Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
My husband and I are HUGE museum junkies. We love to learn, to see new things, and just see how epic museums can be. This place? TOP notch! We loved it, and if we ever go back with the kids, this is definitely a must see! It's in a great area and I definitely felt safe walking here. It was a lot of fun, Chigago is a great place for a workout haha. We walked EVERYWHERE!
This is a large and varied museum of natural and human history. It has Sue, a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur fossil skeleton, part of an Egyptian tomb rebuilt along with other Egyptian artifacts, various similar displays and artifacts from around the world. For the U.S., in particular (which generally is very weak on museums compared to the UK, Turkey, Italy, and other European countries), it is a magnificent museum. It is in the Museum Campus near the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium on Lake Michigan, a lovely spot to spend the day with views to the core of the city. It's also in a beautiful building.
I was expecting this museum to be very interesting and indeed it was! Like a typical natural history museum, if you're into dinosaurs there are plenty to be had here, but there were many other things as well. There were some exhibits that were definitely older and a little dusty--like one on plants upstairs and another on Tahiti in I believe the 1950s--however, there were also some really great exhibits. I would say the best ones were their display of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, a large room full of Mesopotamian jewelry and trinkets (which you weren't supposed to photograph--oops), a very large area devoted to cultures of the Pacific Islands, and when I was there they had what I believe was a traveling exhibit about a sunken pirate ship they'd found, and that one was absolutely fantastic!
The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the 'must-see' destinations in Chicago. It is one of the best natural history museums in the world with an impressive permanent collection as well as hosting temporary exhibits from other museums.
The Field's most famous exhibit is 'Sue': the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever recovered. And for good reason. Standing under a 14 foot prehistoric predator is an experience that everybody can appreciate. And be sure to visit Sue's contemporaries in the Evolving Planet exhibit.
A note of advice: you probably won't be able to see everything in one day. So chose carefully what you most want to see. Some highlights for me were the Inside Ancient Egypt (with two dozen or so mummies) and one you might otherwise skip: the Grainger Hall of Gems. When we visited, there was an excellent presentation on Ghengis Kahn and ancient Asia that was worth the time. The Underground Adventure was more for kids and given the limited time, I'd skip the 'Waking the T-Rex' movie.
But overall a great place to spend the day!
Walk through a recreation of an Egyptian tomb and learn about mummies. Pretend you're the size of a bug and take a journey underground. Explore how the first peoples of the North and South American continents evolved from the Ice Age to the cultures they are today. See how fossils are carefully dug and cleaned for museums and scientific study. Best to all? Meet Sue: the biggest, nastiest, most complete T Rex skeleton yet to be discovered.
The Field Museum of Natural History concentrates largely on archeology, anthropology, zoology and earth-centered sciences and will be over the heads of very young children but ages 6 and older will find plenty to do while wee ones nap in the stroller. The place was crawling with kids and they all looked (and sounded) to be having a boisterously good time. Amusing to me were the stuffed critters that have been at the Field since I was a child: the place has a long history.
Some suggested itineraries for families can be found on the website as well as information on all of the current exhibits. The Field is in Museum Campus right next door to Shedd Aquarium and close to Adler Planetarium so all three could be visited in one day although I wouldn't recommend it: older kids will be on overload after two of the three, and younger folks with short attention spans will likely be done after just one so spread your visits out.
If sightseeing on a CityPASS be aware that it covers general admission, "fast-line" entry and Underground Adventure but not the 3D flicks or special exhibits.
I have to confess that this museum's permanent collections are not on my personal top 10 list of places to visit in Chicago but I recognize that it is a personal preference and not because it is not a good museum.
For those that are fans of Natural History museums, you'll want to be sure and see Sue, the world's largest and most complete T Rex, the man eating lions of Tsavo and Bushman, the famous gorilla from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Self guided tours can be found on the Field's website or at the admissions desk.
The Field has had several excellent temporary exhibitions in past years that I have enjoyed, including the Splendors of China's Forbidden City and the Jackie Kennedy exhibit. The more popular special exhibit can sell out so if you have a tight schedule I'd recommend securing tickets in advance.
