We love the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. We’ve been several times this year, and we’ve gone so much that in April I purchased a two year membership through Groupon and take full advantage of days out in this unassuming stop in the Lincoln Park area of our city. Well, they’ve taken down the Nature’s Struggles exhibit and replaced it with Rainforest Adventure, and it’s great! Each of the littles loved a particular area in the exhibit, and we’re excited to go back and hang out after they open tomorrow!
We learned lots of great facts today on our field trip. For instance, did you know that the rainforests cover less than 2% of the earth, but house over 50% of the earth’s plants and animals? Or that rainforests act as the world’s thermostat by regulating temperature and weather patterns; they help maintain the Earth’s limited supply of drinking and fresh water? How about the fact that an average four-square-mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies? It’s also important to note that rainforests are threatened by unsustainable agricultural, ranching, mining and logging practices.
The exhibit is very spacious, and includes areas for children and adults of all ages to learn a little bit more about the job of conservationists and what they do. I saw that they had kits for the children, along with cargo vests so that they could complete a task list as they went through the exhibit. We had one reluctant conservationist on our hands today.
There’s an area where children can sit and hoist themselves into a tree the same way that conservationists do it in the rainforest. Trust, it’s a job more difficult than one would imagine. You’re sitting and pulling the weight of yourself up into a tree. That area got plenty of attention from all three children, but from the ladybug especially.
There was build bridging, flower arranging, and the space was abuzz with the sounds of the animals in the rainforest. It also features a hut front and center full of live animals such as Iggy, the Blue Throated Macaw, Powder Blue Poison Dart Frogs (pictured below), a Green Tree Python, and a couple more species. It’s important to note that all of the animals are at eye level to little ones. We did have a bit of trouble with the magnifying stations, but that was remedied quickly when they realized that there were drawers full of specimens and collections to look at. Including lots of scat. The ladybug could tell what it was right off the cuff, and seemed both horrified and amazed that it was IN A MUSEUM for everyone to see.
I don’t want to give too much of the layout away, as that’s half the fun, but I do want you to know that this is the perfect time of year to go and check out exhibits sure to give you that warm and toasty feeling!
Admission to the Nature Museum, including special exhibitions, is $9/adult, $6/child 3-12, $7/seniors and students. Thursdays are suggested donations days for Illinois residents. Located at 2430 North Cannon Drive in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, the Nature Museum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit naturemuseum.org or call 773-755-5100.