>Chicago’s Museum Campus


Three of Chicago’s best (and best-known) museums are located along the iconic lakefront, residing in a beautiful 57-acre park, known as Chicago’s Museum Campus. Part of the fun is in getting to the museums, as you can enjoy a nice bike ride or a leisurely walk on the trails through the park and along the lake. Grab a Chicago-style hot dog from one of numerous hot dog stands along the way, or wander up near Buckingham Fountain for an ice cream cone.

Buckingham Fountain
While each museum is quite unique from the next, all center around the natural sciences and share amazing views of sparkling Lake Michigan and that famous city skyline.

The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History boasts an amazing collection of over 21 million specimens and a fascinating history all its own. Incorporated as the Columbian Museum of Chicago back in 1893, it was originally housed in the World’s Columbian Exposition’s Palace of Fine Arts (now known as the Museum of Science & Industry). Renamed in 1905 to honor the museum’s first major benefactor, the famous Marshall Field, and to better reflect its focus on natural history, the museum has a vast array of regularly changing and permanent exhibits, including many that are interactive. This museum if perfect for adults and children alike, with something to please everyone.

Insider tip: The Field Museum offers multiple days per month where admission is free, but be sure to get there extra early or expect a long wait. (This tip holds true for many museums. Check the listings for free days here.)

The Shedd Aquarium
Opened in 1930, the John G. Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. With a collection of 1500 species including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects, the Shedd has become Chicago’s #1 cultural attraction. It also boasts the title of “largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world” due to its impressive 3,000,000 gallon tank. Anyone can enjoy the fun and exciting aquatic shows or the unique exhibits within individual galleries.

Insider tip: Don’t miss the aquatic show, and try your best to get a front row aisle seat for an extra-special experience!

The backside of the Shedd Aquarium
The Adler Planetarium
Built in 1930, the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest in existence today. Famed for its immersive theater programs, it also offers exhibitions covering a broad range of space science topics for an educational, hands-on experience for all.

Insider tip: Be sure to catch The Journey to the Stars show, and be prepared to be dazzled!

BONUS insider tip: get your hands on a Chicago CityPASS, for serious savings on visits to all three museums!
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