Museum Campus: Adler Plantarium, Field Museum of Natural History & John G. Shedd Acquarium

The Museum Campus, a large area of park paths and walkways, links the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium. Since its opening in 1998, local, regional, and national media have generated interest in these three major cultural attractions on Chicago’s lakefront. Over 5 million people have visited the Museum Campus, more annually than any other tourist attraction in Chicago. The free trolley system, operated by the City of Chicago, connects the Museum Campus with downtown visitor destinations and train stations, encouraging tourists to use public transportation and avoid the city’s traffic congestion and parking problems. Trolleys run daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day, on the weekends during fall and winter months, and offer additional holiday service. Visitor parking on the Museum Campus is $15.00/day for those who prefer to drive their own vehicles.

The Field Museum of Natural History houses more than 20 million specimens and artifacts of anthropology, biology, and paleontology, as well as maintaining a professional staff of curators and scientists in the fields of botany, geology, and zoology. The Field Museum is home for the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered, as well as for the permanent Evolving Planet exhibit and temporary exhibits of Tutankhamun, the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, and the genetics of Mendel. Research, education, grants, and fellowships are offered to students and scientists, while classes, lectures, and field trips are given for families, groups, and children.

The Field Museum is open every day, except Christmas, regular hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Memorial Day thru Labor Day, and open at 7:30 a.m., Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. General admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for Chicago residents, and $7.00 for seniors and students ($6.00 Chicago residents.) A King Tut Pass, for $25.00, $23.00, or $16.00, is available for admission to more exhibits. The Gold Pass sells for either $19.00 or $9.00, depending upon what collections you’re interested in seeing. In addition, there are city passes, museum memberships, discount days, group and advance tickets available. There are four gift shops, vending machines, picnic areas, and two restaurants at the Field Museum. Strollers for rent, wheelchair accessible, and photography permitted at the Museum.

The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum houses 2,000 scientific instruments and models dating from the 12th through the 20th century, the largest collection of such artifacts in the Western Hemisphere. The Planetarium and Museum appeal to art lovers, historians, and astronomy enthusiasts, while exploring the universe through interactive demonstrations, exhibits, audio tours, and sky shows. Shoot for the Moon, opening as a permanent exhibit in November 2006, features NASA Captain James Lovell’s experiences with the Gemini and Apollo missions in space in the 1960’s. The fully restored Gemini 12 spacecraft, on long-term loan from the Smithsonian, will be the center of attraction in this amazing tour. The Adler is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the first Friday of every month open until 10:00 p.m., and from Memorial Day through Labor Day, open until 6:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There are two admission packages available: the Galaxy for one show and audio tour, adults $16.00, children $14.00, and seniors $15.00. The Universe, for $20.00, $18.00, and $19.00, includes two shows and audio tour. Both packages have reduced rates for Chicago residents. Wheelchair accessibility, handicap resources, and an onsite restaurant are available. In addition, The Adler Museum features America’s Courtyard, a Brazilian designed sculpture depicting the galaxies and the universe, the Infinity Shop for unusual cosmic gifts, a magnificent bronze sundial by Henry Moore, and three permanent telescopes on the North and South Terraces for city skyline and night sky viewing.

The John G. Shedd Aquarium, the largest indoor aquarium in the world, has over 422,000 square feet and 1,500 species of fish and mammals. Visitors will see sharks at the Wild Reef, dolphins, beluga whales, and sea otters at the Oceanarium, and over 250 species of animals including piranhas and anacondas in the forests of Amazon Rising. In addition, the Aquarium houses giant octopus at Waters of the World, moray eels and green sea turtles on the Caribbean Reef, and over 90 species of animals and fish in their natural habitats.

All-inclusive admission to the Oceanarium, the Wild Reef, the Lizards and the Komodo King, Amazon Rising, the Caribbean Reef, and Waters of the World is $23.00 for adults, and $16.00 for children and seniors. Hours from September 1 to May 28 are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with weekends and holidays open until 6:00 p.m.; summer hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wheelchairs are available and there is a quick-service food court and full-service restaurant at the Aquarium, open 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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