Information on discount days for Illinois residents, admission and free museum highlight tours can be found on the attached website.
There aren't many restaurants near the museum campus but there is a Corner Bakery for sandwiches, soups and salads in the museum as well as a McDonald's. Some restaurants close by are the Bongo Room at 1152 S. Wabash for breakfast/brunch, Chicago Firehouse for American at 1401 S. Michigan or Gioco for Italian at 1312 S. Wabash.
Let's start by saying this place is huge and crowded ... give yourself about 4 hours to see the entire place. It's ideal for a family, as for adults I would recommend go to the dinosaur area and skip the rest. Admission price is $15 without any of the special exhibitions and they try to sell you everyone of them !!!! Be ready to battle the crowds !!!!!
panoramic views especially when you see it while travelling at the Interstate and the Museum is located nearby the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and together comprises the Museum Campus area of Grant Park. The Fields Natural Museum is a natural history lovers wet dream (like the historians and anthropologists and geologists) with about 21 million pieces of historical artifacts.
The Field Museum is open from 9am to 5pm every day of the year, except Christmas Day.
Last Admission: 4pm daily
See it all! Explore the entire Museum, see all of our special exhibitions PLUS a 3-D film! The best value! (Total value: $52)
¡Child (ages 3-11): $20
¡Senior (65 years +): $24
¡Student (w/ valid ID): $24
Explore the entire Museum, PLUS one special exhibition or 3-D film!
¡Child (ages 3-11): $15
¡Senior (65 years +): $18
¡Student (w/ valid ID): $18
Enjoy exploring the Museum (does not include special exhibitions or 3-D film).
¡Child (ages 3-11): $10
¡Senior (65 years +): $12
¡Student (w/ valid ID): $12
or you can just purchase the Chicago City Pass or the Go Chicago Card to have a free entrance to the Museum.
The Chicago Field Museum is the city's natural history museum. It features exhibits of countries and regions all around the world! I was particularly impressed by their African exhibits, as a lot of American museums don't have much from Africa, but I thought the African exhibits were very informative and combined factual (adult-oriented) information with children's interests quite well! The exhibits about the Pacific Islands and Native Americans are also very well-done. Some of the other world regions have smaller exhibits, like China and Egypt.
Along with the cultural exhibits, there are a lot of animals (organized in a sort of labyrinth that is easy to get lost in), plants, geology, and the famous T-Rex, Sue, which is said to be the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found. Special exhibits may also be worthwhile. I came during the special gold exhibit, which was fascinating!
The museum has a variety of areas to stroll and see. They have a special feature of Egyptian tomb that covers two floors, and through that you see 23 mummies in the narrow walking area that takes you through what may have been a real replicated entry to the tombs. They also have a number of artifacts and hieroglyphics in this attraction that takes about one hour to view. The other main feature are all the dinosaur skeletons, maybe 5-80 in total, and even a huge one called Sue. And another great exhibit is of the evolution of man, and it focuses on the Indian tribes and cultures from the regions of North America over many centuries.
Overall, the museum may take 4-8 hours, depending of what and how much you want to see. It is today laid out to keep the interest of young children and teens, more than the old days when you did not have interactive exhibits, but more viewing pleasure. I liked the old way best, and the new method to keep interest of youth detracts from the great things to see, in my opinion.
It is open 9-5, and admission is $28 for the full package that includes a 20 minute IMAX 3D show and Mammoth exhibit, or $22 for basic minimum. The 3D was just so, so for the money. Get ready for big city parking at $14 for under 4 hours, of $19 over that, and they have 4200 spaces but some take a long walk to the museum. McCormick Place parking is closest.
So, I'll get back by November. Maybe November a year later. Aside from my slowness, this is the best museum in the midwest and possible the entire country for Natural History, including Native Americans. It's been a few years, but there are several exhbits that are worth finding.
First: The Dinosaur exhibit. It's in the northeast corner of the building. Full size replicas, with samples of the habitat that probably existed at that time. It includes two levels, with a ramp that lets you look down on the scenes and be at the same level as the larger beasts. There are explanations of fossils and palenentolgy (sp?). It's wonderful.
