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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a nature and science museum located in Chicago, Illinois, with a focus on the natural history of the Chicago region and broader environmental education. It is operated by the Chicago Academy of Sciences and is known for its interactive exhibits and live animal displays, particularly its famous butterfly haven.


The museum was founded by the Chicago Academy of Sciences in 1857 and has a long history of engaging the public in the natural sciences. The current location in Lincoln Park was opened in 1999 and was named after Peggy Notebaert, the wife of then Qwest Communications CEO Richard Notebaert, in honor of a significant contribution made by the Notebaert family.


The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located in Lincoln Park, an area that is also home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum. The address is:

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614


For current exhibits, programs, admission fees, and hours of operation, visitors should check the official website at

Exhibits and Programs

The museum features a range of exhibits and educational programs that cater to both children and adults. Some of the highlights include:

  • Judy Istock Butterfly Haven: This is the museum’s most famous exhibit, a glasshouse filled with more than 1,000 butterflies from around the world.
  • Hands-on Habitat: Geared towards young children, this exhibit allows kids to explore and learn about the natural habitats of various animals.
  • RiverWorks: An interactive exhibit that explains how rivers affect landscapes and human settlements.
  • Wilderness Walk: A diorama that showcases the different ecosystems found in the state of Illinois, including wetlands, prairies, and woodlands.
  • Animal Encounters: Live animal presentations that provide an up-close experience with the museum’s critters.

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including:

  • Field Trips: Customizable experiences for schools and groups.
  • Workshops and Classes: Educational sessions for all ages on various environmental topics.
  • Public Events: The museum hosts events like the Chicago Wilderness Congress and various special exhibits throughout the year.

Tips for Visiting

  • Transit: Public transportation is a convenient way to reach the museum, with several bus lines stopping nearby.
  • Parking: There is paid parking available close to the museum.
  • Free Days: The museum offers free admission days for Illinois residents, which are listed on their website.
  • Membership: If you plan to visit frequently, consider purchasing a membership for free admission and other benefits.
  • Facilities: There are facilities available for visitors, including restrooms and a coat check.
  • Outdoor Trails: If the weather is nice, combine your museum visit with a walk through the surrounding Lincoln Park.

Conclusion: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a wonderful place to learn about the environment and the natural world, especially for families with children. Its engaging exhibits and beautiful butterfly haven offer an educational escape from the urban hustle and bustle, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of nature and the importance of conservation.

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