through. The nylon tubes shimmer and shift, and will make you think of Soto’s quote about the piece:  “We are in the world like fish in water.”

The installation is one of many family-friendly features at the Art Institute, a world-class art museum in downtown Chicago and one of the best places in the city for families to visit.

Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com Masterpieces like George Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" can be seen on a special kid-friendly audio tour at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com
Masterpieces like George Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” can be seen on a special kid-friendly audio tour at the Art Institute of Chicago.

There’s a special audio tour designed for ages 5-10 called the Lions Trail Family Tour. It is a good, kid-friendly way to walk through the museum and learn about 32 of its most famous pieces.

The Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery is filled with sculptures children can touch, and there are always some type of special art activity program going on. Weather permitting, there’s an outdoor sculpture park area where kids can climb around.

My kids (ages 9 and 11) love the Thorne Miniature Rooms, little windows that peek into extensively decorated rooms.

The Art Institute of Chicago is close to Navy Pier, “The Bean,” Buckingham Fountain, the lakefront and other downtown Chicago attractions.

For more information on visiting the Art Institute of Chicago with kids, go to www.artic.edu/visit/visiting-your-family

Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com The famous lions stand in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com
The famous lions stand in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.