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Chicago Children's Museum

700 East Grand Avenue, at Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois 60611-3428 | (312) 527-1000
22 Reviews
Type: Museums & Monuments
Ages: All Ages
Cost: $$
Hours of operation: 10am-5pm daily; also 5-8pm Thursdays (free family night)

In October 1995, CCM opened as anchor tenant of Chicago's redeveloped Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. The 57,000 square foot facility has served as a springboard to propel CCM to make an important difference in the learning lives of kids. With three floors of engaging and educational exhibits, a full array of public programs and special events, CCM strives to effectively meet the needs of its diverse audience.

Participating member of Association of Children's Museums; so if you have a reciprocating membership  to a participating museum, it will be free to get in.    
Thursdays are Kraft Free Family Night.    
Target first free Mondays*: First Monday of every month      
Free admission all day for ages 15 and under; *changing to Target First Free Sundays, May 3, 2009.  


22 Reviews for Chicago Children's Museum

November 01 2013
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun museum where kids learn through play!"

The first time that I visited the Chicago Children's Museum was when my older daughter was 5 - about 12 years ago - and I can't remember many of the details. This past summer I had the opportunity to visit again with my younger daughter a few days before her 10th birthday and I honestly didn't believe that there would be anything there of interest to her.  We were visiting along with another mom and her 5 year-old though and my daughter was fine with going along.

Much to my surprise, she loved it and had a great time playing there although it probably helped that she was with a young friend. We didn't have a lot of time but they explored all the exhibits at least briefly. They loved playing on the Family Climbing Schooner and in the WaterWays, Big Backyard and Treehouse Trails exhibits. My daughter is a collector so she also enjoyed seeing all of the tiny treasures in Michael's Museum.

I was completely impressed by the museum. It's bright, colourful, so much larger than I remembered and has so many hands-on learning exhibits that kids will be entertained for as long as the visit lasts. It may not be the top choice for families with older school-age kids but with mixed ages it is possible to visit without worrying that the older kids will be bored.

I visited the Chicago Children's Museum on a media pass but opinions are, as always, my own.

March 10 2013
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Hands-On Fun!"

There is lots of hands-on fun to be had at the Chicago Children's Museum.  The kids loved being able to pretend they were Chicago Firefighters.  I took so many photos of my son in his uniform pretending to drive the truck, sliding down the pole and put out the "burning" house.  There was little seating available, but I was ok with it because I was busy chasing my kids to get the perfect picture.

The kids also had fun pretending to be in the circus.  They loved working the ticket booth, being the ringmaster and the strongest person.  The props they had were hilarious.  My daughter had fun pretending to lift the 2000 lb weights over her head.  It was hilarious!  Since this is a popular area, the employees had to limit the amount of kids who entered it to a certain number for safety reasons.

There were plenty of employees available to help answer questions, supervise and facilitate learning.   On the upper level of the museum, the employees coordinated an alphabet adventure in which the kids had to obtain a passport and search for all 26 letters of the alphabet throughout the upper level.  Once found, the kids would get stamped after answering a few age-based trivia questions.  The kids had fun running around getting their stamps.

The upper level also had the Dino Dig site.  The children pretended to be paleontologists digging for dinosaur bones.  We just finished visiting Sue the Dinosaur at the Field Museum earlier that week, so my kids were still on a dinosaur hype.

There was so much more fun to be had in the water section and building blocks, among others, but we were worn out and didn't have a change of clothing.  The next time we attend, we will make sure to come prepared!

November 05 2012
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Kids love this spacious, interactive museum"

Since we were at Navy Pier for their Halloween Party with young children (2-years-old and 10 months),  we thought it would be perfect to check out the Chicago Children's Museum.

Nitty gritty: Located at  Navy Pier, admission is $12 for children and adults; kids under 1 are free, but don't forget to check their website for coupons. There is an attached parking lot that costs $25. The museum has plenty of amenities that caters to families. There is a semi-private nursing station located upstairs in the tot area and there are nursing chairs located throughout the museum. Have a bottle instead? Ask the staff for a bottle warmer.
Though there is no place to purchase food, there is a snack section on the third floor if you want to bring food. There are changing tables located in each bathroom.

The fun: There are three floors of fun dedicated to children. (Tip: The main entrance is located on the second floor of Navy Pier.) There are plenty exhibits to keep the kids entertained. The current exhibit highlights all the fun things kids can do with cardboard boxes. Kids can also pretend to be a firefighter by donning a fireman uniform or driving a fire engine or play with water in the huge water room.  The big hit with my two-and-a-half year old was digging for dinosaur bones. Since the area was huge (almost the entire room), it didn't feel crowded at all even though there were many children there. I also couldn't tear him away from the musical slide.

