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Chicago Field Museum Free Days


This post covers how to get tickets to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, including free days, discounted tickets, tours, and exhibits. 


This section will give you an overview of ticket types and ticket prices.

Check out our discounted tickets section to find cheaper tickets. 

The Basic Pass

This gives you access to all the permanent exhibits.

The Discovery Pass

This gives you access to all the permanent exhibits, plus one 3-D movie OR one ticketed exhibition.

The All-Access Pass

This gives you admission to all of the permanent exhibits, the ticketed exhibitions, and one 3D movie:


There are multiple ways to get discounted tickets to the Field Museum of Natural History.

Chicago Field Museum Entrance Hall

This photo of The Field Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

From tourist passes that include admission to programs with heavy discounts, here are the ways you might get a cheaper ticket to the Field Museum.  

Go City Chicago Card

The Go City Chicago Card tourist attraction discount pass gives you two options: an all-inclusive option and a prepackaged explorer option.

One of the 29 attractions you can choose is the Field Museum of Natural History. When you show up at the museum all you have to do is show your Go City Chicago card.

Here are a handful of the other locations and activities you can enjoy with this pass:

Based on how many attractions most people can fit into the active-card period of time and the options you choose, you’ll get up to 55% off your Field Museum admission.

Chicago CityPASS

Like the Go City all-inclusive pass, the CityPASS gets you access to 5 popular tourist attractions at steep discount.

For $114/Adult and $93/Child (3-11), you get the following:

Learn more about the different tourist attraction discount passes on our blog.

Discount Sites

There are some websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial which offer discounted rates on tickets for the Field Museum.

In addition to their already low prices, they also frequently offer coupon codes to help you save an extra 10% - 20% off!

This is an excellent option if all else fails.

Active Military

Active Military with ID gets free basic admission.

Illinois Teachers

Teachers at Illinois schools (pre-K to 12th grade) get free basic admission.

Chicago Residents

Visitors who live within Chicago city limits get $5 off their admission with proof of address.

Free Admission Days for Illinois Residents

Free admission is limited to Illinois residents who must show ID.

The free admission is good for the Basic Pass and additional fees must be paid for the Discovery and All-Access Passes.  

There are usually a few dates per month, so it is worth checking out their website for these special admission times.


This section will give you useful information on getting to the museum, when to go, and what is allowed in the museum.

Field Museum of Natural History Chicago

This photo of Field Museum Chicago is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Make sure to visit the discounts section of this article if you want to get cheaper tickets.

How to Get to the Field Museum

Chicago Field Museum of Natural History

The museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive at the Museum Campus.  

We recommend using this Google map link for directions to the museum.

If you’re taking public transportation, there are a few CTA stops within walking distance.

  • Bus #146 – Inner Drive/Michigan Express/Museum Campus.
  • Bus #130 – Museum Campus (mid-May through Labor Day).
  • Exit at the Roosevelt Red Line Stop – servicing Red, Orange and Green Line and offers connections to #146 bus, located at State Street and Roosevelt Road.

TIP: Keep in mind that hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Chicago have stops near the museum!

Best Times to Visit

The Field Museum of Natural History is open from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm every day of the week except Christmas, though the last admission time is at 4:00 pm

Chicago Field Museum Weekend Busy Times

The museum's most popular times are Saturdays and Sundays between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm - so we suggest going in right when they open on weekends or on a weekday.

Luckily the museum is quite large, so even on busy days, the crowds can spread out a bit.

How Long Should You Stay?

With the size of the museum and all the exhibits available, people generally spend 3 to 3 1/2 hours in the museum.

Check out the exhibits below to see what you can find during your visit.

Coat Check

There is a coat check service available for $3 per item. They will store backpacks, coats, and shopping bags. 

NOTE: They are not responsible for lost items, and therefore will not store valuables, wallets, or purses.   

Eating at the Museum

There are several options for dining inside the museum, with cafes and restaurants that offer a little something for everyone. They aren't cost-effective, however.

During the summer or early autumn, bring a sack lunch to save some money as well as have fun with an outdoor picnic.

The view from the museum is incredible.  Be sure to get your hand stamped before you leave!


If you want to get more insight into some of the most popular exhibits in the Field Museum, you might consider taking one of their free tours.

Chicago Field Museum of Natural History has Free Tours

This photo of The Field Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This section lists the tours available to all visitors.

Highlight Tours

Every day at 11:00 am, docent-led free walking tours that highlight the museum exhibits.  

The tours last between 45 - 60 minutes and are conducted in English.

Consult their calendar for additional highlights tours of the museum. All tours depart from the main information booth.

SUE Talks

Every day at 12:00 pm, there are SUE talks in her exhibit space.

SUE is the resident T-Rex and the museum claims that she is the largest and most popular T-Rex in the world. The talks last 15-20 minutes.

Specific Topic Tours

There are other free tours with a more narrow focus that are not run daily.  Click here to view when these tours run.

  • Ancient Americas
  • Jewels and Gemstones
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Evolving Planet
  • Dinosaurs
  • Spirits, Seals and Skills: The Story of the Eskimo
  • Africa Safari
  • Planets of the World

Museum Maps

Since the museum is so large, you’ll want a map to make sure you see everything you had in mind.

Museum maps and highlight guides are available in 9 languages: English; Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, and Portuguese.


Field Museum offers unique exhibits and displays throughout the year that are constantly changing.

If you just want the basic admission ticket, however, you won't be disappointed with the permanent exhibits on display.

They're timeless and interesting, including the Pawnee Earth Lodge, Tsavo Lions, Restoring Earth, Ancient Americas, Project Hyena Diorama, and more.

We've listed a few of the most popular in detail below: 

SUE the T. rex

Inside the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, you'll see animals and organisms throughout the ages, including fossils and hands-on displays. 

The most notable animal in this display, however, is the skeleton of SUE the T. rex. SUE is believed to be the largest in-tact T. rex fossil in the world, and it is sitting right in the middle of Chicago!

Inside Ancient Egypt

Ever wonder how the Ancient Egyptians lived their normal, everyday lives?

Visit the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit to see a replica of an ancient market that was reconstructed from painted scenes on tomb walls.

Ancient Egypt Exhibit at Chicago Field Museum

This photo of The Field Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

You'll also see the three-story reconstruction of a Pharaoh's tomb!

Meet a Titanosaur 

Maximo the Titanosaur is a Patagotitan mayorum, otherwise known as the largest dinosaur ever discovered on Earth.

It was long-necked and ate plants in Patagonia, Argentina. Instead of being the actual fossil, this exhibit is a touchable cast made from the excavated bones.

Grainger Science Hub

This hub of fun activities allows visitors to touch and interact with a constantly rotating selection of the museums' favorite items.

You can see which tools the scientists use and how, as well as get some in-depth knowledge of the specimens on display.

Crown Family PlayLab

Created specifically for the museum's younger visitors, this PlayLab encourages kids to learn through games and exploration.

Your youngsters can become scientists for the day and learn about other cultures, music, and even dinosaur nests. 

Note: The lab is open Thursdays through Mondays and is for children 2 - 6 years old.

McDonald's Fossil Prep Lab

How do fossils come out of stone?

It is a very delicate and time-consuming process to unearth the intricate fossils from the earth they were preserved in.

At the fossil prep lab, you'll get to see all the steps it takes to get fossils museum-display ready! 


About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: April 5th, 2023
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