The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a natural oasis in the middle of America's second largest city. This educational institution was founded in 1999 by the Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, which is known as the "First Museum in the West." This museum allows the people of Chicago and other visitors to connect with, learn about, and appreciate nature and is widely known for the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, hands-on science instruction, and nature trails.


Originally, The Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences was founded in 1857 for nature enthusiasts and scientists to gather, share, study, and display their specimens and findings.  By 1870, the academy’s collection had grown tremendously and continued to do so until the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the original building.  In 1894, the academy moved to Lincoln Park where it remained for the next 100 years and housed several different species of flora and fauna.  In 1900,the academy began to focus on education and they created teaching programs for students, certification programs for teachers, and a Children’s Library.  In the 1960s, the Junior Academy of Sciences was created, and in 1983, the academy's education department was officially established.

The museum’s collections include herpetology, mammalogoy, ornithology, oology, entomology, malacology, paleontology, mineralogy, botany, photography and film, manuscripts and archives, and cultural artifacts that display contain information on different birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, mollusks, plants, and fossils.  The museum’s exhibits include Rainforest adventure, Take Flight! Alaska From Above: Photography by Mark Reed, the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, the Beecher Collections Laboratory, Salmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest: Photography by Amy Gulick, Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail, Extreme Green House, Hands on Habitat, Heritage of Chicago Academy of Sciences, Istock Family Look in Lab, Micole Birdwalk, Mysteries of the Marsh, Nature’s Lunchbox, Nature Trails, Riverworks, Wilderness Walk, and Birds of Chicago.

"History." Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Accessed on May 15, 2015. http://www.naturemuseum.org/the-museum/history "Collections and Archives." Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Accessed on May 15, 2015. http://www.naturemuseum.org/the-museum/collections