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 to the Nature Museum. Below is a list of our current exhibits.
Weather to Climate: Our Changing World
Weather to Climate presents the fundamentals of weather and climate, and explains how the two phenomena are connected through fun interactives and engaging content.
Without a Trace
Without a Trace aims to provide a space for healing and reflection for everyone who has been impacted by the consequences of a worldwide health crisis. As we discover ourselves to be deeply fragile in this equilibrium that links us to nature, the images of an empty City of Chicago remind us how precarious our human condition can be.
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 free-flying butterflies (40 species), the Butterfly Haven is the perfect tropical retreat.
Sandra Gottlieb has created a striking series of photographs of the skies and waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by the Modernist painter Milton Avery, Gottlieb visited the seashore each day at sunset during the October 2013 hurricane season. October Waves masterfully captures changing light and shifting tides, inviting viewers to connect to their own memories of the timeless quality of the experience at the edge of the sea.
Pattern in Nature: a Bridge between Art and the Natural World
Pattern in Nature presents a new body of work by Chicago-based artist Katherine Lampert. Inspired by an ammonite fossil found in the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ collection, Lampert’s mixed media work is a study of patterns naturally occurring in nature. Each work originates from a photographic study of a baculites fossil, a genus of cephalopods that went extinct 65 million years ago.
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.
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 birds, skunks, coyotes and more.
Istock Family Look-in Lab
Watch as Museum scientists and volunteers care for and study the animals that comprise the Museum’s Living Collection.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.