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Exhibits

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Close-up of frog in Mysteries of the Marsh

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.

  • Boy with magnifying glass

    Backyard Adventures

    There is more to a backyard than you imagine! See the world from a bee's-eye view, study the zoology of nocturnal animals, learn about growing giant vegetables, play backyard sports, and much more. Backyard Adventures demonstrates that science is in everything and everyone can be a scientist.

    Closes January 1st.

    Learn More
  • Girls climbing a tree

    Chicago's Parks: The Backyards We All Share

    Featuring photographs from the Chicago Park District. Take a trek through our shared backyards  city parks. Photographs from across Chicago show the many ways in which Chicagoans play, exercise, relax, and connect with nature in our city's hundreds of public parks.

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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.

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  • Pelicans by Hélène Arfi

    Birds in Art

    Innovative artistic approaches and intriguing mediums – from bronze, wood, and Montana dendritic steatite to watercolor, oil, pyrography, and solar etching – convey the character, essence, and surroundings of birds. The annual “Birds in Art” exhibition features dynamic and contemplative interpretations of avian marvels via original paintings, sculptures, and graphics created within the last three years.

    Organized by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
  • Turtle illustration by James Krause

    A Passion for Herpetology

    Featuring naturalistic art by James Krause. Stunningly detailed renderings reveal the beauty and vulnerability of reptiles and amphibians. With an eye for detail and a mind for conservation, painter James Krause creates art to spark conversations about the future of endangered species.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Beecher Lab

    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.

  • student looking

    Istock Family Look-in Lab

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

  • Children playing water exhibit

    RiverWorks

    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 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?

  • 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.

  • Child learning

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

 
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