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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 looking at wind turbine

    Conservation Quest

    Join the quest to learn about energy – what it is, where it comes from, how we use it and why it’s so important to use it wisely. Explore what you can do at home, in school, and in the community to conserve energy and promote healthy living.

    Learn More

  • Putt putt hole with animal caricatures

    Fore! The Planet

    Explore a tropical rainforest, navigate a waterway, and learn how to make a wildlife refuge in your own backyard—all while playing a game of mini golf in Fore! The Planet. Putt your way through 18 fun, themed holes as you learn about the natural world around us. The more your family learns, the better you’ll play!

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  • 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
  • Creekside, Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen

    Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen

    The rich diversity of the natural world is at the heart of all of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen’s work. With the goal of saying as much as he can about how organisms live and interact with each other and their environments, Brest van Kempen’s detailed paintings give real meaning to the phrase “biodiversity.” From prehistoric creatures to exotic animals, he highlights under-represented species and nurtures a unique bond between these subjects and the viewer.

    Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.

  • Emission Levels Determine Temperature Rise b yAlissa Singer

    Environmental Graphiti
    The Art of Climate Change

    Environmental Graphiti is a collection of over 70 digital paintings, each based on a chart, graph, map, word, or number relating to a key fact about climate change. Artist Alisa Singer uses contemporary art to enhance public awareness and understanding about climate science based on her belief that art makes science more accessible, science makes art more meaningful, and together they tell the story of climate change in a unique and powerful way.

    Click here to learn more about this project.

  • Malachite Kingfisher by Cheryl Medow

    Envisioning Habitat
    An Altered Reality

    Cheryl Medow creates images that entice the viewer to enter the natural world and envision her wild birds, in imaginary and real environments. Using classical and contemporary tools, Medow layers her photographs, weaving them together to create visual narratives. Medow hopes that by embracing her hyper-real bird images, her audience will create more space for birds living on our planet and be mindful of the fragility and beauty of life itself.

  • 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.
  • child looking at animal skeleton specimens

    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.

  • child 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?

  • Family 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.

  • Geology 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.

  • Bluejay 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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