Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago closed its Wilmette location Sept. 4 and is gearing up for a grand reopening in Glenview Oct. 20.
At 46,700 square feet, the new facility doubles the amount of public museum space and provides the opportunity to develop outdoor exhibits and nature areas, which were not an option in Wilmette.
"From the 16 brand-new interactive exhibits to expanded program rooms for field trips and outreach classes, the new facility is full of exciting surprises designed to educate, inspire and delight young visitors," says Sheridan Turner, museum president and CEO.
Guests will also find 200 free parking spaces, a separate bus parking lot and field trip entrance, a new café and an education store.
The new site will have expanded versions of popular exhibits such as the Hands-on House, where children can put up walls and tile a roof. But instead of only soft-sculpture panels, kids can now choose wood, brick or stucco. Junior decorators can also landscape and select wallpaper and carpeting. The Dominick’s Finer Foods Grocery Store has also been expanded and anchors the new McCormick Tribune Main Street, a child-size town center. Stop for "lunch" at the new Potbelly Sandwich Works play café, where kids can prepare their own make-believe sandwich creations.
Designers made the new building environmentally friendly and expect to receive a silver-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Whenever possible, designers used locally produced or recycled building materials.
This concern for the environment is echoed in another new exhibit, Nature Explorers, where kids learn about recycling, as well as plant and animal metamorphosis and camouflage.
"If I could have dreamt of the perfect opportunity, this would be it," Turner says. "The new site affords us to plan and build the museum from the ground up, designing every aspect to create an enjoyable and educational environment for children aged birth to 8."
Kohl Children’s Museum’s new address is 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. The grand opening kicks off with a "Planes on Parade" celebration at 10 a.m. Oct. 22. The parade will head down Tower Drive in the Glen Town Center and end up at the new museum. For more information on the museum, call (847) 832-6600 or visit www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org.