I've been visiting the DuPage Children's Museum with my kids for years, and one of my only gripes with this wonderful place was the lack of a café. That changed recently, when the museum opened up the 60-seat S.M.A.R.T. Café, filled with healthy food choices and learning opportunities for kids.
"We thought if we provided a café experience with a SMART (science, math, art, reading and technology) theme and allowed kids to choose a balanced lunch for themselves, we could incorporate the healthy food lifestyle into those choices," says Bri Bromberek, marketing manager for the museum.
To that end, all of the children's meal options are free of nitrates, antibiotics and preservatives. There are peanut-free and gluten-free options, as well as organic milk and sugar-free juice.
"It lets parents be able to know that whatever choice their kids make will be a healthy one," Bromberek says.
The SMART theme comes alive in the café's décor, where food becomes an opportunity for kids to learn about things such as science and math. For example, the transfer of heat when cooking food is science, measuring a recipe is math and sculpting fruit is art.
The café is in the lower level. There will be a separate eating area for families who bring their own lunches, but vending machines have been removed.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.