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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.

  • Family exploring Amazing Pollinators

    Amazing Pollinators

    Take on the role of bats, bees, beetles, and butterflies in this immersive exhibit. Play games, take on missions, and level up as you make your way through the colorful maze. From gardens to farms, and rainforests to deserts, explore these pollinators' powers and discover their wondrous benefits to Earth's plants, ecosystems, and even humans!

    Learn More

  • Desert Candle by Nancy Macko

    The Fragile Bee: Photography and Prints by Nancy Macko

    Take a closer look at the world of bees through the eye of artist Nancy Macko. Learn about their plight, our relationship with them, and their incredible inner world through elements like The Honeycomb Wall and The First Ten Prime Numbers.

    Exhibition organized through Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

  • 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 free-flying butterflies (40 species), the Haven is the perfect tropical retreat.

    Learn More
  • Photo by Amy Perlmutter

    Wings Transformed

    Photographer Amy Perlmutter’s passion for both color and nature has led her to produce Wings Transformed. After spending time photographing butterflies, she was inspired to learn more about these spectacular insects and what can be discovered through the process of shooting ultra-macro images of their intricate wings. Her astonishing photos present the complex patterns and unique translations of these living pieces of art.

  • Art by Kathleen Elliot

    Imaginary Botanicals

    Kathleen Elliot's background in philosophy, linguistics, biology, and spirituality intersect to produce unique works of art. Her beautiful glass and flamework invites viewers to be surprised, to wonder, to question and reconsider, and to embrace curiosity and uncertainty. They celebrate the beauty of nature and its ability to lift us out of the commotion of everyday life, reminding us we belong to mysteries far greater.

  • 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.

  • 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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