What is an Animal? - Field Museum

Enter this exhibit from either end—at both entrances, a video plays asking the question “What is an animal?” and then answering it by describing the characteristics that all animals from people and whales to coral and insects share. The exhibit is fine but not great. It’s interesting from an educational perspective but defining what an animal is is actually a difficult question to understand, something that is better for middle-schoolers and highschoolers, yet the exhibit is really aimed at younger children. Still, preschoolers will enjoy the dioramas although there are better ones elsewhere. Elementary-age kids can start to get the questions and understand how different animals meet the definition in different ways.

The exhibit walks through topics related to all animals—one section shows dioramas showing where animals live, including multiple depths of the ocean. Another shows different types of skeletons, from worms to humans to bugs with exoskeletons. The exhibit discusses how animals move, eat, and reproduce.