History of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

History of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Once you’ve spent the day learning about the history of Chicago and enjoying its unique skyline on one of Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architectural boat cruises, what else is there to see and do? Take a tour of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at the Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences?


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Founded in 1857 by prominent naturalists William Stimpson, Robert Kennicott, and others, the museum is dedicated to the study of natural science with a special focus on the natural history of the Chicago area. A victim of the Chicago fire of 1871, the museum lost its large collection of specimens and was forced to rebuild, relying again on naturalists dedicated to the preservation of local ecologic. In 1894, the museum was relocated to the Laflin Memorial building, located in Lincoln Park, a space that would remain its home for the next century.

The Notebaert Nature Museum is magnet to visitors eager to see the artistically rendered dioramas of ecological settings in the area as they existed prior to industrialization. Thanks to the tireless work of scientists and volunteers, the museum is one of the premier resources for educators eager to teach area students about the natural wonders of the Midwest.

Exhibits and Design

In the 1990s, the museum moved again, into a new building designed and built to house its many collections. This new design allowed greater access to the museum’s educational programs, as well as making way for more interactive exhibits, including:

  • Peanuts, Naturally – Explore the many natural themes that beloved cartoonist Charles M. Schultz touched upon in his long-running comic strip, including a climb through the great pumpkin.
  • Wilderness Walk – View recreations of local natural environments, including savanna, dunes, and prairies, complete with preserved animals and authentic sounds.
  • Nature Trails – Explore the world outside with a 1/3 mile trail that allows visitors to explore the natural world as it is now.
  • Butterfly Haven – The most popular exhibit at the museum allows guests to view more than 75 species of butterflies in the enclosed 2,700 square foot greenhouse habitat.

Enjoy a Shoreline Sightseeing Chicago Architecture Tour, before Visiting the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Take in the city of Chicago on a Shoreline Sightseeing Chicago Architectural boat cruise, and then explore the natural world at the Peggy Notebaert Nature museum with your family. Schedule your trip today to have an adventure you’ll talk about for years to come.