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  • The Secrets of Bees

    This highly interactive exhibit uses costumes and props to allow families to role-play and learn the secrets of bees! Dressed like honey bees, children can “fly” to the garden of five-foot-tall flowers, gather pollen into their pollen sacks, then “fly” into the giant bee hive to start the hive work of the day. Beekeeper gear and a honey roadside stand are all part of the fun! The exhibit will include live bees and also address what we can do to strive for the continuing health and growth of the world’s honeybee population.
    Closing September 13. 
  • BUGS: Outside the Box!

    Where can you see a butterfly with a five-foot wingspan, or a longhorn beetle with antennae more than twelve feet across? The answers can be found amongst the enormous sculptures on display in BUGS: Outside the Box. Scientifically exact, with a keen attention to detail, the exhibit features a virtual army of giant bugs with one aim in mind—educating the public and shining a light on museum collections, taxonomy, and the power of magnification.
    Closing September 7. 

  • 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 (75 species), the haven is the perfect tropical retreat.

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    The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven will be closed from September 14 - 18 while it undergoes annual maintenance and upgrades. 
  • 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 bison, skunks, coyotes and more.

  • Take Flight! Alaska from Above:
    Photography by Mark Reed

    Seattle photographer and kite designer Mark Reed, his wife Christina Buchanan, and their young daughter spend their summers exploring Alaska's vast landscape in the experimental aircraft Mark built. Their remarkable aerial imagery will inspire you to discover flight and find perspective in some of our planet's last remaining wilderness.

  • The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail

    The 606 park and trail system on Chicago’s northwest side takes the idea of reduce reuse, and recycle to new heights. Through a collection of images, learn how The 606 is becoming a model for transforming unused industrial infrastructure into much-needed urban green space. The 606 is a 2.7 mile long elevated park opening in June 2015. Images from The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail.
    Closing September 20. 

  • A Delicate Majesty: The Insect Art of Alix Lukas

    Alix Lukas is a Chicago-based illustrator and nature enthusiast with a focus on natural science and wildlife illustration. Her work celebrates the beauty of unusual forms, exalting the intricacies of nature in detailed gouache and colored pencil renderings that make even the creepiest and crawliest of creatures accessible and engaging.
    Closing September 13. 

  • Child on slide in exhibit

    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 learning

    Heritage of the Chicago Academy of Sciences

    Celebrate and be inspired by a snapshot of the Academy's more than 150 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.

  • Kids admiring Tarantula

    Istock Family Look-in Lab

    Watch as Museum scientists and volunteers care for and study the animals that comprise the Museum's Living Collection.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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 fork - is explained with panel displays and interactive components.

  • Children 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.

  • Children playing water exhibit


    Splash your way through this exhibit as you discover that 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 River Works by reversing the flow of the river, turn the river into a lake, build your own dam and even control a water turbine.

  • 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.

  • Bluebirds in exhibit

    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.


©The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum