Kids. They grow up so quickly, creating a huge logistical problem for children's museums, as they must constantly come up with new children to display. Get through the door while the current crop is still fresh with today's Groupon: for $40, you get a punch card good for 10 admissions to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier, a $100 value. Each punch equals one adult or child admission (normally $10, toddlers under one are free) and can be shared among a group. For example, a mother with two children would be three punches, and a father bringing in three children standing on each other's shoulders inside an oversized trench coat would be either two or four punches, depending on how well they pull it off.
The CCM occupies 57,000 square feet of blossoming exploration grounds at Navy Pier. There are 15 permanent exhibits in addition to the constantly rotating special exhibits spread over three floors. Move! is the most recent special exhibit, and it features large-scale components that can be twisted and turned into limitless configurations, creating a play space built and rebuilt by its youthful inhabitants. There are also a variety of permanent exhibits to challenge and inspire young minds. Stop by Kids Town, the simulated urban neighborhood complete with a grocery store and CTA bus. Budding archeologists can recreate a historic dig in Dinosaur Expedition, and junior art enthusiasts can compare their easel and drywall masterpieces to works of their peers at the Artabounds Gallery.
In addition to the free-form discovery exhibits, the museum provides dozens of planned activities for more-focused fun. Arts learning activities give kids a chance to create a masterpiece in a collaborative atmosphere. Early learning activities are designed to captivate infants and children under five. Other family-friendly general activities feature innovative programs that challenge, inspire, and amuse. With its one-two combination of programs and exhibitions, the museum offers a thought-provoking tandem of stimulating activities for whippers of all snapper.
- The 1,500-square-foot "Move" exhibit features 70 large-scale pieces of lightweight plastic that kids can twist, turn and connect together to create a space to play in. Kids can build tunnels, make a "spaceship" or create abstract shapes. – Celeste Busk, Chicago Sun-Times
- The target audience of this attraction will love the place. Designed to challenge the imaginations of toddlers through to 10-year-olds, the colorful and lively museum near the main entrance to Navy Pier gives its wee visitors enough hands-on exhibits to keep them climbing and creating for hours. – Lonely Planet
Three TripAdvisors give it 4.5 owl eyes:
- We took our 18-months old son and he had a blast! My son was a little too little for some of the activities/projects, but he still had plenty to do. And I did not see even one kid that was not having fun. – HarajukuGirl74
Chicago Children's Museum
The word "museum" may suggest a world behind glass—except at Chicago Children's Museum, where pint-sized visitors freely touch and tinker, build and dismantle, and experiment and explore in an array of interactive exhibits. Located on Navy Pier, CCM remains the city's sole cultural institution dedicated to children and experiential discovery. The museum's 30-year legacy has kept visitors engaged from early ages so they can develop a lifelong curiosity for learning. Stretching across three floors, CCM invites guests to participate in a staged paleontological dig, create art projects, tinker in a workshop, work in a fire station, dam up a river, or a take the driver's seat in a kid-size CTA bus. On a given afternoon, scores of kids can be found climbing, splashing, pretending, or building. There's even the famed Skyline exhibit, which explores the physics that magically hold up Chicago's mighty skyscrapers, exploring how architects came up with the idea to use steel—a rare substance plucked from the mighty armpits of Atlas.