Family-Friendly Chicago Area Museums

Family-Friendly Chicago Area Museums

Whether you’re there to see a specific exhibit or just to escape the heat, museums are a great place to go! It’s nearly impossible to visit a museum and not learn something new. We have so many great museums in and around the Chicagoland area–large and small, international and local–that you could pick a new one each week of the year and still not see them all! So what are you waiting for? Go Make Memories!

Adler Planetarium
Chicago: (312) 922-7827

Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago: (312) 443-3600

Bronzeville Children’s Museum
(708) 636-9504

Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago: (312) 527-1000

Children’s Neighborhood Museum
(847) 546-8558

Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn
(708) 423-6709

Civil War Museum
Kenosha, WI: (262) 653-4141

Through life-size dioramas and interactive exhibits, the museum explores the personal stories of the people of the upper middle west before, during and after the Civil War. Centered in the main exhibit, Seeing the Elephant, the high tech 360-degree digital movie experience, thrusts viewers into the middle of a battle. An 11-foot screen, visual, sound and motion effects enhance the experience. Sun. 12-5pm, Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm. Closed holidays. General admission: $9, members and children 15 and under: free.

Des Plaines History Center
Des Plaines: (847) 391-5399

781 Pearson St. People of all ages are welcome to take tours weekdays and Sunday afternoons! We also have seasonal hands-on programs for families. Schools, Scouts, churches and other groups can schedule a visit to the museum or book a presentation at your site.

Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Kenosha, WI: (262) 653-4450

5608 10th Ave. See the largest collection of meat-eating theropods – all in one gallery! This is the only museum to exclusively focus on the link between meat-eating dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex and modern day birds. Life-scale replicas were created from actual dinosaur fossil bones. See some of the real bones in the on-site Carthage College Institute of Paleontology lab. Plus, be a junior paleontologist from 1-4pm every Sat. and Sun. during the free Dino Digs! Tues.-Sun. 12-5pm, closed Mon. and holidays. Free general admission.

Discovery Center Museum
Rockford: (815) 963-6769

711 North Main St. Voted one of the “Ten Best Museums for Families” by USA Today and Over 250 hands-on exhibits, planetarium, special area for kids under 6 & outdoor park. Free parking.

DuPage Children’s Museum
Naperville: (630) 637-8000

301 N. Washington St. DuPage Children’s Museum is more than Museum…we’re a force for early learning! Experience a unique hands-on museum where children and adults learn and play together in neighborhoods of hands-on exhibits designed to promote skill development in math, science and art. We help develop curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving in young children. Join us for another exciting season of summer camp!

Elk Grove Historical Museum
Elk Grove Village: (847) 439-3994

399 Biesterfield Road. Open year round, the Museum offers tours, school and scout programs, exhibits, and assistance with research on Elk Grove Village and the surrounding area. Experience history in a new way with crafts, game, exhibits and demonstrations!

Field Museum
Chicago: (312) 922-9410

First Division Museum at Cantigny Park
Wheaton: (630) 668-5161

This museum is dedicated to the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division, or “Big Red One.” It reopened in August 2017 following a massive remodeling and creation of a new gallery devoted to military history post-Vietnam. The updated museum offers more artifacts and expanded interactive exhibits for visitors. Outside, the tradition of “climbing on the tanks” continues to be a favorite activity for Cantigny’s younger visitors. Museum admission is free with paid parking. Closed on Mondays. Check website for seasonal hours and other details.

Fischer Farm Museum
Bensenville: (630) 766-7015

Fischer Farm is one of the oldest remaining homesteads in the county. Fischer Woods is a rare forest preserve with the remnants of prairie, wetland and woodland ecosystems.

Fox River Trolley Museum
South Elgin: (847) 697-4676

Geneva History Center
Geneva: (630) 232-4951

Graue Mill and Museum
Oak Brook: (630) 655-2090

Heritage Center & Museum
Grayslake: (847) 543-1745

Historic Wagner Farm & Heritage Center
Glenview: (847) 657-1506

Visit one of the few remaining working dairy farms in Cook County. The farm provides a unique opportunity for families to learn about our farming heritage and experience first-hand “the way things used to be.” See the crops & animals in a 1920s era homestead. Interactive stations, milking parlor, greenhouse, authentic 1930’s store and old-fashioned soda fountain.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Skokie: (847) 967-4800

John G. Shedd Aquarium
Chicago: (312) 939-2438

Kenosha Public Museum
Kenosha, WI: (262) 653-4140

5500 First Ave. This natural science and fine arts museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. From primitive monsters of the deep waters, through the Ice Age, to the Native Americans in the fur trade era, the permanent exhibit tells the Wisconsin story, featuring a life-size replica of the Hebior mammoth. Changing exhibits include anything from nationally recognized watercolor paintings to original comic strip art. Be sure to stop by the Field Station for plenty of hands-on activities! The gift shop has gifts and souvenirs for the whole family. Sun. 12-5pm, Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm. Closed holidays. Free general admission.

Kline Creek Farm
West Chicago: (630) 876-5900

Kohl Children’s Museum
Glenview: (847) 832-6600

2100 Patriot Blvd. 17 interactive hands-on exhibits, including outdoor Habitat Park, Water Works, Pet Vet, Dominick’s Supermarket & more! Designed for ages birth to 8 with protected infant areas. New temporary exhibit opens Sept. 27 through March 4, 2018, called Build It. Kids can explore seven stages of block play. Check out the musuem’s Fall Fest on Sept. 10; tickets are $25 ($15 for members).  See our ad on Page 19 and our coupon offer.

Lake County Discovery Museum
Wauconda: (847) 968-3400

Little White School Museum
Oswego: (630) 554-2999

72 Polk St. Step back in time at the Little White School Museum. Built as a church in 1850, then used as a school until the mid 1960s, the building is now a public museum rich with local history. Visit our website for program and workshop info.

The Morton Arboretum
Lisle: (630) 968-0074

Museum of Science & Industry
Chicago: (773) 684-1414

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive. Plan a day of hands-on science adventures at the Museum of Science and Industry – the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere! See the new exhibit, Brick by Brick. Learn how architects and engineers push the limits of design through a spectacular collection of LEGO®-built structures. Pieces include a 60-foot long Golden Gate Bridge, the International Space Station and more.

Naper Settlement
Naperville: (630) 420-6010

523 S. Webster Rd. Naper Settlement is a family-friendly outdoor history museum on 12 acres. Play in the Playscape playground and splash pad. Investigate the Conestoga covered wagon. Learn about animal tracks and explore the sensory prairie garden.

Old World Wisconsin
Eagle, WI: (262) 594-6301
W372 S9727 Hwy 67 (P.O. Box 69)

Journey back to the past at Old World Wisconsin – a vivid re-creation of the working farmsteads and settlements established by European immigrants in America’s heartland. See our coupon offer.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Chicago: (773) 755-5100

SciTech Hands-On Museum
(630) 859-3434

Volo Auto Museum
Volo: (815) 385-3644