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To Do in Chicago: Museum Campus

2 May 2016 No Comment
Val Nirala, ASA Publications Coordinator

Want to Do It All?

All of Chicago’s Museum Campus sites and more are included with the purchase of a Go Chicago Card or Chicago CityPASS.

McCormick Place is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Chicago. For those days when there isn’t enough time to venture out that far, there’s Museum Campus—a collection of some of Chicago’s top sites within 10 minutes.

Chicago’s Museum Campus was created after a reconfiguration of Lake Shore Drive in 1998 that tied the major attractions—the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field—together by green space.


Field Museum of Natural History

1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
(312) 922-9410
Open Daily: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Last admission at 4 p.m.

The Field Museum’s collection of biological, anthropological, natural, and historical items is one of the largest in the world, with more than 20 million specimens. Sue—one of the museum’s most popular attractions—is the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever discovered.

Exhibits Included with General Admission

Sue—The largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever discovered

Evolving Planet—Four billion years of life on Earth in videos, displays, fossils, land- and seascapes, and a dinosaur hall

Inside Ancient Egypt—Egyptian artifacts plus tombs and mummies

Restoring Earth—The museum’s conservation efforts

The Crowne Family PlayLab—A place for children to experience hands-on science

The Ancient Americas—13,000 years of ancient civilizations, including the Aztec empire

Grainger Hall of Gems—Jewels and gold from around the world

The Tsavo Lions—Africa’s man-eating lions

Ronald and Christina Gidwitz Hall of Birds—One of the most exceptional collections in the world

DNA Discovery Center—How DNA works and tells us about life on Earth

McDonald’s Fossil Prep Lab— Scientists prepare fossils for all to see

Hall of Jades—he story of jade and where it comes from

Pawnee Earth Lodge—A full-size replica of a cultural time and place

Traveling the Pacific—How one vessel travels the Pacific Ocean

Pacific Spirits—Ceremonial masks and treasures from Melanesia

Africa—Scenes from across Africa

Project Hyena Diorama—Crowdfunded by more than 1,500 supporters

Maori Meeting House, Ruatepupuke I—A sacred place for religious rituals for the Maori people


General Admission

  • Adults, $22
  • Seniors and Students, $19
  • Children, $15

Discovery Pass
(general + one special exhibit)

  • Adults, $29
  • Seniors and Students, $25
  • Children, $20

All Access Pass
(general + all special exhibits)

  • Adults, $35
  • Seniors and Students, $30
  • Children, $24


Shedd Aquarium

1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
(312) 939-2438
Open Daily: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

In the early part of the 20th century, millionaire John G. Shedd spent seven years and $3 million (the equivalent of $35 million today) to build the Shedd Aquarium. Since then, it has added several exhibits, doubling its size. The centerpiece of the aquarium, the Caribbean Reef, is a 90,000-gallon circular tank filled with stingrays, sharks, eels, a sea turtle, and an assortment of tropical fish. A diver hand feeds the fish and answers questions (while underwater) several times a day.

Exhibits Included with General Admission

Caribbean Reef—A 90,000-gallon circular tank filled with stingrays, sharks, eels, a sea turtle, and tropical fish

Waters of the World—The world’s waterways in 90 habitats, with animals such as giant octopus, shrimp, bluegills, and moon jellies

Amazon Rising—Toxic frogs, huge spiders, piranhas, and an anaconda

Exhibits for an Additional Fee

Polar Play Zone—A place for kids to try on a penguin suit and explore Arctic waters in a submarine

At Home on the Great Lakes—Some of the Great Lakes’ most notable animals

Abbott Oceanarium—A recreation of the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest, with animals such as sea stars, otters, dolphins, and beluga whales

Wild Reef—Live coral and more than 24 sharks swimming in a 400,000-gallon habitat

The aquarium also has rotating special exhibits and experiences you can enjoy for an additional fee.



  • Express Pass–Adult $54.95, Child $45.95
  • Total Experience Pass–Adult $39.95, Child $30.95


  • Shedd Pass–Adult $30.95, Child $21.95
  • General Admission–Adult $8, Child $6

Visit the website for information about what is included with each ticket.


Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
(312) 922-7827
Open Daily: 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

The Adler Planetarium, founded in 1930 by Max Adler, was the United States’ first planetarium. It’s also one of the only ones that features two full-size planetarium theaters: the Sky Theater, which has a traditional Zeiss projector, and the StarRider Theater, which allows you to feel as if you are floating in outer space. Additionally, the Doane Observatory showcases a telescope with a 20-inch diameter mirror that gathers 5,000 times more light than the human eye.

Exhibits Included with General Admission

Mission Moon—America’s first steps into space through the eyes of NASA’s Captain James A. Lovell Jr. and his family

Our Solar System—Make a crater or touch a piece of the Moon, the planet Mars, or a distant asteroid

Community Design Lab—Hands-on activities that challenge you to think about science

The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time—Witness how the universe evolved over 13.7 billion years

Planet Explorers—Prepare for a trip to space by exploring the Earth

Telescopes: Looking Through the Looking Glass—Learn how these light-catching devices helped us discover our universe

Clark Family Welcome Gallery—Explore space in different ways in this futuristic, constantly changing environment

Astronomy in Culture—Astrolabes, armillary spheres, and sundials illustrate the medieval European and Middle Eastern conception of the universe

Exhibits for an Additional Fee

Doane Observatory—The Doane telescope can gather more than 5,000 times more light than a human eye, allowing you to see the Moon, planets, stars, and galaxies that are trillions of miles away (open at select times)

Atwood Sphere—The night sky over Chicago as it appeared in 1913

Space Visualization Lab—Experience new interactive and immersive visualizations and attend presentations by astronomers and related researchers

The planetarium also has rotating shows available for a fee.


  • Anytime All Access Pass
    (must be purchased onsite; available until 9 a.m. the day of admission)—Adult $34.95,
    Child $29.95
  • Basic Pass—Adult $24.95, Child $19.95
  • General Admission—Adult $12, Child $8

Visit the website information about what is included with each ticket.

Soldier Field

soldierfieldWhile not a museum, Soldier Field is located on Museum Campus. In fact, the majority of the parking for the campus is located under the stadium and you will pass the Memorial Water Wall—a monument to U.S. veterans—while walking to the Field Museum.
Soldier Field underwent a renovation that was completed in 2003. The new look was controversial, and the National Register of Historic Places eventually stripped the stadium of its landmark designation in 2006.

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