Field Museum – tickets, discounts, free days, what to see

Field Museum, Chicago

The Field Museum in Chicago is an amazing natural history Museum with a varied range of exhibits such as dinosaurs, mummies, meteorites, ancient Egyptian artefacts etc.

Field Museum of Natural History is a perfect outing for both kids and adults.

In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit this Museum.

1. How to reach
2. Opening hours
3. Best time to visit
4. Tour duration
5. Free days
6. Free tours
7. Ticket discounts
8. Entry tickets
9. What to see?
10. Floor map
11. Restaurants
12. History

How to reach Field Museum

The Field Museum is in the middle of Chicago’s Museum Campus, at 1400 South Lake Shore Drive.

The Museum Campus houses three of Chicago’s most popular attractions – Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetariam.

Field Museum's Location
Map Courtesy: Sheddaquarium.org

Get Directions

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has convenient public transport options, which we think is the best way to reach the Field Museum.

By CTA Train

You can get onto Red, Orange or Green line train and get down at Roosevelt Station.

From the Roosevelt station, Field Museum is a 15 minutes walk (map below).

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If you don’t want to walk, wait for Bus No. 146, which will take you straight to the Field Museum.

Bus No. 130 can also take you to the Museum.

You can use this CTA Bus Tracker to find out arrival times.

By Metra

Metra Electric District Station at Museum Campus/11th Street is the closest Metra stop the Filed Museum.

From the Station, the Museum is just 0.4 Miles (0.65 Kms) and the walking distance can be covered in less than 10 minutes.

Field Museum parking

Driving to the Museum is the best option when traveling with family.

Just fire Google Maps and start driving.

SpotHero app can help you find several car parking options near the Field Museum Campus.

New app users get 5% off if they use promo code FIELDCHI

For paid parking spots, look no further than –

Soldier Field North Garage

Soldier Field North garage stays open from 5 am to 5 pm daily.

After the closing time, you can take your car out, but no overnight parking is allowed.

Parking costs 20 dollars for 4 hours and 25 dollars for 12 hours.

East Museum Lot

As the name suggests, this parking lot is on the Eastern side and opens at 9 am.

You can bring in your car till 3 pm, after which you can only take out your vehicle. No overnight parking is allowed.

It costs 25 dollars for 12 hours.


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Chicago Field Museum hours

Field Museum of Natural History opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm, every day of the year except Christmas day when it remains closed.

Last entry is at 4 pm – one hour before the Museum closes. 

Field Museum hours on Sunday

Field Museum’s weekend timings are the same as weekday timings.


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Best time to visit the Field Museum

The best time to visit Field Museum in Chicago is as soon as they open at 9 am.

This helps you avoid the crowd, especially on weekends.

Since ‘Ancient Egypt’ exhibit gets the maximum crowd, it is better to explore it as soon as you enter the Museum.

If you are not a local, try avoiding the free days as the Museum is exceptionally crowded. 


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How long does Field Museum take

If you are visiting with kids, you will need at least 4 to 5 hours to explore the Chicago Field Museum to your satisfaction.

If you are in a hurry, you can stick to the highlights and be done with your tour in 90 minutes.

Tip: If you plan to extend your stay at the Museum, visiting the restaurant in between helps recharge your energies.


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Field Museum free days

The Field Museum announces free days in advance, during which all Illinois residents can walk into the Museum for free.

As an Illinois resident, you can benefit from these free days throughout the year.

Just show your Illinois residency proof like driver’s license, State ID or Chicago CityKey.

Free Field Museum tickets
Image: Dees-stribling.com

This free entry includes access to all general admission exhibitions, such as Evolving Planet, The Ancient Americas, and Inside Ancient Egypt

To access other ticketed exhibits, you can buy discounted passes which are available at the venue (and can’t be purchased online in advance).


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Free tours at Field Museum

The Field Museum staff conducts free guided tours daily.

If you have a basic Museum entry ticket, you can join these tours.

Field Museum highlights tour

Guided tour at Field Museum
A free guided tour going on at Field Museum. Image: Fieldmuseum.org

This one-hour tour starts at 11 am daily, except on Thursdays when it begins at 2 pm.

On this guided you will be taken through the highlights of this Museum – including but not limited to Sue the T-Rex, man-eating lions of Tsavo, Egyptian mummies, etc.

You also get to learn about the Museum’s history, and the ongoing science and research.

Some of the other free tours at Field Museum include –

1. Tour of the Dinosaurs
2. Evolving Planet
3. Africa Safari
4. Ancient America
5. Ancient Egypt
6. Pawnee Earth Lodge
7. Plants of the World
8. All About SUE
9. Gemstones, Gems, and Jewels
10. Travel Through Africa

On the day of your visit, get the list of free tours of the day and their schedule from the Information desk at the main level.


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Field Museum discounts

There are many ways to get a discount at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

1. Kids discount

Kids four years and below get a 100% discount on their tickets. They can enter the Museum for free.

2. Students discount

Students 5 to 18 years of age can display their valid Student ID card and avail of 3 USD discount on the General Admission ticket price.

