Chicago audio tour: ARCHIVED [30/08/19]: Scenery and Science in a Physics Wonderland

ARCHIVED [30/08/19]: Scenery and Science in a Physics Wonderland

Driving Tour

30 mins

About the Tour

Love science? Don't miss a chance to tour Fermilab, the premier particle physics lab in the United States! Come visit the herd of bison, snap photos at the sci-fi-looking bubble chamber, and marvel at the past and present experiments that explore the smallest components of our universe. We'll explain the awesome science that unravels how our world works and take in the beautiful art, scenery, history, and wildlife that make Fermilab such an amazing place.

***Operating handheld devices such as smartphones while driving is prohibited on the Fermilab site. Please set up your audio tour before you begin operating your vehicle.

Tour Producer



Fermilab is a particle physics laboratory in Illinois. Our mission is to advance the understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy. We are open 365 days a year. Come visit and explore our science, arts program, and wildlife.

Major Landmarks

  • Wilson Hall

  • bison herd

  • bubble chamber

  • Margaret Pearson Interpretive Trail

  • Broken Symmetry sculpture

  • Tractricious sculpture

  • Lederman Science Center

Directions to Starting Point

From I-88, take the Farnsworth exit and head north. Continue onto Kirk Road, then make a right on Pine Street to enter the site. To enter the Fermilab site, you will need some sort of ID, such as a driver's license. You can also enter the site via bike paths.

The tour will start in the large parking lot on the west side of the 16-story high-rise, Wilson Hall, which can be seen from most of the site. Guards at the entrances can provide directions to Wilson Hall if you need them. To get to the parking lot, follow the reflecting pond toward Wilson Hall and make a right at the end. This leads into the large parking lot. Feel free to park anywhere, unless there is a reserved sign for particular groups. Restrooms are available on the ground floor of Wilson Hall and easily accessible from the parking lot.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

There are plenty of places to pause the tour and look around. Before you start (or at the end), swing by Wilson Hall to check out the soaring atrium and exhibits, second floor art gallery, and fifteenth floor viewing areas. If you're hungry, pay a visit to the cafeteria. There are also free tours of different experiments throughout the month that you can sign up for. Depending on when you visit, there are also lectures and art performances. More details here:

Elsewhere on the tour, you may wish to stop and visit our most popular attraction, the bison; go birdwatching at Lake Law; get up close to the bubble chamber; hike the Margaret Pearson Interpretive Trail; or check out the store and interactive exhibits at the Lederman Science Center (fun for kids). Fermilab is also a great place for fishing and bike riding, and has an off-leash dog area. To learn more about Fermilab, visit, or follow @Fermilab on social media.

Best time of day

Fermilab's site is open to visitors from 8 am to 6 pm from November through March and 8 am to 8 pm the rest of the year. If you're planning to visit the Lederman Science Center or Wilson Hall (atrium, art gallery, or 15th floor), check the open hours:

Keep in mind that Fermilab is a working lab, so many employees will be arriving between 8 and 9, getting lunch around noon, and leaving between 4 and 6. You may experience a small amount of traffic at these times. Fermilab is particularly beautiful around sunrise and sunset. During the day, an ideal time is probably around 10am: roads are clear, buildings are open, and the lab is bustling.


Keep an eye out for wildlife! Greater sandhill cranes, geese, coyotes, and other creatures are often spotted on or near roads. Make sure to follow all road signs (including authorized personnel only signs), respect the cyclists and pedestrians that share our roads, and enjoy the trip! Make sure to drive the speed limit or below, otherwise the tour audio may not function correctly.


Not what I expected but extremely interesting. I got a feeling of nefarious scientists up to no good. But the bison were everything. Classic tour by car. 🥰

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 1 year ago

Great tour! Content rich yet brief explanations. Well written.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 2 years ago
ARCHIVED [30/08/19]: Scenery and Science in a Physics Wonderland