Location: 737 N. Main St., Rockford, IL
Hours: Monday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm
Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Cost: $10 per adult (13 and older)
$8 per child (ages 4-12)
Free for children 3 and under
Year-long memberships start at $70 for a family
Burpee Natural History Museum in Rockford, Illinois is a wonderful place for your family to spend the day and learn more about natural history.
Burpee Museum is home to the world’s most complete and best-preserved juvenile T. Rex. Her name is Jane! It’s awesome to have a piece of history right here in Rockford. Burpee also has a variety of natural history exhibits including animals, first people, and Sprouts, a children’s room full of interactive exhibits. Burpee is open daily and holds special events and donation days throughout the year.
The museum is great for all ages!
Things for Little Kids to Do (Birth – 5 years old)
Little ones will enjoy several aspects of the museum.
The lower level includes the dinosaur exhibit with Jane, Homer and the other dinosaur fossils. The exhibit shows what happened during Jane’s life and how she became a fossil. This area also includes Homer, the teenage Triceratops and a coal forest with two-story trees and simulated thunder and lightning to make you feel like you’re in a prehistoric rainforest.
The Sprouts room is a great place for little ones to explore. There are hands-on interactive exhibits, sand to dig in, costumes to try on, and fossils and rocks to touch and clean.
The temporary exhibit of Reptile and Amphibians is also an exciting place for little kids to visit. There are numerous reptiles to see including iguanas, lizards, turtles and more. There’s also Rocky, the 150 pound tortoise that kids are able to touch. This exhibit will be at Burpee through December 2019.
Things for Older Kids to Do (5 – 18 years old)
Older kids will enjoy all of the museum and the many different areas of natural history that are displayed there.
- Survival of the Smallest – learn about tiny insects
- The Ordovician Sea – what Rockford looked like millions of years ago when it was underwater
- The First People – the history of Native Americans in North America featuring a wigwam, tipi, American Bison and canoe
- Windows to Wilderness – wildlife in the Rock River Valley including foxes, wolves, ducks, and more
- Gems and minerals – large case of gems and minerals
- Historical clothing and costumes on display
- Interactive displays with sounds
Things for Kids of All Ages to Do
Artwork and reading area – Kids can take a break to color, do an art project or read.
Special events – Burpee has special events throughout the year including monarch adoption, summer programs, classes, outdoor concerts, birthday parties and more. Check out their events calendar here.
Burpee Museum is clean, well kept-up, and has staff at the front desk should you need assistance. When entering you’ll receive a map to help you find your way around and there is signage throughout the museum.
They also have the following amenities:
- Plenty of room to bring in a stroller
- Benches throughout the interior
- Gift shop