Museums are a big part of what makes Chicago a world class city. What is unique is that three of the city’s museums are tucked within a gorgeous park called the Museum Campus. This park is located in the southeastern section of the larger Grant Park. While the three museums themselves have been around since the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Museum Campus has only been around since 1998.
The park was created after the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were relocated to the west of the museums area in order to align themselves with the southbound lanes. The Museum Campus, with its three breathtaking museums, offers a three in one type of experience for what things to do in Chicago. Here are the three museums you can visit within the park.
Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History, simply called the Field Museum, is the first museum that you will see when you turn into the Museum Campus from Lake Shore Drive. It is at this museum that you will learn about the nature of the world that we live in and how it has evolved throughout history. The Field Museum is among the largest museums in the world dedicated to natural history.
There are a total of nine permanent exhibits at the museum. Here are a few that I would like to mention here. The most notable permanent exhibit at the museum is Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex. This is where you can view the skeleton of a T-Rex nicknamed Sue. This is the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered.
The T-Rex skeleton is more than 40 feet long and stands at 13 feet tall from the hips. The skeleton that is on display is about 90 percent of the total skeleton that the T-Rex had. The skeleton is estimated to be about 67 million years old. In the Animal Halls permanent exhibit, you will get a up-close look at the diverse habitats that animals live in.
A few of the sections you can visit in this permanent exhibit include Nature Walk, Mammals of Asia, and Mammals of Africa. Another permanent exhibit to mention is Evolving Planet. Within this permanent exhibit, you can follow the evolution of life on Earth over a period of four billion years.
Fossils of single-celled organisms, Permian synapsids, dinosaurs, extinct mammals, and early hominoids are all showcased in Evolving Planet. The Field Museum has two sets of prices depending on whether you are a resident of the US state of Illinois. The prices for non-residents are $40 for adults, $29 for children aged 3 to 11, and $35 for students and seniors.
For the residents of Illinois, the prices are $2 less than the prices for the non-residents. Those who are aged under 3 will get free admission regardless of residency. The prices mentioned here is for the All-Access Pass which will give you access to just about everything the museum has to offer. You can go here to buy your passes.
Shedd Aquarium is located to the northeast of the Field Museum. This is the museum for you to go to experience an encounter with a wide variety of water-based animals. This museum houses a total of 32,000 animals from 1,500 species. There are a total of 13 exhibits to check out at Shedd Aquarium. Many of those exhibits focus on a particular water-based environment with its own set of animals for you to encounter.
There is an exhibit called Rivers, for example. This exhibit focuses on the animals that originate from the world’s rivers. Clouded archerfish, paddlefish, violet-line piranha, fly river turtle, and lungfish are the species of animals you can encounter in this exhibit. Another exhibit at the museum is called Amazon Rising. The environment that is found in this exhibit is the Amazon rainforest.
When you are there, you can witness the floorwaters rise up to the tree-tops and then recede back to its banks. You can watch how the animals react to this floodwater cycle. Anacondas, arapaimas, and electric eels are among the animals that reside within this exhibit. One more exhibit I would like to note is the Caribbean Reef.
The central theme in this exhibit is the coral reefs from the Caribbean Sea that in some ways resembles an underwater city. You can observe as predators and their prey try to co-exist in a fragile balance. At the foundation, you can watch as tiny colorful reef fishes hide under and swim throughout the stony structures. At the same time, you can watch as the intimidating sharks swim around overhead.
The prices for the general admission to Shedd Aquarium are $39.95 for adults, and $29.95 for children aged 3 to 11. If you just happen to be a resident of Chicago, you can get a discounted admission at $19.95 for adults, and $14.95 for children aged 3 to 11. Admission is free for those aged under 3 regardless of one’s residency. You can buy your tickets here.
Adler Planetarium is the furtherest museum from Lake Shore Drive, being located to the east of both the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium within the Museum Campus. This museum is all about the planets and outer space. Even though there are numerous exhibits you can check out at museum, there are a few I would like to make note of here. The first exhibit is Chicago’s Night Sky.
This is where you can observe the stars that typically shows up in the night sky. You can also learn about the science and research that goes into understanding the night sky and how the stars make an appearance up there. Mission Moon is another exhibit at the museum. There, you can experience what it was like for America to make its first steps into outer space by being the first country ever to put a man on the moon.
In the Our Solar System exhibit, you can learn about the planets, comets, and various other objects that shows up in our solar system. You can feel the surfaces of Moon and Mars. You can also take part in creating a comet in order to see how a comet takes form. I would suggest that you get the Unlimited admission pass to this museum.
This is the best admission pass as it will get you access to not just the exhibits, but also to unlimited shows and the Atwood Sphere experience. The prices for this are $50 for adults, and $39 for children aged 3 to 11. Admission is free for those aged under 3. You can buy your passes by heading here.
With all the three museums being clustered together within the Museum Campus, you can get a three in one type of experience when figuring out what things to do in Chicago. The Museum Campus is lavishly landscaped with greenery and flora. The park also have pathways that seamlessly connects all three of the museums.
Hotels in Chicago
If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight while in Chicago, I have your back. Here are two hotels that I would suggest for you to book your stay.
Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile
This hotel is located on North St. Clair Street just east of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. There is an onsite restaurant called Level Two Restaurant at the hotel. There is an indoor swimming pool with a hot tub. If you are looking for somewhere to workout, you can do so at the hotel’s fitness center known as Wellness Center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have a luxurious feel to them with modern decor.
They all have Hyatt’s signature Hyatt Grand Beds with luxurious linens. Many of the rooms and suites will offer nice views of the city streets. The rooms come with WiFi, Keurig coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The suites also have separate living rooms. The average rate for a standard room range from $128 to $442. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
This hotel is located on North Michigan Avenue right on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. This hotel has a historic 1920’s feel to it. The hotel’s airy lobby has a sweeping staircase along with marble mosaic floors. This hotel has been the receipt for multiple architectural and design awards.
There are a few onsite restaurants and bars including Michael Jordan’s Steak House & Bar, ENO Wine Bar, Center Court, and Tower Lounge. There is an indoor swimming pool which is technically located within the hotel’s tri-level fitness center. There is also a sauna at the hotel. If you are looking for a massage or some other spa service, you can head to Spa InterContinental which is located onsite.
The hotel’s rooms and suites have a classic feel paired with contemporary furnishings and designer lighting. At least sone of these rooms and suites will offer breathtaking views of the Magnificent Mile. At the least, you can expect to have WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers in your rooms and suites. All suites will also have separate bedrooms and living rooms.
The royal and presidential suites will also have their own dining rooms and butler’s pantries. The average rate for a standard room range from $168 to $456. You can check out the booking options and/or browse some photos by going here.
What are your thoughts? Have you visited all three of the museums located within the Museum Campus in Chicago? Feel free to drop a comment below.