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close-up of butterfly emerging from chrysalis

From live native animals to nature-inspired art, from toddler-friendly play spaces to dozens of exotic butterfly species, our exhibits are sure to entertain, educate, and excite guests of all ages.

All exhibits are included with admission.

Scroll down for a list of temporary and permanent exhibits currently on display.

  • Child in exhibit

    Dora and Diego — Let's Explore!

    Beloved characters Dora and Diego from Nickelodeon’s hit series Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, along with their friends Boots, Map, Backpack, Isa, Tico, and of course Swiper, are now in their own exhibit for your family to explore, learn, and play along.

    Closes January 27

    Learn More

  • Catch of the Day (1988), Thomas D. Mangelsen

    Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life in the Wild

    A Life in the Wild showcases 40 of Mangelsen’s signature, award-winning photographs of wildlife and landscape on all seven continents. Every image was captured under natural conditions and involves no digital manipulation, demonstrating his sensitivity to animal behavior and masterful skill in waiting for the “picture perfect moment” often in the face of hostile environmental conditions.

    Coming Soon

    Learn More

  • Girl admiring butterfly in haven

    Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

    The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven is the Museum's internationally renowned signature 2,700-square-foot greenhouse. Home to more than 1,000 butterflies (40 species), the Haven is the perfect tropical retreat.

    Learn More
  • The Beginnings of All Things are Small, Andrew Young

    All This Land

    For over three decades, Andrew Young has created art that presents nature as a reference point for human aspirations, worldly and spiritual. All This Land uses a little humor, theater, abstraction, and a ton of recovered objects to address a more somber awareness that the Earth’s fragile systems and resources, despite some current beliefs and tendencies, are not inexhaustible.

  • Reveal the True Self by Jeri Love

    The Beauty and Wonder of Trees

    Featuring photography by Jeri Love, The Beauty and Wonder of Trees explores the expansive and expressive nature of our planet’s largest and most important plant.

    Click here to learn more about this project.

  • Ornate Box Turtle

    The Animal House: Endangered Species

    The Animal House is home to seven species that have become so rare within Illinois that many may never get the chance to see them in the wild. Find out how these endangered animals became Nature Museum residents and how scientists are working to protect and raise awareness about them.

  • Chicago Youth Explorer Javier

    Chicago's Youth Explorers

    Discover how students of all ages are exploring the urban nature found all around us in Chicago.

  • Child in Hands-on Habitat

    Hands-on Habitat

    Knee-high naturalists can explore the secret world of animal homes. Adventures include exploring an underground cave, a giant roped spider web and a busy beaver lodge.

  • Parent and child interacting with turtle shell specimen

    Beecher Collections Laboratory

    Named after the legendary former director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, William J. Beecher, this is a place to see scientists engaged in real taxidermy of bison, skunks, coyotes and more.

  • child and mom looking into enclosure

    Istock Family Look-in Lab

    Watch as Museum scientists and volunteers care for and study the animals that comprise the Museum's Living Collection.

  • Child playing in water exhibit


    Splash your way through this exhibit as you discover that the only real lazy rivers are the ones you find at water parks. Rivers are nature's own flood controls and are filled with species of fish, herons, beavers and painted turtles. Interact with RiverWorks by reversing the flow of the river, turn the river into a lake, build your own dam, and even control a water turbine.

  • Child looking into turtle tank

    Mysteries of the Marsh

    Learn about one of the most famous former marshes in the world — Chicago! Explore seven different types of wetland you can find near your home and animals that live there. Did you know that nearly two-thirds of the endangered species in Illinois are found in wetlands?

  • Child in Wilderness Walk diroama

    Wilderness Walk

    So many different environments are found in Chicago. Walk through a recreation of a prairie, savanna and dune, complete with authentic sounds and preserved animals.

  • Birdwalk in afternoon

    Micole Birdwalk

    Look through binoculars to see the variety of birds that surround North Pond. Listen to bird calls at interactive kiosks while enjoying views of Chicago's gorgeous skyline.

  • Woman looking at specimens

    Heritage of the Chicago Academy of Sciences

    Celebrate and be inspired by a snapshot of the Academy's 160-year legacy of scientific research of Chicago and the region. A mount of a porcupine, a Blanding's turtle skeleton and mammal skins are just a few of the samples on display.

  • Children looking at goose behind glass

    Birds of Chicago

    Get up close to the birds you see in your backyard and discover how to identify them by their sounds. More than 115 specimens, including the Midwest turkey, cardinal and endangered Prairie chicken are on display from the Chicago Academy of Sciences Collections. Choose which ones you want to hear by touching the screen on the interactive kiosk.

  • Green House

    Extreme Green House

    See the nature inside your house and the ecology within your walls. Take a tour with the Green family and discover the way the environment connects all of us.

  • Child interacting with food exhibit

    Nature's LunchBox

    At Nature's LunchBox, discover how food and nature are connected. The fascinating life cycle of food  from the farm all the way to the fork  is explained with panel displays and interactive components.

  • Visitors exploring trails

    Nature Trails

    The fun continues outside the Museum walls at our largest permanent exhibition! Nature Trails is a nearly 1/3 mile trail where you'll be inspired by the abundance of nature that surrounds us, even in this urban environment.

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