The Field Museum of Natural History has over 21 million specimens in its collection. Unfortunately, due to space, costs, and the delicacy of some artifacts, only a small portion of these items are on display at any given time. In spite of this fact, it is still difficult to take in everything on display during your average visit to the museum. This is why it is helpful to have an itinerary in advance.
Here are some helpful hints on items not to miss:
1) Sue. Unveiled in 2000, Sue the T-Rex is the headliner of the museum. Located in the main hallway (Stanley Field Hall), this 42-foot long dinosaur is hard to miss. Get a 360-degree view of the most complete and well-preserved T-Rex skeleton in the world.
2) Egyptian Journey. Explore the depths of the tomb of Unis-Ankh, where you will find mummies, dioramas of the mummification process, and tales of grave robbers. When you leave the underworld, you will find yourself in the Memphis Market, where policemen have baboons and beer is used as an offering in the afterlife. All-in-all, a quite entertaining journey.
3) Evolving Planet. This exhibit – which chronicles billions of years of life on earth – is huge. If you are short on time, or attention span, skip along to the 4th Mass Extinction where the dinosaurs are on display. Get face-to-face with the horned head of a Ceratopsian, or learn about the Apatosaurus’ identity crisis. This room is one of the highlights of the exhibit.
4) The Wall of Shoes. Located near the southern end of the museum, just outside the Journey of the Crow exhibit, this display of footwear is a nice respite from scientific terminology and the effort of trying to wrap your brain around the concept of eons. Fuzzy, platform boots, primitive flip flops, beautiful beaded moccasins, and clunky waders are just a few of the items to be found here.
5) Hall of Plants. Museums can get crowded and a little overwhelming at times. If you find yourself in need of a little break or quiet time, head to this classic where you can see how exhibits were done before the Age of the Blockbuster.
6) Nature Walk. An old classic, here is where you will find animals large and small. A fun activity is the part of the exhibit where you declare yourself to be a “Cat Lover” or “Dog Lover,” and then enter a display of relatives of your beloved pet. Also on display: zebras, a giant whale skeleton, the first live panda in the U.S., and the happiest grizzly bear you will ever encounter.
– Annie Durkin
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