Group Visits

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From the Deb Lahey Nature Trails outside to more than 30,000 square feet of exhibit space inside, our unique mix of collections engages visitors of all ages for the perfect group visit experience!

Time of Year
All Year
At The Museum
Pre-K to 12th

Groups of 10 or more people are required to register in advance when visiting the Nature Museum. Groups receive discounted admission to the museum and the opportunity to add on visit enhancements and utilize planning tools when registering at least two weeks in advance.

Group Visit Pricing

Group visit prices apply to groups of 10 or more registering in advance and visiting any day of the week, including the Nature Museum’s Free Illinois Resident Days.

  • $8 per student or senior
  • $12 per adult
  • Free for children under 3


Register for one of these inquiry-based and interactive programs to enhance a field trip experience and enrich learning outside of school. Titles and descriptions of available workshops are listed below. Workshops are 45 minutes and cost $175/workshop unless otherwise noted.

Outdoor workshops (designated by 🍂) are available from May 1 through October 31. Please note that outdoor workshops will be taught rain or shine (excluding dangerous weather conditions). Please make sure that you and your students are dressed appropriately and prepared to spend 45 minutes outdoors. Please note: Indoor workshops are not available June 15 – August 15. You may only register for outdoor workshops during this time.

*Programs are modified appropriately for the grade level indicated on the Field Trip Request Form.

Pre-K & K


Awaken your senses and embark on an outdoor adventure! Join a Nature Museum Educator on an exploration of the Museum grounds. Students will discover the sights, sounds, feels, and smells of nature in the city!



Observe live insects from the Nature Museum’s collections! Students will learn more about the ways that these animals move, eat, and protect themselves from danger. Each student will have the opportunity to compare and contrast several different live insects.



Create a seed pocket to take back to your school! Students develop an appreciation for local nature as they learn about planting seeds through interactive activities that highlight how native plants grow and how they are important to animals, including humans.


Grades 1, 2 & 3


Go outside and explore prairie, pond, and wooded habitats on the Nature Museum grounds! Students will practice making careful observations as they examine plants and animals in various outdoors areas. Students will compare and contrast the different elements of each habitat including the plants and animals that live in each.



Meet two live animals from the Nature Museum’s collections! Students will observe the animals’ features and movements and use critical thinking skills to compare and contrast the animals’ bodies, behaviors, and habitats.



Watch a classmate transform into a butterfly! Students will become butterfly scientists and learn about the body parts and life cycle of butterflies. They will also create their own butterfly life cycle models to take home and use to teach others what they know.



Find out how seeds travel from one place to another! Students will observe real seeds and do hands-on investigations to compare and contrast the ways that these seeds move.


Grades 4-5


Go outside and observe prairie, wetland, and urban woodland ecosystems! Students will increase their knowledge of Illinois ecosystems by observing living and non-living things on the Nature Museum grounds and by evaluating how the parts of each system interact and work together.



Get an up close look at the red worms that work at the Nature Museum! Students will observe red worm behavior and investigate environmental preferences. Students learn how these worms can recycle food and paper waste and then practice classifying items that can and cannot be fed to red worms.



Observe and compare rare and endangered Midwest butterflies, including metalmarks, checker-spots, and fritillaries! Students will learn about the characteristics of native butterfly habitats and the Nature Museum’s conservation research initiatives. By reviewing basic butterfly biology and exploring the unique needs of local butterflies, students gain an understanding of how people impact Midwestern butterfly populations.


Grades 6-12*

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Compare the biodiversity of different outdoor areas on the Nature Museum grounds! Students use sampling, systematic observation, and data collection techniques to gather information about the plants present in each location. By graphing, analyzing, and comparing data, students will determine species richness and biodiversity in the two areas.


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Get outdoors and investigate various urban ecosystems on the Nature Museum’s Nature Trails! Students will observe and record the diversity of living things in two of Illinois’ most dominant natural environments. By considering the changes in these natural areas over time, students will evaluate the roles humans play as a part of these prairie and lawn ecosystems.


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Examine various bee specimens from the Nature Museum’s collection! Students will analyze data to determine trends in bee populations and the impact on local ecosystems, as well as obtain information on current conservation efforts.


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Find out what the invertebrates found in water really say about the water’s quality! Students learn about water quality indicators, tolerant and intolerant species, and citizen science initiatives while identifying preserved macroinvertebrates. Students then use their findings to analyze the health of a water sample.


Exclusive Butterfly Release

Make your group visit unforgettable by releasing a butterfly with an exclusive butterfly release. For $15 per group, your group will be able to watch as a butterfly that has just emerged from its chrysalis is released into the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven for its first flight!

Request a Group Visit

Reserve your space today! Click the button below to begin filling out the Scout Workshop Request Form. Please only submit one request per field trip. If you are planning multiple field trips–either on more than one day or a morning and afternoon visit–you must fill out a separate request for each. Before requesting a visit, please click here to review the Payment & Cancellation Policies.

After you’ve submitted a request form, we will process your request within two weeks. Once we’ve booked your visit, we will send you a confirmation packet via email. Your field trip is not confirmed until you’ve received this email. After two weeks, if you have not received an email please email to check on the status of your request.

Questions? Email us at

Planning Resources

Keep reading for tools, tips, and protocols to help you plan and prepare for your Nature Museum field trip.

Use our Field Trip Guide to help prepare your students and create a focused field trip experience. This guide is full of tips and tricks to make the most out of your visit to the Nature Museum. It also includes ideas for activities before your visit, graphic organizers to use on your trip, and suggestions for post-visit activities to connect the field trip back to the learning in the classroom.

When your bus arrives, it will pull into the turn-around directly in front of the museum. One of our staff members will greet your bus and provide the museum rules to your group, while the lead teacher from each school enters the museum to check in and receive your group’s tour cards.

In order to ensure that our visitors have the opportunity to explore the museum fully, school groups will be divided by class into lettered groups (A, B, C, etc.). We will provide one tour card to the leader of each lettered group. These custom tour cards provide an outline for your trip and also include specific times and locations for lunches and workshops. Click here for a sample tour card.

Your classes will then be led off the bus and organized into letter groups by class, each with their own tour card. Once organized, your group will be moved inside to drop off lunches and coats. If you have requested a lunch space, each lettered group’s lunch time and location will appear on their tour card. We ask that you bring lunches in small, recyclable brown paper bags. We will bring them to the lunchroom at your assigned lunch time. Please do not call ahead for lunch times.

Once those have been dropped off, a staff member will escort you to your first exhibit or workshop, and your museum exploration will begin!

To see our full list of accessibility resources and amenities, click here.

Buy Your Tickets Today

Experience nature and science up close with a trip to the Nature Museum.

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