Chicago Children’s Museum

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With a mission focused on children, both those in the Chicago area and beyond, the Chicago Children’s Museum offers its visitors unlimited access to hands-on learning and fun through fifteen kid-centered permanent exhibitions as well as a rotating crop of fun programs and add-ons. Visitors to the Chicago area with children from babyhood through the ‘tween’ years should definitely include a trip to Chicago Children’s Museum on their agenda.

History

The Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) can trace its history back to the early 1980s when the city’s Junior League felt the need to respond to cutbacks in the city’s schools. Hoping to add a cultural and educational institution still focused on ‘fun’ outside of school to Chicago, what was then called Express-Ways Children’s Museum was formed. The museum initially used only two hallways of the Chicago Public Library and focused on simple exhibits such as ‘Getting to Know Hue’ which focused on sight, color, literature, and music.

CCM’s more spectacular items and exhibits were displayed in a travelling trunk show and other on-site, but rotating, exhibitions, as the museum proper moved around from location to location. CCM’s overwhelming popularity punctuated the need for a large, permanent home. As a result, an active search for a more suitable location was launched. The search finally concluded in 1995 when Chicago Children’s Museum was granted tenancy at the famous Navy Pier. The building, which includes 57,000 square feet of exhibition space, is three floors tall and able to handle the year-round crowds that the museum attracts.

Today, Chicago Children’s Museum is the fourth largest museum of its kind in the United States and the second highest in attendance. Hosting some 650,000 children, parents, friends, and educators each year, Chicago Children’s Museum is also among the most popular tourist and field trip attractions in the city.

In addition to offering great educational exhibits and travelling shows, CCM has also made a name for itself in the city through its philanthropic efforts. This includes both inclusive exhibits aimed at special needs children as well as extensive neighborhood investment. The goal of the later is to make the museum and the educational opportunities it offers available to all of Chicago’s children, regardless of circumstance.

Main Attraction

The Chicago Children’s Museum is open every day of the week, year round except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission rates are flat for children over one and adults, though corporate sponsors frequently offer free admission days to families and children under 15.

The Museum is divided into fifteen main exhibits, the most popular of which are:

  • Dinosaur Expedition which allows children to dig for dino bones at a mock excavation site,
  • Water Ways, a system of pulleys, pipes, and other materials designed to move water,
  • Kids Town, an exhibit focused on early learners and featuring pretend play,
  • Pritzker Playspace, which is reserved for babies and toddlers,
  • Play It Safe, an interactive area focused on fire safety,
  • Skyline, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which teaches about the engineering and technology behind Chicago’s tallest buildings.

There are several other exhibit areas appropriate for children of all ages as well as rotating programs such as family art workshops, scouting events, diversity and health and wellness programs, as well as workshops focused on the S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum.

Why It’s a Must-See

The Chicago Children’s Museum is so much more than just another educational opportunity for young people visiting and living in the Chicago-land area. This cultural institution is dedicated to making learning fun and instilling children with a sense of community where they may experience the joys of learning and discovery. Whether it is for a few hours or an entire day, the chance to learn and grow while enjoying themselves will thrill children and parents alike during a trip to the Chicago area.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

1. Purchase a ticket from the Chicago Children’s Museum when you get there.

2. .  .

3. Purchase as part of a money saving package. Popular examples to the right.

4. Purchase a Tourist pass. Chicago Children’s Museum is available on the Go Chicago Card.