Hours: Mon–Sat 9:30am – 5:00pm; Sun 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Admission: $9.50 per person, kids under the age of 1 are free
Parking: Free – plentiful
Our Experience: Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago offers 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to 8. We tried to visit them all, but you would really need to plan to spend the entire day to do that – there’s just SO MUCH to do! Here’s what we thought about the exhibits we did get to see:
Adventures in Art: I was surprised to see that the art studio at the museum was fairly large. We were lucky when we visited the museum. because the Adventures in Art exhibit also housed the Eggs to Chicks exhibit (temporarily on display through May 13, 2013). My son was mesmerized watching the baby chicks take their first steps under the heat lamps, and all theAdventures in Art activities centered around the baby chicks. There were coloring sheets as well as educational activities for some of the older children.
All About Me: Unfortunately, we didn’t spend too much time at this exhibit as my son was immediately attracted to the large trains (part of the City on the Moveexhibit) on the other side of the room. There was, however, a pretty cool scale you could hop on to tell you how many gallons of milk you weighed, but with both my husband’s an my recent weight gain, we were a little scared to see how much we would amount to.
Baby Nursery: Again, we didn’t spend too much time here, but this exhibit allowed the kids to play “doctor” to some baby dolls. There were even some x-rays you could view on a light box that I thought was pretty neat.
Car Care: This was our first stop at the museum. My toddler loved testing out the tracks with the numerous trucks the museum provided. He must’ve thought that was all we were there to do because he resisted when we tried to redirect him to some of the other activities this exhibit offered.
As a family, we enjoyed walking through the car wash together, although the look on my son’s face prompted my husband to say, “I think he would freak out if he was in the car and we were at a real car wash.” On this I most definitely agree with my husband – the noise would likely scare him! Overall, the trucks and race track in this exhibit delighted my son and we loved watching him have a blast!
City on the Move: We probably spent most of our time at this exhibit. How could we not, with the train-loving toddler we have?!?! I loved how this exhibit was centered around the city of Chicago with trains, skyscrapers, and the ability to create city scenes using shapes! (Although my toddler’s obsession with “order” only caused him to organize the shapes by both type and color – but he sure had fun doing it!)
The main draw of this exhibit for us was the giant train table – complete with holes in the center so kids could play from multiple angles. My son lovedit (possibly a little too much since he cried when it was time to go).
Cooperation Station: This was a fun one! One one activity, kids worked together – either by peddling, pushing buttons, or pulling handles – to inflate a balloon-like structure.
Dominick’s: This grocery store exhibit was a big hit for my son. He enjoyed pulling all his groceries off the shelf (just like mommy!) and pushing his grocery cart around the store. It was nice seeing my son act a little bit like a grown-up. And he got a kick out of all the different fruits and vegetables on display.
The best part of the exhibit for me, was watching my son interact with his “cashier”. I enjoyed watching my little one interact with a complete stranger – and the boy was a fantastic cashier!
Habitat Park: We visited the museum in the winter and, unfortunately, this exhibit is weather-dependent and was closed.
Hands On House: This was another exhibit that we saw, but just didn’t spend a lot of time on. Next time, for sure! Kids could participate in constructing a house and decorating it on the inside!
Nature Explorers: This exhibit allows kids to explore different plants and animals. My son had fun “digging” for different insects and worms (much to my dismay – I hate bugs!) He kept holding them up close to his eye to get a better view. Boys will be boys, I guess!
Pet Vet: This was another fun one! We have a dog at home so it was interesting to watch him care for the animals, brush them, and put them back in their crates. Just wish he’d show a little more interest at home.
Play Library: There were plenty of books for us to browse through, but she best part of the Play Library for us was the computer pre-loaded with my son’s favorite book, Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. I swear he can recite the entire book!
Potbelly Sandwich Works: We didn’t visit this exhibit on our visit because we were a bit pressed for time, but it looked like a fun one where kids could build their own sandwiches – just like at the restaurant!
Powered by Nature: Honestly, I don’t think we even noticed this one. From the pictures on the website, it looks like this was near the trains so, again, it’s really no surprise that we didn’t get to explore this one – we were too busy playing choo choo!
Ravinia Festival Music Makers: What kid doesn’t enjoy making noise?!?! There were so many instruments here and I think my son experimented with each and every one! But why his mouth was open in every single photo I took of him playing the drums is a mystery to me. Guess he was letting out his inner rock star! LOL
Water Works: Of course the water exhibit would be a favorite for most kids. It was a bit too “wet” for me because I was concerned that his clothes would be too wet to step back out in the cold weather, but my fears were unfounded as he was totally fine. Just mesmerized by the droplets of water falling from the many tubes in this exhibit.
Overall: We did have a great time at the Kohl Children’s Museum, BUT it was a little too crowded for my taste. Granted, we did visit on a Saturday morning, but I would probably prefer to visit during the week. We still have tons more to see at this museum so I’m sure we’ll be back real soon. For those of you that may be planning a visit, it might be helpful to know that there is a restaurant on-site, Cosi Café, that sells items like pizza and sandwiches.
Disclaimer: I received complimentary admission to the Kohl Children’s Museum to facilitate this review. However, all stories and experiences are 100% my own.