Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an unexpected respite from city life found just blocks from Lake Shore Drive, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. The Chicago Academy of Sciences opened the 6.35 acre facility in 1999, bringing an entirely new nature experience to the city of Chicago. With a mission of inspiring Chicagoans to learn about and care for nature and our environment, the museum is host to a slew of permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as numerous hands-on activities for children. Neighboring the Lincoln Park Zoo, the museum sits on North Pond, taking advantage of the natural wildlife found in the North side of the city.
True to its mission, the Nature Museum building and grounds are a model of eco-friendly, energy-efficient technology in action, containing 17,000 square-feet of green roofs. The Museum is also one of 16 drop-off centers for recycling in Chicago. Residents can bring their recyclables 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
The highlight for many visitors is the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, which houses more than 75 species of butterflies. Over 1,000 of these beautiful winged creatures inhabit a 2,700 square-foot greenhouse adorned with ponds, flowers, tropical plants, and birds. A stroll through this sanctuary is a must on your visit to-do list.
The Nature Museum makes demonstrating the natural landscapes and animals found in the Midwest region a priority. On the Wilderness Walk, visitors have the chance to stroll through three unique environments: prairie, savanna, and dune, each perfectly replicated down to the lighting and animals present. The Birds of Chicago exhibition holds 115 native birds, with everything from the Midwest turkey to the common blue jay to the endangered prairie chicken. Chicago’s waterways are also a vital part of Chicago’s ecosystem, and the River Works exhibit teaches visitors about how humans, animals and plant life rely on these waterways.
Of course, what would a museum be without a gift shop and café? Stop by for a snack and a few collectibles, like butterfly nets and eco-friendly products. But in case the cafe doesn’t sooth your hunger pangs, you’re in luck: the Nature Museum is home to Chicago’s only year-round farmers’ market. Every other Saturday the market promotes sustainable and local farming while offering some of the best seasonal produce, meats, poultry, cheeses, and baked goods.
The facility also boasts five beautiful event spaces for social and corporate events of all sizes. For more information, click here.
Location: 2430 N. Cannon Drive
Bus: #76, #151, #156
Trolley: Trolleys transport visitors to and from the Nature Museum stop at the corner of Fullerton and Stockton. The trolleys run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through September 7.
Driving: Take Lake Shore Drive and exit at Fullerton, Avenue. Free street parking is available on Cannon Drive.
For more information and in-depth directions, click here.
Admission Hours & Prices
Monday – Friday: 9am – 4:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Open every day except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Students and Seniors: $7
Children (3-12): $6
Children under 3: Free