2100 Patriot Boulevard
Monday 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. June – Aug.)
Tues. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.
Members and Children Under 1: Free
Adults and Children: $8.50
Grandparents and Seniors (55 and older): $7.50
The Kohl Children’s Museum is the perfect spot for kids under 8. First off, it’s a great size and parking is conveniently adjacent to the building. The museum offers a fantastic array of exhibits all catering perfectly to the munchkin set and is laid out smartly so that you don’t waste all day going up and down elevators or searching for hidden treasures.
When we came to the museum for the first time over Memorial Day weekend, we checked out the price and decided to get an upgraded family membership. For $110, our family can now go to the Kohl’s Children’s Museum and the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier (plus dozens of other kiddie museums across the country) for free all year long.
There’s a great mini-Cosi café when you enter the museum, perfect for a quick cup of coffee or snack, but don’t try to bring the food into the exhibit area!
As I mentioned, there are a TON of great exhibits perfect for kids under 5. Below is a quick overview of a few of the museum’s current offerings. Warning: I took my 2-year-old to the museum, so you are going to be getting a bit of his perspective thrown into the mix.
The entrance to the museum is fashioned into a mini-Main Street, full of real world recreations miniaturized for our kids. A few highlights:
Potbelly Sandwich Works
This literally has to be the cutest thing on the planet. It’s a little Potbelly’s all set up for kids to be able to make the sandwiches and ring the orders up on registers. There are even little aprons for the mini-chefs to wear while they create sandwiches using toy bread, meat, cheese, and condiments and roll them through a toy convection oven. Of course there are also mops and brooms so kids can pretend to clean up the messes made by others. My toddler loved turning the wheel for the convection oven, he would have sat there for hours, although at times I had to jump in to protect him from some eager 6-year-olds.
Little shopping carts, check. Little cash registers set up for little hands to swipe products and key in produce codes, check. TONS of play food, check. Heavily branded? You bet. I didn’t mind the Dominick’s branding, however, since they obviously provided such a wonderful little super market for my peanut to enjoy. Kids were going bananas pushing their carts and loading them up with all types of groceries. The area was well staffed to keep chaos organized.
Boys will be boys. A few fun car racing tracks, a cool exhibit on different terrains and a super-fun car wash let road-warriors-to-be get a hands-on taste of driving life. The exhibit definitely brings out a tad of aggression so be sure to watch out for the little ones.
Outside of Main Street are a number of other wonderful exhibits. Below are some of my favorites.
Bring an extra set of clothes if you have a little one who loves to splash! This area is awesome, but messy. This spot teaches kids all about water, from it’s scientific properties, to how it can be used in art. My two-year-old just loved carting toy sailboats all around and splashing and dumping water to his heart’s content. Hence the wish for some extra clothes.
So many great opportunities for your kids to make music in this fun exhibit! Little ones can mix together their own blends of harmony, melody and rhythm to form their own masterpiece, they can bang on drums and pluck guitar strings to experience vibration changes, and they can use soft sculpture pegs to create their own music box. Music Makers is a fantastic exhibit that does more than lets kids play, it helps children understand what music is and how it is made.
Hands On House
Watch out for falling rocks! Well, maybe just watch them, they are just beanbags after all. Kids can pick up wheelbarrows full of these “rock” and use a pulley to get them to the top of the home construction site. The rocks then playfully slide down the roof back into parked wheelbarrows or your head, whichever is waiting. Kids can also pretend to paint and hang siding in this amazing space which will rev up your little construction worker or decorator in no time.