The Field Museum of Natural History

field museum of natural history

The Field Museum of Natural History has one of the best greeters in town: a dinosaur named Sue. That’s right, when you walk through the ornate columns at the museum’s North Entrance, the first person, or creature should I say, that you’ll encounter is none other than a 42-foot T-Rex. The structure will certainly humble you as you imagine Sue swallowing you whole in one bite. Luckily, these days Sue doesn’t have much of an appetite, but she will set the tone for a day of exploring the past at the Field Museum.

The Field Museum was founded during the World Columbian Exposition in 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago in Jackson Park. It was constructed to house the Exposition’s anthropological and biological collections; of which these artifacts still make-up the foundation of the museum’s collection. In 1905, the museum was renamed the Field Museum of Natural History to honor its main benefactor, Marshall Field. In 1921, the museum made a big move to its current location within the Chicago Museum Campus, where it now welcomes millions of visitors every year.

Sue came to the Field Museum in 2000 and she is reason enough to visit the museum. The 67-million-year-old skeleton is a great introduction to dinosaur life before you visit the Evolving Universe exhibit where other dinosaur fossils and skeletons are kept. Fun Fact! The gender of Sue is actually unknown, but was named for the paleontologist, Sue Hendrickson, who discovered it. For those too scarred by Jurassic Park to get into the whole dinosaur thing, the Mammals of Asia and Mammals of Africa exhibits have some fascinating animal specimens on display. Not a fan of large creatures in general? The Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit has 23 mummies on display along with a glimpse into ancient Egyptian life.

Maybe you have always wondered how the Americas formed throughout history to become what they are today. The immense Ancient Americas exhibit details how these continents became inhabited and how diverse societies lived before the influx of Europeans.

The museum is fundamentally an educational institution and has close partnerships with the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago and works with the Department of Education and Exhibits. The space also contains an over 2,000 volume natural history library.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, like the King Tut and Harry Potter exhibits, and even online exhibits that change often. These are popular and tickets are limited, so visit them before they’re gone! Self-guided museum highlight tours are available if you like to wander through the museum at your own pace focusing on your favorites.

So, go check it out. Sue’s waiting…

Basic Info:
Address: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Phone: (312) 922-9410

Getting There:
Bus: #146
Driving: From Lake Shore Drive, exit at 18th Street. Follow Museum Campus Drive around Soldier Field. Cash only parking.

Admission Hours & Prices:

Everyday 9am-4pm
Closed on Christmas Day

All Access Pass Discovery Pass Basic Admission

Adults $28.00 $22.00 $15.00
Children (ages 3-11) $19.00 $15.00 $10.00
Students (with ID) $23.00 $18.00 $12.00
Seniors (65+) $23.00 $18.00 $12.00

Chicago Residents receive $2-4 discounts. Memberships are also available for year-round exploring at a reduced price.


Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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