It's usually hard to find activities for non-walkers, but I didn't have that problem here. My little one was having so much fun crawling in the padded non-crawler designated section in the gated Kids Town. I just wish the museum had more non-walker sections.

We were here on a Saturday afternoon and it was busy. We love that the museum is so spacious that it didn't feel crowded. We spent a few hours and still didn't see everything.

Bottom line: We really enjoy coming here, and will make sure to come here when our 10-month-old is older. We would come here on their free days or when we have a discount, since it is a bit pricey.

Disclosure: Although we were given complimentary tickets, the views expressed are my own.

February 13 2013
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Toddlers love it just fine"

My 1.5 year old and 3.75 year old both loved it. What was unique about it was that it was for more than just toddlers and preschoolers, which I think is great. There was still plenty for my little kids to do, and there were good hands on opportunities for my preschooler to learn. Little kids don't need a lot to be amused, so though they can't do everything, they are entertained just fine with the many things that are available. There is an art lab downstairs where you have to get one of the few tickets available one hour prior to the activity. Get there early to get the ticket! The water area is sooo wet, that despite the great raincoats, I needed an entire new outfit for the 1.5 year old. The two toddler rooms were a great space where I could sit back and both kids were free and safe to wander around.

I can't compare it to the many children's museums in the suburbs, but there is a bus that takes you right to the Navy Pier building where this museum is. There is a food court downstairs within the building, and if it's not too cold, a ferris wheel and other attractions outside. I went twice in the one week I was in Chicago. It's still not as good as Philly's Please Touch Museum, but it was far better than the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

March 23 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Something for everyone!"

Every time we go to visit my brother in Chicago, we go to the Children's Museum. There is so much to do there that you'd be hard pressed to get it all done in a dozen visits! I love how there are stations for every age group- even the crawlers and non crawlers. They truly have some innovative activities. We love the butterfly and pebbles screens. We also love the water room! Regardless of age, ability or interests, every child will find several things that appeal to them. I just love learning while playing!

Jenmiller
Jenmiller
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January 25 2011
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Chilrens Museum Chicago ILL"

My oldest daughter and I got a chance to come to this museum on a field trip with the school. The price was very reasonable 5.00 a person and we rode on the school bus, Make sure to pack a sack lunch for you and the children though. The exhibits were awesome and there was a great deal of hands on things for the children to do. We had so much fun here I am already planning another trip so her and I can have a mother daughter day of fun. Plus she said she really really liked it here and she has never said that about a museum before. Greatly recommend visiting here if you have the chance it is well worth it!

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xLillyxX
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January 11 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great!"

Super fun! I had so much fun & so did the people I went with! I cannot wait until I go again! All the activites are so much fun! The gift shops are great & so are the resturants! So much fun to spend your day here! You will have a great time being here!

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brenduh
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January 11 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Best childrens museum "

My family and i visited the chicago childrens museum and i have to say that it is the best childrens museum that we have ever gone to. Everything is hands on and children as well as adults will have hours of fun playing with everything this museum has to offer. It truly makes learning fun!

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SHayesMiller
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great fun - a little spendy"

One of the best Children’s Museums that we’ve ever been to!  You could spend days exploring this Museum and still have lots of exhibits left unexplored at the end of the day.  The admission to get in is a little steep in my opinion, but there are frequently deals and specials out there that you can take advantage of to get the price down.  Be careful of attending on a “free” day though, as the crowds that you will encounter will likely make the experience much more negative than what you would experience on any other day.

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swillcox
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"SO MUCH FUN"

We take weekend trips to Chicago just to go take the kids to the different museums.  What's fun is that it is great for all the different kids - we have birth-10.  You can spend a lot of time here and it is really educational.  I felt like it was a little expensive, but just stay away from the food court - way pricey!  There is lots to do in Chicago and since this was pretty busy I would say, go if you haven't been but you probably won't go again and agian.

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jsepulveda
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January 17 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"I'm 32 and love this place!"

This museum isn't just for kids, it's for adults too!  There is so much to see and do, you simply cannot do it all in one trip with kids.  VERY child friendly, VERY fun, and VERY educational as well.  Any chance my kids get to go here, they jump at it.  Enjoy!

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chriskim1
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great for all ages"

This museum is right on Navy Pier. We took our 18 month old and there were plenty of features for her to enjoy. The water room is the best by far. They give the kids rain coats and have adult ones too - and there are all kinds of fountains, water wheels, boats, chutes, etc. that the water rund through. Our little one loved it!

