There are lots of reasons to feel lucky to live in Chicagoland, and our three excellent children’s museums are at the top of the list. Thanks to relaxed schedules (and the need for some non-classroom learning), summer is the perfect time to explore these local gems. And while you’re there, check out their newest exhibits! All three are free with museum admission.
Building forts is a hallmark of childhood—and the inspiration behind the museum’s “Forts” exhibit. Kids can use their imaginations to build the fort of their dreams, with the help of construction materials that are a bit more exotic than what you have at home (we’re looking at you, couch cushions). Of course, while they’re constructing, they’re also learning problem solving skills, working with other kids … and having a ball.
Through Sept. 17. 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000
School may be out for the summer, but you don’t want your kids to lose their hard-earned STEM skills. Enter “Science + You,” a returning exhibit (it was here back in 2011) that explores how scientists impact our health and wellness. The kid-sized laboratory is stocked with hands-on items like microscopes, test tubes and a glove box, not to mention some downright adorable mini-lab coats. Just try not to take a picture! #futurescientist.
Through Aug. 27. 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. (847) 832-6600
Water tables are always a big hit at children’s museums, but the brand new “AWEsome Water” really makes a splash. The long-awaited exhibit shows kids the power of water, letting them experiment to come up with some creative solutions and popping a few bubbles along the way. You might want to bring along a change of clothes for your littles—they’re going to want to get up-close-and-personal with this one!
301 N. Washington St., Naperville. (630) 637-8000