3 great museums for kids with special needs to play

We’re big believers in the philosophy that playtime is for everyone—and fortunately, Chicagoland’s biggest and best children’s museums seem to agree. These award-winning spots have created special opportunities for kids with special needs to come and play, without fear of judgment or any lack of accessibility.

Chicago Children’s Museum’s Play for All invites families to come a little early on a Saturday for some special time in the museum. The entire museum is wheelchair accessible, and assistive devices, like sound-reducing headphones and personal museum schedules, are available at the front desk. For kids with developmental disabilities, download a Storybook Guide or Therapeutic Play Guide from the website to help structure your visit. Registration for Play for All is required, and admission is free for the first 250 visitors.

Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000.

Kohl Children’s Museum takes pride in its multi-sensory experiences, which allow all guests with any level of physical, visual, auditory and cognitive ability to experience the museum (all indoor and outdoor spaces are also ADA-compliant). In addition, it’s worked with community organizations such as hospitals and therapy providers, to create Everyone at Play, Sunday morning opportunities for kids with special needs to play in calm, creative, collaborative ways.

Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. (847) 832-6600.

In the Western suburbs, DuPage Children’s Museum has a specially designed respite room for kids with special needs who might need a sensory break as well as adaptive equipment. On Third Thursdays, the museum designates special time for families of children with special needs, including mobility and visual impairments. Accommodations are made so that all kids can participate in activities, and there are additional resources to help visitors shape their visits.

DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. (630) 637-8000.

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