Activities & Resources
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum050in Chicago, IL 60614
about Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum:
Exhibits share a common philosophy - that people learn best by questioning, sharing, discussing, and doing. Each exhibit presents a host of intriguing situations that challenge visitors to connect with science and the natural world.
The 2,700 square foot Judy Istock Butterfly Haven is a 28-foot tall greenhouse aflutter with live butterflies, and kids can visit over 1,000 butterflies, representing over a dozen species native to the Midwest. Adjacent to the Haven are interactive graphics that encourage visitors to learn about the lifecycles, migration, and behavior of one of nature's most magical creatures.
Extreme Green House can be explored in a 3,000 square foot, 2-story house. The infrastructure has been peeled away so you can meet the creatures that inhabit every city home. If you have to constantly remind kids to turn off the lights, this exhibit reinforces (and explains) the idea that every time you flip a switch or turn up the heat in your house, you are tapping into processes being conducted hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Environmentally themed rooms include the Conservation Kitchen, Digestive Dining Room, Bacterial Bathroom, and the Bargain Basement.
Hands-on Habitat is an area designed especially for kids up to age seven, and features a two-story treehouse - the 35-foot Mazza Foundation Tree of Life. Little explorers can climb up to discover how trees are fed by pumping "water" through a root pump, watch amber "sap" run down the tree, and use a wind machine to blow seed pods and leaves from the branches.
Families can splash through Riverworks, a waterplay exhibit experience, to learn about a life-supporting ecosystem and control the riverflow by building dams and manipulating water turbines. Kids can also operate a towering kinetic water sculpture, and a giant stream table allows kids to engineer their own river system. There's even a water chemistry lab so young scientists can study the composition of water sampled from around the area.
Visitors can get the news beneath the ooze in Mysteries of the Marsh: An Exploration of Midwestern Wetlands, where they can explore the amazing variety of local wetlands and discover how we all benefit from wet wonderlands.
In Wilderness Walk, kids can discover the Midwest region's true self. Three meticulously re-created environments immerse visitors in a prairie, savanna, and dune, complete with true-to-life lighting, sounds, and real live and preserved animals.
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the museum has curated a special exhibit. The Heritage of Chicago Academy of Sciences uses artifacts from the museum's archives and collections to highlight the history of the academy.
The Museum's largest exhibit is outdoors. From the top of the roof to under the prairie, this newly blooming greening project is a showcase of eco-friendly, energy-efficient green technology.
Summer Camp programs are open to kids ages four to eight, with weekly themed sessions.
Birthday party packages include a two-hour celebration in a private room, complete with tables, chairs, coat rack, and patio access, a personalized party itinerary created by special events team, admission for all participants to explore the museum before, during, and after the party, a half-hour Amazing Animals program led by Museum staff member (includes encounters with a snake or turtle and more), and a free museum family pass for each guest. Party fees start at $400 for members; $450 for non-members.
The museum offers a multitude of programs for homeschoolers, too.
Membership fees for families start at $60/year.