Shanahan
Shanahan
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun museum with a unique building area"

I didn't expect a whole lot when I went to the Children's Museum with my son (almost 3), having read some other reviews.  We visited on a Monday, midday, and it was packed with school children who were there for a field trip.  It's not a large place to begin with, but when you squeeze a couple bus loads of kids into it, getting around to various exhibits can be a challenge.
We managed to find places where the schools kids weren't swarming, and my son loved the museum.  
He had a great time playing with the fire engine, jumping around a room with odd shapes and structures for balancing/climbing, but the best part was the upper floor.  There is a large area for building skyscrapers, buildings, or whatever else you could come up with.  It probably is better suited for kids 5 and up, but my son could have spent the whole day there (with a little help putting some of the wooden poles together with nuts and bolts).

gust415
gust415
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Could have been fun..."

We accidently planned the trip to the childrens museum on a free day! It was nice to get in for free but the lines were long and it was SO crowded. I was stress the whole time trying to keep my eyes on the kids. They wanted to play with all of the neat stuff there but had a hard time doing so. I would love to go back when it's not so busy... maybe call ahead?

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great fun for the kids!"

The kids will love playing at this museum! Right on Navy Pier, there's plenty for kids to do. They can make music, dig for dinosaur bones, go bowling, play restraunt, climb, and so much more! We had 6 adults trying to keep up with the 2 boys we took, and everyone had a blast!

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Love it!"

We love the Children's Musuem at Navy Pier.  We make a whole day of it and it is such a treat for the kids.  There is so much to do no matter the child's age, from crawlers to probably about 12 years old.  My son loves to go from exhibit to exhibit and everything is interactive and ready to be played with.  It is more of a play area than a museum.  It is expensive but they do have free days usually.  

Travelingmom
Travelingmom
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December 23 2010
2 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"not for Toddlers"

This was a frustrating experience for my toddler.  First of all, there is a whole area for toddlers.  But everything is way too big!  The counters, play cars and buses are a good size, if you are about 7 to 9 years old!  The area is full of much older children, because everything is made for them.  I have never seen a toddler big enough to enjoy thing area.  They have several other areas that look enticing to young children.  But when you enter them, you quickly realize that it only looks cool.  There is nothing to do or interact with.  That said, we would go back because we have a reciprocal membership and it's free.  Plus, it's in a nice, small mall, with lots of fun stores, restaurants and a movie theater.  And it's all on the Navy Pier, which is certainly worth a visit.  If I had to pay an entrance fee though, for a toddler, I would skip it and drive out to the Dupage Children's Museum in Naperville.  If you do go, however, there are many buses that drop you off right at the front door.

chich
chich
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Too advanced for 2-3 year olds"

I had high expectations for this museum given that it's the primary children's museum in Chicago. But, I was very disappointed. This museum is much more suitable for older kids and doesn't have too much for my 2.5 year old.

The museum has a lot of great displays for older kids, but for a kid who wants to touch and try everything, there were way too many things behind plexiglass that were meant as displays, not as things to play with.

They have a room for toddlers and infants with a sand table, natural musical instruments and other things to touch. My little guy found a couple straw boxes that were actually relatively fragile when you try to bang them together.

The construction area was too advanced for him. The water area was okay but he couldn't reach a bunch of the stuff. The outdoor bubble area would have been fun had they had more wands that weren't broken.

The only saving grace of the museum for us was an area with a bus that he could drive and ride. Then again, maybe we should have just taken some bus rides around the city.

Bottom line: if you're in the area with your 2-3 year old, skip this museum and save your money. The boats and other attractions on Navy Pier are probably going to be a lot more interesting for everyone.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun for the little ones"

The museum takes advantage of the building’s twin-towered Headhouse with exhibits that use the full 50 feet of space from floor to tower ceiling. One tower has pipes, pumps, locks, and all manner of water propulsion.

The other tower houses the Inventing Lab, where kids make their own flying machines and then test their creations’ aerodynamics by cranking up a conveyor belt to hoist the machines to the top of the tower and letting them go.

One of the more popular exhibits is the hospital. Youngsters can handle medical instruments, X rays, kid-size crutches, and a model skeleton.

The cab of a real ambulance features a flashing light and a dispatch radio. In the excavation pit you can dig for dinosaur bones.

A special play area called Play- Maze is reserved for kids age 6 or younger (plus accompanying parents). Its wooded rural setting contains a log cabin, with cast-iron stove and other furnishings, and a tree house.

Nearby is a “baby pit” filled with soft toys and encircled by 2-foot-high padded walls, restricted to children no older than 18 months. An urban setting lets kids pretend to be shopkeepers.

teammom
teammom
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun, but tends to be very busy"

This is a fun museum with a lot of interesting displays that my children really loved, the climbing ship, art room, dinosaur dig and fishing room were some of their favorites.  Being on Navy Pier is nice as you can check out other attractions there, but beware It is big, with three floors and usually very very busy.  Not a musuem where you can sit in the room and watch children explore, it is typically packed and thus must stand by your children at all times.  

 
 

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