The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago

#5 of 8 in Childrens Museums in Chicago
Natural History Museum · Hidden Gem · Children’s Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a nature museum located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1857 by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the museum, which opened in its present facility in October 1999, is located at the intersection of Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park. The museum focuses on the natural history of the Chicago region, child and adult education, and is known for its live butterfly house.
The Museum is operated by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, which had previously been located at Lincoln Park's century old Matthew Laflin Memorial Building. The Academy was founded in 1857 by young prominent American naturalists, such as Robert Kennicott and William Stimpson. It was Chicago’s first museum dedicated to nature and science, and developed one of the finest natural history collections in the United States in the mid-19th century, but that collection was lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The museum was rebuilt but lost its home again in the financial turmoil of the 1880s.
The museum then built a building in Lincoln Park in 1898, which became the model for the Chicago Park District's museum-in-the-parks program. The old museum attracted many visitors with its naturalistic dioramas of area ecological settings. In the 1990s, a new home for the museum was constructed nearby, on the southeastern banks of the North Pond. Its old building is currently used for Lincoln Park Zoo administration.
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The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum reviews

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199 reviews
  • My family and friends had a great time here. We spent about 2 hours seeing the animals and playing in the interactive exhibits. The toddlers mostly enjoyed the turtles and fish, slide play area...  more »
  • Visited whilst on holiday in Chicago and really enjoyed it. We called in for the photography exhibition that was on but also enjoyed the butterfly house and the outdoor areas were fantastic for bird.....  more »
  • We went to see the Thomas D Mangelsen wildlife photography exhibit and it did not disappoint! The photographs are amazing and are beautifully displayed. There is also a static display of prairie wildlife which is very well done. The museum caters to children and looks like it does a great job of it - very hands on, staff running the meet the animal exhibits were very patient and friendly. We were three adults and some were of the larger kids groups were a little overwhelming at times but the photography exhibit was (mostly) a quiet haven and should not be missed.
  • The Nature Museum is located in picturesque Lincoln Park. Make a day of it - do the Conservatory, Zoo, & Nature Museum with or without kids. The Nature Museum has rotating exhibits as well as permanent collections that get you closer to the native flora & fauna of the area - inside the museum & out. The best part, though, is the butterfly haven. Go sit among the butterflies, birds, & blooms. That's worth the (low!) price of admission alone.

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