Free Thursdays for Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is celebrating its 18th Anniversary this year and Thursdays are free admission days,  filled with exciting daily programs for the whole family. So gather up the family and get there for free museum days.




Complete with permanent exhibitions including a Butterfly Haven, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum became an interactive experience for adults and children alike.   Programs below are free unless otherwise noted. The Nature Museum is open every day except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note, the last admission ticket is sold at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 4:30 p.m. on weekends.


The Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum inspire people to learn about and care for nature and the environment. The Academy, founded in 1857, improves the quality of life in Chicago and the region by delivering superior environmental and science education programs to students and teachers, by offering Museum exhibitions and conducting public programs that foster green living, by restoring local ecosystems and advancing scientific knowledge through collections and research. notebaert-museumDuring the past 10 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences has welcomed more than 1.8 million visitors to its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The Museum provides hands-on exhibitions and programs to 70,000 students and trains and provides resources for more than 1,700 Chicago teachers in over 430 schools annually. The Museum engages visitors, especially urban dwellers, in new ways to connect with and preserve the natural world through a unique indoor/outdoor experience. It is one of the city’s best examples of eco-friendly building technology with lush outdoor nature trails and habitat, green roof, rain barrels and solar panels.


Some facts about this wonderful Museum:

Celebrating 150 years of science exploration and education, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is the teaching and learning center of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, founded in 1857.
• The Museum welcomed 194,000 visitors in fiscal year 2007. More than 1.5 million visitors have walked through the doors since opening in 1999.
• The Museum trains and offers resources for more than 2,000 Chicago teachers in over 430 schools providing hands-on exhibits and programs to 65,000 students annually.
• An education innovator, the museum’s Science on the Go! program pairs with more than 150 teachers to enhance science education in classroom and has shown a correlation between the program and improved student test scores.
• The Museum is a working demonstration of green technology with 17,000 square feet of rooftop gardens, solar panels and an eco-friendly water distribution system.
• The Nature Museum recycles more than 37,000 pounds of paper each year.
• In 2006, the Museum received the City of Chicago’s Green Museum Award for Overall Achievement.

• An icon exhibit, the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven delights all who enter with a kaleidoscope of 1,000 butterflies plus tropical birds, flowers, and a waterfall.
• The Museum features more than 150 species of live animals.
• The Academy and its Museum play a lead role in the repopulation of endangered species through its Butterfly Restoration Project.
• The Museum is a leader in citizen science initiatives with scientists and volunteers monitoring, collecting and breeding, raising and studying animals to help ensure their survival.
• The Academy’s collection of 250,000 specimens includes several benchmark specimens used to identify an entire species. Many were gathered more than 100 years ago.


Getting to the Museum


Divvy Bike Program
Divvy is Chicago’s bike sharing system with thousands of bikes and hundreds of stations across the city. Intended to provide Chicagoans and visitors with an additional transportation option for getting around the city. The closest Divvy Bike station is located in front of the Nature Museum on Cannon Drive just north of Fullerton Avenue. For more information and pricing, please visit
The Nature Museum is accessible by CTA bus routes #76, #151 and #156.

Free parking is available on Cannon and Stockton Drive. A flat-rate lot maintained by the Chicago Park District is located at 2431 N. Cannon Drive. To learn more about lot rates, please click here.

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