Chicago, IL

What to do in Chicago this summer? Head to the suburbs to visit this gem of a museum

Jennifer Geer

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Oak Brook is a one-of-a-kind museum showcasing an enchanting assortment of gemstones, carvings, fossils, and other treasures.

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The Castle LizzadroPhoto by author

(CHICAGO) If you'd like to beat the heat on a hot summer day and check out something a little off the beaten path, you can find something for everyone at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art.

Whether you're into rocks, meteorites, fossils, 3D art, earth sciences, animals (in the form of little carved animal shapes placed in dioramas), or shopping for fine art and jewelry in the gift shop, this museum has it all.

The museum moved about two years ago from its longtime home in Elmhurst to a one-story, handicap-accessible, and much larger building in Oak Brook.

I recently checked out the new location in Oak Brook with my family, and we were not disappointed.

When we stepped inside, the staff was very friendly and gave us the rundown on the new building and where to find popular exhibits, like the Lizzadro Castle and the Jade Pagoda.

What is Lapidary Art?

According to the Lizzadro website, "Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing stone. Lapidary has its roots in prehistory, as early humans began fashioning tools and weapons from stone. In time, these techniques were also used for items of personal adornment. Stone carving evolved as an art in many cultures throughout the world."

What's in the museum?

Step into the Lizzadro Museum, and you will find intricately carved jade statues and figurines, interactive displays for kids, fossil specimens, meteorites, loose gemstones, and many other treasures.

The stunning Altar of the Green Jade Pagoda is the largest jade carving outside of China. The carving is five feet tall and made up of over 1,000 intricately carved pieces.

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The Altar of the Green Jade PagodaPhoto by author

Another popular exhibit, the Castle Lizzadro, is an 18K gold castle resting on a large slab of Brazilian agate. Kids will enjoy an interactive display where they can play a game to learn more about rocks and minerals.

Finally, the museum is currently hosting a special exhibit of 14 carved agate cameos from Germany that tell the story of Faust.

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Azurite Sun from AustraliaPhoto by author

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Angel wing calcitePhoto by author

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Fossilized conifer woodPhoto by author

What are the details?

Location: 1220 Kensington Road in Oak Brook (about 20 miles west of Chicago.) Parking is free.

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and Sundays 12 PM to 4 PM. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admissions prices:

  • Adults: $10
  • Seniors (60+) $8
  • Children 7-12: $5
  • Children 6 and under: Free

Walk-ins are allowed, or you can reserve tickets in advance online.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL
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