New bee exhibit has Chicago kids buzzing about Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is bursting with busy bees. No, there’s not an infestation. The temporary exhibit “The Secrets of Bees” is a colorful haven for any bug lover.

If you go

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

(773) 755-5100

The exhibit features plenty of interactive areas, including the popular beehive where kids can role play as worker bees and store “pollen” after collecting it from the flowers scattered throughout the exhibit. Kids will love being able to dress up as bees while they collect the pollen, in the form of ping-pong balls, especially because the costumes come with a pollen sack for safe storage. There is also beekeeper gear available, so instead of playing as a bee, your child can “spray” the other bees flying around.

When the little bees are done collecting pollen, head over to the honey roadside stand and try turning a honey extractor or sit in the reading nook for some quiet time reading stories about bees.

The exhibit also features a live hive where you can see bee behaviors that are usually only seen inside the hive. Bees work on building wax, making honey and laying eggs, and a tube allows the bees to fly outside where you can see them on one of the many trails connected to the museum.

Living Invertebrate Specialist Allen Lawrence says the museum wanted an exhibit that would appeal to both adults and kids, something that this exhibit does well.

“We wanted people to see how bees interact with our society in so many different ways, how they’re not scary, they’re cute and fun, and what bees and hives really look like,” Lawrence says.

The exhibit includes an informational video, timeline and fact sheets spread throughout the room, so while kids are buzzing around in costumes, parents can catch up on all the latest bee news and tips on what to do if a child is stung.

But like any worker bee knows, there’s no time to sit and wait. The exhibit is only open through mid-September, so start planning now.

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