Family Guide: Kohl Children’s Museum

Some of our favorite places in Chicagoland are where children can roam around freely as they learn at their own pace. At Kohl Children’s Museum, your entire family can spend the day exploring science, nature, music and art in the 17 engaging exhibits. Read our guide on all the best features at this exciting Glenview museum.


City on the Move

If your kids love trains, they’ll go choo choo over this exhibit. With the Chicago Landmark Mural as the backdrop, City on the Move introduces math and science activities focused on building shapes and patterns while learning about time and gravity. Not to mention, the train table is also bigger and better than ever with a toddler train section.

Water Works

Splish, splash! This station provides visitors with an assortment of levers, buttons and spinners to have fun with water. From building boats to launching balls using water pressure, Water Works allows children to experiment with the innovative machines as they learn about cause and effect relationships. Aprons are also available to help keep those clothes dry.

Ravinia Festival Music Makers

Make some noise at the Ravinia Festival Music Makers exhibit. Discover how sounds make music with a variety of instruments offered. Your musicians-in-training can strike the bolts of a xylophone, tap the drums and dance away as they learn about music. There are no limits on how loud and creative they can be!

Pet Vet

One of the most popular exhibits at Kohl Children’s Museum is the pet vet office. Children use their imagination as they role play and make sure the pets have all the care they need. In this station, they’ll examine x-rays, weigh play animals and keep their cages clean. Photo courtesy of The Childrens School

Whole Foods Market

Your kids are about to become grocery shopping pros! This Whole Foods Market is run by kids as they pick out play produce and snacks. When they’re done playing shopper, they can jump on the cash register or stock some items for the customers. It’s a make-believe game perfect for counting.

Habitat Park

Go outside! While it’s only open whenever weather permits, Habitat Park is an outdoor exhibit you don’t want to miss. The two-acre courtyard consists of sensory-focused and interactive activities to enhance a child’s nature experience. Go on a bug hunt to find insects or wander through the paths to explore the 9-piece sculpture collection. The outside portion of Habitat Park is open April through October.

Special programs

Math Counts

Who says math isn’t fun? Math Counts is a program that explores the wonderful world of math. This special storytime occurs every other Friday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Your young learners can participate in fun activities focused on basic math concepts such as patterns, counting, geometry and even some algebraic thinking.

Art Adventures

Stop by the studio during your visit to experience creative art activities guided by an instructor. The art studio uses everything from cardboard to fabric to give your children the freedom to express themselves. When you’re done, step outside the art studio and say hello to Kohl Children’s Museum’s turtle friends in the live animal display.

Kitchen Creations (Seasonal)

Get ready to train your junior chefs. Join the Kohl Children’s Museum for the Kitchen Creations program every other Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. These cooking classes introduce farm-to-table preparation and healthy recipes. Kids will use various ingredients to create delicious snacks, salads and more. Bon appetit!

Baby & Me

Being a parent of a newborn is not a smooth experience for some. That’s why Kohl Children’s Museum has created a group meet-up for moms from 9:30-11 a.m. every Monday. New moms and dads even have a chance to talk to a nurse representative at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Plus, it gives you a chance to meet other parents! The program is free of charge and no registration is required.

Fitness for All

If you’re looking for a more active routine, the Fitness for All activities allows everyone in the family to move it! The program helps build endurance and gross motor skills with fun themes like animal yoga and freeze dance. These activities take place Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon in Habitat Park (weather permitting).

Other tips

  • You don’t even have to leave the museum when the family’s ready for lunch. A Così is onsite with a kid-friendly menu to keep everyone happy and fed. Some of their menu options include flatbread pizzas, grilled cheese, soups, salads, and PB&J sandwiches.
  • Keep an eye out for the museum’s temporary exhibits. The current exhibit, “Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond” runs through Jan. 26.
  • If you plan to visit Kohl Children’s Museum a few times in the year, it might not be a bad idea to sign up for a membership. Members get early access to the museum at 8:30 a.m. every Monday through Saturday, an hour before the museum opens to the public (beginning Nov. 1). You can also enjoy special members-only events from time to time.

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This article originally published on Oct. 27, 2017. It has been updated with the most recent information. 

Katina Beniaris
Katina Beniaris
As audience development manager, Katina Beniaris digs into data to help the Chicago Parent team learn about our audiences and tailor better content for them. She has more than five years of experience in content creation.
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