Second: The other exhibit is further down the hall to the south. It's the native American, i.e., the Indian; exhibits. Laided out by cultural groups (not necessarily the same as tribal groups), you'll find the Plains Indians to be the very interesting. Partly because this is where the American architype for an Indian comes from. Feathered war bonnet, horse riding, buffalo hunting, etc. Also because, there is an earthlodge* constructed in the gallery. You can go inside an see how the Hidasa and Arikara people lived.
Third:* There's Sue. This is back at the dinosaur hall, second floor. The largest T-Rex discovered. The skull and the story of the discovery are here. There is also a lab where you can watch the scientist cleaning and examining the fossils.
The Field Museum of Natural History is my favorite museum in Chicago. Not to say that the others aren't great (which they are) but as a huge dinosaur fan as a child (and even now) The Field was (and still is) the museum to see.
Today the star of the dinosaur show is Sue. She is the largest and most complete T-Rex ever found and is named after the woman who discovered her, Sue Hendrickson. You can find Sue on the ground floor of the Field, but what you might not know is that the skull on display with the skeleton is not her real skull. Her real skull was too heavy to be placed on the supports and instead is on display upstairs.
For more dinosaur fun aside from Sue The Field offers an exhibit called Evolving Planet which takes the visitor on a tour of evolution starting with the evolution and development of life, the dinosaur age, and the rise of hominids.
Along with the dino exhibit I would suggest checking out the museum's collection of Egyptian artifacts which include mummies of both people and animals, an Egyptian boat, and Sarcophagus.
The Hall of Gems is another must for any jewelery lover. The gems are beautiful and this is when its okay to be distracted by something sparkly and shiny!
Museum hours are from 9am-5pm everyday (except Christmas).
Admission varies. There are different rates for children, seniors, and students.
An admission table is available on the Museum's website.
This place is just stunning! As we have a tight sked on our visit to Chicago, this was the second place we visited after going to Millenium Park. As we adore museums showing natural history, this structure is one of our fave buildings!
The exhibits and collections of artifacts, articles and more examples showcasing nature during the various periods in time are truly impressive!We would recommend this to anyone interested in natural history and culture!
There are permanent exhibits like"The Ancient Americas" where you discover what Field Museum scientists and others have learned about the Americans who lived here before us, and how it’s changing nearly everything we thought we knew!
There are sections on:
Nature | Animal, Plants, Ecosystems | Rocks and Fossils | Culture | Africa | The Americas | Asia and the Pacific | Global Themes | Sue | Evolving Planet |Crown Family PlayLab
Of course they also have visiting exhibits so make sure you check their website regularly if you are anywhere in Chicago!
A visit to Chicago's Field Museum should be in everybody's list I reckon!
The place also has a good souvenir shop and we have to control ourselves from getting stuff to take home as we still have yet to go to Canada in a few days!
The Field Museum is probably THE museum to visit in Chicago. When I was young I visited the field museum and all I remember was that it had EVERYTHING. As an adult, it was all new. In addition to being the Home Museum for Sue the T-Rex, the Field had a very impressive exhibit on American Indian Culture (North, Central, AND South American) and an expansive Egyptian exhibit complete with Mummies. Luckily the museum is very large and can accomodate big crowds better than many museums of Natural History that are smaller.
You can expect large crowds because of it's popularity but the Field Museum is not to be missed. Check into a combo ticket if you are planning on visiting several museums over the course of your stay and you'll save some green.
The Field Museum was incorporated with the purpose of "accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of objects illustrating art, archaeology, science and history."
That's a broad subject for a museum, and indeed it has a collection of LOTS of things.
The name was taken to honor the Museum's first major benefactor, Marshall Field, and to better reflect its focus on the natural sciences.
In 1921 the Museum moved from its original location in Jackson Park to its present site on Chicago Park District property near downtown where it is part of a lakefront Museum Campus that includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.
Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Last admission at 4 p.m.