Are you looking to visit some of the great attractions at the famed Chicago Museum Campus? Created in 1998 and located on the scenic lakeshore of downtown Chicago, Chicago’s Museum Campus is the home of three prestigious Chicago museums and is part of Grant Park. The Chicago Museum Campus includes the Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, and the Adler Planetarium. The campus itself is a park-like setting with meandering pedestrian walkways, jogging paths, sitting areas & gardens.
HISTORY: Chicago’s Museum Campus was created in 1998 when the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were re-routed slightly west to make it possible to link three of Chicago’s world-class museums—the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium—in a 57-acre lakefront park located at the south end of the Monroe Street Harbor.
Obviously, the museums are the big draw here. It’s possible to spend several hours (or more) in each. But it’s also possible to spend several hours strolling around this green space, enjoying the city views, watching the sailboats on Lake Michigan and admiring the outdoor sculptures that dot the area.
The Field Museum –
The Field Museum at Chicago Museum Campus is a world-renowned natural history museum that opened in 1893. Named for its first major benefactor, Marshall Field, the museum offers spectacular exhibits that explore all facets of science, interactive learning centers for children, educational programs for all ages, & a regular schedule of temporary exhibits. The Field Museum is also known around the world as the home of Sue, the 67-million-year-old T-Rex. Sue is the largest, most intact dinosaur skeleton ever found. Visit www.fieldmuseum.org.
Adler Planetarium –
Explore the far reaches of the universe at the Adler Planetarium. Founded in 1930, the Adler Planetarium is the oldest planetarium in the country. The space science museum features exhibits, three full-size movie theaters, & an esteemed collection of antique astrological equipment. The Adler Planetarium exhibits explore such topics as gravity, space exploration, the solar system, & historical perspectives of the universe dating back to medieval times. Visit www.adlerplanetarium.org.
Shedd Aquarium –
Explore the fresh & saltwater habitats of the world at the Shedd Aquarium. Opened in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium is a National Historic Landmark that houses over 22,000 animals. Aquarium exhibits include Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Wild Reef, Amazon Rising, & the stunning multi-level Abbott Oceanarium that houses such marine mammals as beluga whales, sea lions, dolphins & sea otters. Visit www.sheddaquarium.org.
Tips: Although general admission tickets to each of the three museums are relatively affordable, if you want to see special exhibits or enjoy the shows, the all-inclusive tickets start to get expensive.
If you think you might want to return for a second day, consider buying a membership to the museum. Memberships allow you access to everything and generally pay for themselves in two visits.
Or if you want to visit all of the museums, consider buying a CityPass or GoChicago card sold at the campus and at each museum. It gives you a discount entry and allows you to bypass the very long entrance lines.
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The Museum Campus is easily reached by cab, CTA bus (buses 12 and 146 stop at the Museum Campus) or L (the Red, Orange and Green lines all stop at Roosevelt Road and it’s a short walk east to the Museum Campus).
If you drive, go early and look for one of the coveted spots at a parking meter along Solidarity Drive. Bring plenty of quarters to feed the meters. Or park in one of the outdoor lots, but those fill up quickly too