Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago has always been a good museum. But with its new, expanded building in Glenview, which opened in October, Kohl is now a great children’s museum. With the additional space and open floor plan, kids can more easily explore the terrific interactive exhibits.
Museum designers were wise to keep (and expand) Kohl’s most popular exhibits. My boys stayed in the"Music Makers” exhibit for more than 20 minutes. With the new layout, this exhibit has its own large room, sound-proofed from the noisy play just outside. My 3-year-old was drawn to the headphones where he could choose different songs. He didn’t understand the concept of making art to match how the music made him feel, but he bopped and danced, enjoying having music all to himself. My older son, meanwhile, danced his way through his own movie in the video music room. Watching his psychedelic reflection dance on the screen was like a little miracle to him.
Next door to"Music Makers” is the"Water Works” room, also expanded. The best part of this exhibit is watching kids’ faces. Balls fly through tubes, pinwheels spin, boats sail, streams of water leap—all at the hands of small children. My boys are too young to understand the scientific principles, but while I’m reading about it, they’re making it happen.
The highlight for all of us was the"McCormick Tribune Main Street.” This child-size town includes a garage, doll-care center, grocery store, library, veterinarian office and sandwich shop. My family spent the better part of an hour here. I was enlightened to see my world on such a small scale (even the restaurant booths are kid size). It made me think about how my pint-size kids feel living in an adult-size world.
Anyone who remembers trying to get a seat in the old lunch room will be thrilled with the new snack area. Kim and Scott’s Pretzel Bakery and Twisting Café allows families a great alternative to vending machines. They even have pretzel-twisting sessions twice a day for visitors.
Although we spent almost three hours exploring, we didn’t see everything. We’ll save the"Discovery Maze,”"City on the Move” and"All About Me” for our next visit. Which will be soon.
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago is at 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. Admission is $6.50 for adults and kids, $5.50 for seniors and free for kids under 1. (847) 832-6600, www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org.