Lincoln Park Zoo

Courtesy of Chicago Museum Week

Touch a stingray at Shedd Aquarium, take a hayride through Lincoln Park Zoo, or create a butterfly mask with a Chicago artist at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Animal and nature lovers can enjoy these activities and more during Chicago Museum Week, Oct. 1-7.

These three institutions are joining nine other Chicago museums during the Museum Week celebration, which features seven days of exclusive offers, events and special programs. Read on for a taste of some of the goings-on during Museum Week at Chicago's stellar animal- and nature-focused institutions.

Shedd Aquarium - fish

Love aquatic animals? Stop by Shedd Aquarium for some must-sea exhibits and special discounts! Stop by the animal chats with experts on sharks, belugas, sea lions and penguins or explore every nook and cranny with this Ten Fun Finds Map. While there, don't forget to hop over to the Amphibians special exhibit! Check out the special offers on Extraordinary Experiences during Museum Week and if you're an Illinois resident, save some clams by heading to the aquarium Oct. 5 or 6 for discount days. 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Harvest some happiness at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and learn about all of the wild animals prowling Chicago's streets and parks during the grand opening of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in Chicago's Urban Wilderness Oct. 1. Come back the next day for the opening of Peanuts...Naturally, featuring lots of "Peanuts" cartoons and nature-related activities for all ages. The Harvest Festival Oct. 4 includes a 5K race and other fun activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. What do butterflies do at night? Come see for yourself from 5-8 p.m. during the museum's after-hours night Oct. 6. There are lots of discounts and deals to be had that week, too, including an Oct. 1 free day for Illinois residents and discounts on memberships and gift shop purchases.

Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Meander through Lincoln Park Zoo and observe the activities of its many inhabitants from the vantage point of a hay ride. The zoo celebrates Fall Fest (above) during Museum Week, featuring rides, a hay mountain, a corn maze, educational activities and more. Pick up a pumpkin while you're there. The zoo is free, but there is a cost for the rides (from $3 for one to $51 for 20). Get a 10 percent discount on a membership, which comes with extras.  

After you've had your fill of animals and nature, check out what the other museums and institutions have to offer at chicagomuseumweek.org.