You won't hear anyone say, "Don't touch the artwork" at the DuPage Children's Museum. In fact, their new exhibit "Animals in Artland: Wild Wings" encourages kids to touch, push, trace and rub all kinds of art.
From the moment we stepped off the elevator on the second floor, my sons were mesmerized by the giant "Ornithopter" which flapped its wings whenever someone triggered its motion sensor. But that was just the beginning.
For a relatively small exhibit, the designers have provided endless opportunities to learn and explore.
The kinetic sculptures gave my boys the chance to pump and crank different handles to make the artwork "fly." Being 4 and 5 years old, they thought making artwork move was the "coolest."
The museum's designers have also wisely provided "Can You Find It?" booklets to help kids explore on different levels, from finding individual colors to matching small portions of artwork. The books encouraged us to move around the exhibit to find its hidden secrets.
Anchoring the space is a giant wooden tree house that kids can climb into. At the top level they find binoculars they can use to spot many beautifully sculpted birds hanging high throughout the room. The "tree" was also filled with birds that sounded calls when squeezed.
My 4-year-old climbed and played happily for twenty minutes just in this space. Meanwhile my older son was fascinated with the light table, where he could combine parts from different animals to create his own creature. Inspired by the picture of a "Rhinomingo" he made his own "Elebear."
In addition to interacting with the works of professional artists, my sons happily made their own art. They loved using the foam, plastic and wooden shapes to make their own birds and designing their own crayon rubbings.
As usual at the DuPage Children's Museum, staff and volunteers were everywhere to help kids make the most of their experience.
DuPage Children's Museum is located at 301 N. Washington St. in Naperville. General admission in $7.50 per person, $6.50 for ages 60 and over. Visit www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org or call (630) 637-8000 for more information.