On Discovery Pass they get 4 USD discount while on the All Access Pass the students get a 5 USD reduction.

*Seniors aged 65 years and above also get similar deductions on their tickets.

3. Special Discounts

You get a discount at the Chicago Field Museum if you qualify any of the below-given conditions –

Chicago Residents

Visitors who live within Chicago city limits can save $5 or more per ticket if they can show proof of residence.

You must buy your tickets from the counter at the venue.

Active Military Personnel

If you are currently active military personnel, the basic admission to the Museum is complimentary.

That’s a 100% discount for men and women in uniform.

Illinois Teachers

On producing a valid ID card, teachers from the State of Illinois (teaching any class) receive a free basic entry ticket.

Go Chicago Card discount
Save up to 55% on admission to 26 Chicago-area attractions (including the Field Museum) with a single ticket. >> Get Discount Card


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Field Museum tickets

Field Museum tickets
When you buy Field Museum tickets at the venue, you get a physical ticket (in pic). However, we recommend online tickets because you can then skip the long lines at the ticket counter. Image: Bookoo.com

At the Field Museum, Chicago, there are three types of tickets you can choose from.

The ‘Regular entry ticket’ is the cheapest and the ‘All Access Pass’, which gets you access to everything in the Field Museum, is the costliest.

If there is no time and money constraints, we highly recommend getting the All Access Pass.

Since these are smartphone tickets, you don’t need to take printouts.

On the day of your visit, at the entrance, show the tickets on your phone and walk in.

With all the three tickets, you can also join the free guided tours led by docents.

1. Regular Entry Ticket

This Field Museum ticket gets you access to all the General Admission exhibitions.

These are also known as unticketed exhibitions. We list them below –

  • Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet and Sue Rex
  • A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton
  • Máximo, the Titanosaur
  • Inside Ancient Egypt
  • Nature Walk and Messages from the Wilderness
  • Crown Family PlayLab
  • Grainger Science Hub
  • Africa Exhibition
  • Brewing Up Chicago
  • Grainger Hall of Gems
  • Robert R. McCormick Halls of the Ancient Americas
  • McDonald’s Fossil Preparation Laboratory
  • Looking at Ourselves
  • Abbott Hall of Conservation: Restoring Earth
  • Regenstein Halls of the Pacific
  • Maori Meeting House
  • Ronald and Christina Gidwitz Hall of Birds
  • Pawnee Earth Lodge
  • Animal Biology
  • DNA Discovery Center
  • Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades
  • Plants of the World
  • Meteorites Exhibition

Exclusions: This ticket doesn’t get you access to the ticketed exhibitions and the 3D movies.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 64 years): 24 USD
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 21 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 21 USD

On the ticket booking page select ‘Basic Admission’

2. Discovery Pass

The Discovery Pass includes admission to all of the unticketed exhibits (mentioned above) plus your choice of ONE ticketed exhibit or 3D movie.

The three ticketed exhibits and three 3D movies you can choose from are –

  • Cyrus Tang Hall China
  • Fantastic Bug Encounters
  • Underground Adventure
  • Titanosaur 3D: The Story of Maximo
  • Waking the T Rex 3D: The Story of Sue
  • Egypt 3D: Secrets of the Mummies

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 64 years): 32 USD
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 28 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 28 USD

On the ticket booking page select ‘Discovery Pass’

3. All Access Pass

With this Field Museum ticket, you get to see all the general admission exhibitions and all the three ticketed exhibitions.

Also, you get to choose ONE of the 3D movies from the below list –

  • Titanosaur 3D: The Story of Maximo
  • Waking the T Rex 3D: The Story of Sue
  • Egypt 3D: Secrets of the Mummies

If money and time isn’t a concern, we recommend you book this experience.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 64 years): 38 USD
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 33 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 33 USD

On the ticket booking page select ‘All Access’

If you want a VIP experience at Field Museum, check out this Early Access Ticket. You start your one hour guided tour at 8 am, much before the Museum opens for others, and then continue to explore for as long as you want.


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What to see at the Field Museum?

The Field Museum is massive.

Its exhibition space occupies over 480,000 square feet on the Ground, Main and Upper levels.

This Natural History Museum has 30 Million specimens.

However, less than 1% of the exhibits are on display, and the rest are in storage.

Even then, for a first-time visitor exploring the Museum can be overwhelming.

Here is our list of the must-see at the Field Museum of Natural History.

1. Griffin halls of Evolving Planets

In Griffin Halls, you get to know about each organism that has ever walked on Earth.

See a variety of fossils, animated videos, etc. to learn about evolution from scratch.

Experience the educational journey from a single-celled organism to humans.

In this section, you will see the fossil skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex called Sue, Megatherium, a giant ground sloth, the Tully Monster, and Lucy, a 3.2-million-year-old hominid.

2. Field Museum Maximo

Field Museum's Maximo
Maximo is the most popular exhibit at the Field Museum. Image: Fieldmuseum.org

Maximo the Titanosaur is the biggest dinosaur discovered by the scientists till now.

