Seeing green at Notebaert Nature Museum

The leaves are falling off the trees, which means you might already be yearning for the sight of some green. If that’s the case, head to Notebaert Nature Museum’s new exhibit, Rainforest Adventure, which reminds families just how important it is to have a little lush green in their lives.

If you go

Rainforest Adventure


– Opens Nov. 8


– Peggy Notebaert Nature

Museum, 2430 N. Cannon

Drive, Chicago

“This is a great hands-on exhibit that’s open in the winter, when we wish we were in the rainforest and can’t get there,” says Marc Miller, vice president of external affairs at the museum. The hands-on elements also keep kids active when they can’t be outside, thanks to a kapok tree they can climb and a gorilla’s nest to explore.

Miller says a highlight of the exhibit is the live animals, including a green tree python, which can grow to be 6 feet long, a blue-throated macaw, of which there are only 350-400 in the wild, and the violet turaco, a brightly colored bird native to West Africa. The animals will live in an Amazonian hut and be brought out frequently for programs and to interact with the public.

“There’s nothing like seeing live animals,” Miller says. “The kids just love to come back and see (them).”

The focus of the exhibit is on conservation and awareness. That theme is woven throughout the exhibit, and Miller says he hopes that families “learn lessons about how we make decisions locally that have global consequences.”

The exhibit was originally created by Stepping Stones Museum for Children, but the team at Notebaert has made it more locally oriented, thanks to specimens from the museum’s collection and a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Miller says parents can supplement the lessons learned in the exhibit with a visit to the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, which contains some insects from tropical regions, or a stop at the

Istock Family Look-in Lab to see scientists care for animals that might be endangered.

It all serves as a good reminder that while the world outside is turning a little brown, you don’t have to look far to find some gorgeous green.

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