Company Logo - Home Link

Chicago Field Museum Tickets and Free Days

Updated: February 6, 2024
 By Mel

One of three museums in Chicago's Museum Campus, along with the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium, is the Field Museum of Natural History.

The museum's name comes from its first big donor, Marshall Field, who donated $1 million back in the 1890s. That would be equal to around $35 million today.

This fascinating museum is one of my favorites, partly because I will never reach the end of it's vast collection.

The Field is home to almost 40 million objects that give a detailed and fascinating overview of life across time on Earth.

My young family members enjoy the 67 million-year-old T-Rex named Sue and the Ancient Egypt exhibit, while I paticularly like the gem and jewelry displays and the galleries covering 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture.

Free Tour by Foot guides will tell you that they receive overwhelmingly positive reviews about the Field.

If you'd like to spend some time there, this post will help you plan your visit.

It will tell you the best time to visit, and how to get there.

It will also tell you how to get cheap or even free tickets (IL residents will find these sections helpful), discuss many of the exhibits you'll find there, and even offer some tips and information from residents and fellow travelers.

I hope you end up enjoying the Field Museum as much as I do!


PLAN YOUR VISIT

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

This photo of Field Museum Chicago is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Make sure to visit the savings 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 the #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 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.

Chicago Field Museum Weekend Busy Times

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

Hours

  • 9 am - 5 pm daily
  • Closed on Christmas day

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 during the cold seasons 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 a few 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.

You can also bring a closed water bottle that can be filled at stations in the museum.


Other Amenities

There is a gift shop on site, as well as online.

Sensory bags with fidget toys, headphones, and sunglasses are free at the visitors' center for those with sensory issues.

Strollers can be rented from near the entrances ($3 for a single stroller, $5 for a double). They are allowed everywhere but special exhibits, although there will be room outside their entrances to leave the stroller.

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


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 10 languages: English; Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, Polish and Portuguese.

There is also an mobile interactive map you can download.


TICKETS

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

Check out our savings section to find cheaper tickets for IL residents and those from certain professional groups.

The pricing listed below is for out-of-state residents.


Basic Admission

This gives you access to all of 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:


WAYS TO SAVE

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

Photo: courtesy of TripAdvisor

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


Go City Chicago Card

The Chicago Explorer Pass will give you admission to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions at a savings of up to 40%.

The Field Museum is included in the list of 32 eligible attractions. 

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 save money on your Field Museum admission.


Chicago CityPASS

The CityPass booklet is a pre-packaged savings bundle that includes 5 popular tourist attractions at savings of 48%.

All you have to do is purchase one ticket and make a few choices on the options they give you.

For example, you could choose the:

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


Deal Sites

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

In addition to their already low prices, they also frequently give you a key to help you save an extra 10% - 20% off!


Museums for All

Families from anywhere in the US that are on state food assistance and have an EBT or LINK card, or a WIC ID, can receive a Museum Entry +1 Pass for up to 8 people for $1 each.

The passes can be upgraded at a savings as well.

The All-Access Pass would be only an additional $16 adult/$14 child and the Discovery Pass would be an additional $10 adult/$8 child.

The cards and IDs must be shown at the box office to receive the savings

Read more about Museums for All here.


FREE ACCESS

The Field Museum offers access to people of various professions and for residents as well.

See if you are in one of these groups below.


Active Military

Active Military get free admission with their military status ID.


Illinois Teachers

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


Illinois Residents

Basic Admission is offered free every Wednesday in 2024. You must present Proof of Residency to enter.

If you'd like to upgrade to a Discovery or All-Access Pass there will be a charge.

There is $2 savings for residents if they purchase tickets. Proof of address presented at checkout.


Chicago Residents

Visitors who live within Chicago city limits get the following money off their chosen pass with proof of address.


Members

If you join a member you will receive unlimited basic admission, and free access to all ticket exhibitions, amongst other savings for a full year.

For example, the Family Plus Plan gives two adults, all children under age 17 who live in that household, and one guest access for $171.00.


FREE MUSEUM TOURS

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.

Photo: courtesy of TripAdvisor

This section lists the tours available to all visitors.


Guided Tours

Each day volunteers lead guided tours that are free with museum admission.

The schedule is subject to change so visit the information desk for details.


Dinos and Sue

SUE is the resident T-Rex and the museum claims that she is the largest and most popular T-Rex in the world.

Want to learn more about dinosaurs, fossils, and information on how to spot a dino?

If so, take this 45-minute tour.


Field Favorites

These 45-minute tours are great for those who want to hit some of the best things that can be found at the Field.


EXHIBITS

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.

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 museum's 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! 

Here is a complete list of the Field Museum's exhibitions.


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS

While we try to cover everything in our post to make a your trip to a Chicago museum easier, there are surely questions you'll have that will apply only to you.

That's why the Free Tours By Foot Chicago Travel Tips page on Facebook comes in handy. You can ask direct questions there and one of our almost 22,000 members will often provide the answer!

Here are a few tips we've found:

  1. Where should you park if you're spending time at the Field Museum and then heading off to do other things in the area? Apps are recommended for parking, although if you park at the Field you can leave it there while you go off and see other things.

2. Are city passes worth it for families who want to see multiple attractions? Some folks say yes, but that it may depend on how much your particular child can see in a day. Read more about tourist attraction attraction passes here.

3. Could you see the Shedd and Field Museums on the same day? Read what some of our members say below.

If you have questions of your own you want to post, or just want to check out what people are saying about Chicago, visit our Chicago Travel Tips page on Facebook.


RELATED POSTS:

About The Author

Mel

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: February 6th, 2024
Back to Top
cross