Field Museum Titanosaur reaches 122 feet, all the way across Stanley Field Hall. At his head, he stands 28 feet tall.

Check out the below given pic to get a sense of how huge Maximo is –

Maximo the Titanosaur at Field Museum
Image: Fieldmuseum.org

Maximo is known to have lived more than 100 million years ago in present-day Argentina.

3. Wildlife photographer of the year

In this section, you get to have a closer look at nature, but through a lens.

The exhibition showcases 100+ of the world’s best nature photographs.

4. Underground Adventure

Underground Adventure at Field Museum
Image: Fieldmuseum.org

You will shrink to the size of penny once you enter this exhibit.

Once you are tiny, meet the creepy, crawling creatures dwelling inside the earth.

Make new friends with mole cricket, wolf spider and many more and learn about their lifestyle.

When here, don’t miss the insects that dig holes and move Earth, the protective earwig mama, and her babies, and hard-working ants, etc.

5. Field Museum Mummies

This exhibition takes you all the way to Peru and Egypt.

It includes 14 mummies, coffins and mummified animals too.

In this section, you can dig deep and know about the life, work, and religious beliefs of these mummies.

Don’t miss the famed Egyptian ‘Gilded Lady,’ and the Peruvian mummy bundles.

6. Cyrus Tang Hall of China

A pair of stone lions welcome you to the collection which narrates the story of China.

Learn about the political history of China and watch a shadow puppet performance of the epic Journey to the west.

Do not miss out on the animated map of dynastic China’s shifting borders, the Qingming scroll, and the cargo recovered from a Chinese ship which sank in the Java Sea during the 12th or 13th century.

7. Inside ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt at Field Museum
Image: Fieldmuseum.org

Step into the sand dunes of ancient Egypt and learn about the daily life of the times.

Enter through a replica of Mastaba with two chamber rooms from the burial site of Egyptian Pharaoh Unis’s son, Unis-Ankh.

This exhibition is a doorway to the life of ancient Egyptians.

Do not miss out the floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphs in the Mastaba of Unis-Ankh and the 4,000-year-old royal boat which belonged to Pharaoh Senwosret III.

8. Grainger Science Hub

This is one section where the Museum’s ‘do not touch’ policy doesn’t apply.

This section is perfect for kids and adults alike, for here, you can get your hands on the specimens and learn how to use the scientific research tools.

Since the exhibits on display here keep changing, every time you visit you see something new.

9. Crown Family Playlab

Specially curated for kids from two to six old, this is an interactive and hands-on learning adventure.

Explore the world cultures through music and live inside dinosaur’s nest.

The Playlab lets your child learn while they play around. 

10. Grainger Hall of Gems

This hall has been a visitor favorite since it was inaugurated.

The collection includes 600 gemstones and 150 pieces of antique and contemporary jewelry from all over the World.

From 3,400 years old Egyptian garnet necklace to modern day designs, this exhibition is the gem of Field Museum, Chicago.

Do not miss out on Tiffany & Co.’s stunning Sun God Opal, the Chinese jade ornament carved 600 years ago and the 97.45-carat imperial topaz, the largest topaz on display.


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Field Museum floor map

Spread over various floors and halls, the Field Museum in Chicago can overwhelm most visitors.

A handy map helps get the maximum out of your visit.

Besides the exhibits, the map will also help you find visitor services such as restrooms, restaurants, souvenir store, etc.

Upper Level’s floor plan

Field Museum's upper level map

Main Level’s floor plan

Field Museum's main level map

Ground Level’s floor plan

Field Museum's ground level map

You have three options – save this page for later use, download the pdf version from here or collect the floor plan of the Field Museum of Natural History at the Information desk on the day of your visit.

Credit: All maps courtesy Field Museum


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Food @ Field Museum

If you want to make full use of your Field Museum entry tickets, do take regular breaks to recharge yourself.

Field Museum’s ground level has a picnic-style eating area near the sea mammals.

If you have packed your lunch, you can retrieve it from your car and have it in this ground-level area.

Remember to get your hand stamped (and carry the Field Museum ticket for re-entry) before you step out to get your food.

Field Museum also has two restaurants – Field Bistro and Explorer Café – and a seasonal outdoors grill.

The Explorer Café (on the ground level) serves family-friendly foods in a casual ambiance.

If you want to catch up on a drink, check out the Field Bistro (on the main level).

Besides beer and wine, this Field Bistro also serves fares such as Angus beef burgers, salads, soups, etc.


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Field Museum history

The Field Museum is not just a presenter of history but a part of history itself.

The idea of building a world-class museum was stemmed from World Columbia’s Exposition of 1893.

One after one several exhibits were procured to give this idea life.

Edward E. Ayer, the first president of the Field Museum then contacted Mr. Marshall Field, a well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist, and owner of a chain of department stores.

With his generous contribution of 1 Million dollars, the Museum earned a permanent place in the society.

Soon, many contributors came in with even bigger exhibits.

Today, after a century, the Field Museum of Natural History is still growing every day.

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