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

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 perfect 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

1400 S Lake Shore Dr,
IL 60605,
The USA.

Chicago’s convenient public transport is the best way to reach the Field Museum.

By CTA Train

The nearest CTA train station is Roosevelt.

You can reach the station by Red, Orange and Green lines.

The stop also has a connection to #146 bus which will take you straight to the Museum.

By CTA Bus

Chicago Transit Authority’s two bus lines can take you to the Museum –

1.    No. 146
2.    No. 130

By Metra

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

By Bike

Enjoy a beautiful ride to the museum accessible by Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.

You can find public bike racks at East and West entrance, and on Northeast and Northwest terraces.

You can find the closest Divvy station on the southwest side of the museum.

Field Museum parking

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

You will find several car parking options near the Field Museum Campus.

For paid parking spots, look no further than –

Soldier Field North Garage

The 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 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 is open on all days of the year, except Christmas day.

Its opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm.

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

If you want to avoid the crowd, it is best to visit early in the morning, especially on weekends.

To play it safe, try to walk into the Museum by 10 am.

We suggest you reach ‘Ancient Egypt’ exhibit as soon as you enter the Museum. That way you can explore it before the crowd comes in.

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?

We recommend you visit as soon as the Museum opens – to maximize the duration of your visit.

The Field Museum of Natural History can keep you hooked for the whole day.

However, the duration of your tour depends on what you want to make out of your visit.

If you are in a hurry, you can stick to the highlights of this Chicago Museum and exit in 90 minutes.

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

Note: We recommend at least one visit to the Museum’s restaurant to recharge yourself.

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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. Check

These discounted passes for locals are available in person and cannot be purchased online in advance.

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

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

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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.

Museum highlights tour

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

These tours have different times.

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Field Museum discounts

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

1. CityPass

Get the most out of a visit to Chicago with 50% savings on our All-Access Pass—plus premium admission to four other Chicago attractions.

>> Get the Pass

2. GoChicago Card

Save up to 55% on admission to 26 Chicago-area attractions (including the Field Museum) with a single ticket.

>> Get Discount Card

3. Special Discounts

You get a discount at this Chicago 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.

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.

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Field Museum tickets

At the Field Museum, Chicago, you get a chance to choose from three types of ticket experiences.

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

You can book these tickets in advance and on the day of your visit, at the entrance, show them on your phone.

No need to take print outs. Note: 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 standard access to the museum without any special exhibits or 3D movies.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 99 years): 24 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 21 USD

Book This Ticket

2. Discovery Pass

With the Field Museum Discovery Pass, you don’t wait in any lines and thus save time.

You also get access to all general exhibits with one special exhibit or 3D movie.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 99 years): 32 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 28 USD

Book This Ticket

3. All Access Pass

Save your time by skipping the lines and then enjoy the museum at your own pace.

With this pass, you get access to all the special exhibits and 3D movies.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (19 to 99 years): 38 USD
Youth ticket (5 to 18 years): 33 USD

Book This Ticket

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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

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.

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

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

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.

You can either get a floor plan of the Field Museum of Natural History at the Information desk of the Museum or download it from here.

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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’s 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 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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She believes that the world is full of must-see places and must-do adventures, and has a never-ending list of places she wants to visit. Driven by a passion for the outdoors, she connects better with nature, and wildlife more than Museums and monuments. Favorite Cities: Cape Town, Kathmandu, Hanoi, Reykjavik, Vienna