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School Field Trips


Children outside the Nature Museum

As Chicago's oldest museum, we know a thing or two about science education!

Our staff members are experts at developing education programs and exhibitions that stimulate and excite young minds. From interpretative nature trails outside the Museum and around North Pond, to more than 30,000 square feet of exhibitions within the Museum, your students will truly be immersed in the nature all around us. In addition to our signature exhibitions, we feature rotating exhibits throughout the year that always keep our museum experience fresh. Book a field trip and you'll see! 

Jump To: Student & Chaperone Pricing | Enhance Your Visit | Arrival & Check In | Request A Field Trip

Student & Chaperone Pricing

(Mid-August through mid-June, Monday-Friday, on days school is in session.)

Illinois schools (K-12), Preschools located within an Illinois elementary school, and Illinois Head Start groups receive free student field trip admission.

Non-Illinois school groups receive $4 discounted student admission.

Adults, including chaperones and teachers, are allowed free admission based on a 1:5 (grades PK-3) and 1:10 (grades 4-12) adult:student ratio. Please note: We allow a limited number of adults at no cost. Additional adults will be required to pay a discounted group rate of $7. If your group will have extra adults, please email before your trip so that we can work to arrange additional lunch space.

Enhance Your Visit

Focused Field Trips

Want to provide a focused field trip for your students? Choose between four themes to guide your visit. These themes will provide your group with a focus and an activity while traveling through our permanent, temporary, and outdoor exhibits and include pre and post-visit activities for the classroom to prepare your students and reflect on your visit. Groups will be given a custom themed tour card for their self-guided tour at arrival. Choices include Insects & More, Midwest Ecosystems, Conservation, and Collections & Specimens. Start building your focused field trip by checking out our Field Trip Guide.

Add a Field Trip Workshop

Enhance your group’s Nature Museum experience by participating in one of our popular, hands-on workshops during your field trip. Choose from our 15 workshops created for Pre-K through High School groups that use unique museum resources to teach relevant science and nature content. All workshops are taught by Museum Educators and are correlated with the Next Generation Science Standards.


Make your field trip visit unforgettable by releasing a butterfly for its very first flight. For $10 per class, each class will be able to adopt a butterfly that has just emerged from its chrysalis and is ready to be released into the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven!

Field Trip Guide   Focused Field Trips   Field Trip Workshops   Adopt-a-Butterfly

Arrival & Check In

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 lunch room 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!

Request a Field Trip

Reserve your space today! Click one of the buttons below to begin filling out the Field Trip 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

Registration for the 2020-2021 school year is now open.

School Field Trip Request Form    Illinois Head Start Field Trip Request Form 

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

Anything Else?
Please visit our Field Trip FAQs for answers to common questions. If you need further assistance, please email

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