Chicago Children’s Museum

Chicago Children's Museum
Flickr Credit: Gochicagocard.com

Adult fun is pretty great (no, not that kind of adult fun). Ya know, booze, bars, fancy restaurants, and live theater, we really do get to indulge in some pretty fantastic things. But, if you’ve got them, the kiddies should get to have some fun, too. While Chicago is a culinary capital, home to a wealth of theater and culture, and a destination to enjoy legendary sports teams, the city is actually quite kid-friendly. Besides the multitude of parks and playgrounds, even street festivals and large concert festivals like Lollapalooza have kid-dedicated activities. But if you really want to let the little ones burn some energy for the day, the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier is where it’s at.

The museum was founded in 1982 in response to the city’s extreme budget cutbacks at Chicago public schools. The museum moved to Navy Pier in 1995 and has since been a permanent destination for school groups and curious children. With 11 permanent exhibits and multiple other activities to explore, the family is sure to be entertained for hours.

For your little city dweller, take a visit to the Skyline and Kids Town exhibits. Skyline helps teach kids about the engineering that goes into creating our city’s largest buildings and even lets them design their own skyscraper. Kids Town allows kids to understand a little bit about living an adult life in the city; they’ll get to drive a CTA bus, change a tire, and do everyday activities like shop at the grocery store. (A personal favorite for Jackie as a child. Funny how as she got older grocery shopping lost its appeal.) The “urban neighborhood” is designed for kids 5 and under. Then step into “BIG backyard”, a garden exhibit designed to teach children about the urban landscape in which they live.

Once the kids tire of city life, try the Treehouse Trails exhibit, where they can explore life outdoors. The Kovler Family Climbing Schooner gives children an insight into life at sea as they climb aboard a large ship. And if they’re big on water, head over to Waterways afterward and learn more about water and how people have used it to create energy in the past. The exhibit also explains how water is present in our life through the explanation of dams, pipes, and more.

The majority of the exhibits are interactive to help your little tike learn by doing. At Dinosaur Exhibition they can learn what it is like to uncover the bones of these ancient creatures. Does your kiddo really want to be a firefighter when he grows up? He can practice in Play it Safe, an exhibit featuring fire safety. At Kraft Artabounds Studio and Gallery you can see art by children and families.

Also, look out for temporary exhibits that might interest your little ones. (Or even you, surprisingly.) The museum also has an exhibit in O’Hare International Airport, so be sure to check it out during a long layover or if your flight is delayed.

The museum also offers birthday parties in conjunction with Navy Pier.

Basic Info:
Address: 700 E. Grand Avenue at Navy Pier
Phone: (312) 464-8249
Website: www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org

Getting There:
Bus: #2, 29, 65, 66, 120, 121, 124
Driving: From Lake Shore Drive, exit at Navy Pier, Grand Avenue exit. Parking is available at Navy Pier.

Admission Hours & Prices:

Everyday 10am-5pm
Free Thursday evenings 5pm-8pm

**Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

Adults & Children $10.00
Seniors $9.00
Children under one Free
Members Free

View Chicago Children’s Museum in a larger map

Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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