DOWNTOWN — Field Museum visitors are going to pay a little more to get in next year.
The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved higher admission fees for the Downtown natural history museum Wednesday.
Adult Chicagoans will pay $18 beginning Jan. 1 to get into the museum at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, up from $16 now. Adult nonresidents will pay $24, up from $22.
The park board approved the higher fees after signing off on a similar increase for the Field that took effect in 2016. It cost $13 for Chicago adults and $18 for nonresidents before the 2016 price hike.
LeMonte Booker, the Field's chief financial officer, acknowledged the museum's financial hardships in recent years. The Field laid off staff a few years ago, and a former middle manager notoriously embezzled nearly $1 million in Field membership fees before getting caught in 2015.
But Field attendance rose substantially last year, buoyed by a popular exhibit on the "Terracotta Warriors" of ancient China, Booker said. The Field will debut a 28-foot-long titanosaur cast replacing Sue the T.rex in its entrance hall next year after receiving a $16.5 million gift from billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, the richest person in Illinois.
"We're proud of progress we made, but the Field Museum must invest in its future for a number of pressing needs," Booker told the park board Wednesday. "We’ll remain reasonably priced in Chicago as compared to other museums."
Like other lakefront museums, the Field Museum hosts 52 free days annually, which the museum says costs $5.6 million in potential income. The museum said it employs 130 scientists who conduct original research.
The Field Museum's request must be approved by the park board because the museum sits on park land. The board recently signed off on price increases for other Downtown museums, including the Art Institute and Shedd Aquarium.
Children under 3 years old will still get in free. Chicago children 3-11 will pay $15, up from $13 now. Chicago senior citizens, 65 years and older, will pay $11, up from $9 now.
Nonresident children ages 3-11 will pay $21, up from $19 now. Nonresident seniors will pay $17, up from $15 now.