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Educational Museums To Bring Your Family To In Des Plaines, IL

by | Apr 13, 2023 | Local

The Des Plaines, Illinois, area has an abundance of family-friendly attractions to help you fill an afternoon or plan a memorable weekend. If you’re looking for something fun for the kids, we have a great lineup of local options. These museums feature exhibits that will entertain everyone from your youngest tots to your thoughtful teens. We’ve rounded up a diverse selection of choices so you can find an entertaining destination suited to any type of family outing. If you have any questions please give us a call at (312) 971-8500.

Kohl Children’s Museum

Child playing doctor with a stuffed bear inside a childrens museum Image by anjanettew is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Kohl Children’s Museum has 15 permanent exhibits that are designed to spark kids’ imaginations and let their creativity come out to play. Special exhibits join the rotation on a regular basis as well to keep things interesting even for repeat visitors.

The Build It exhibit allows children to explore engineering with oversize blocks. In the Hands On House, kids use wheels, pulleys, and conveyor belts to construct a play house. They can even shingle the roof, wallpaper the walls, and carpet the floor. Vehicle enthusiasts can build toy cars, change tires, race their creations, and even roll through the play car wash. From the pet vet to the play cafe to the Whole Foods market, kids can dive into immersive pretend play in pint-size settings that make them feel just like grown-ups.

Kohl Children’s Museum also calls on nature to inspire and educate visitors. The two-acre Habitat Park is a wonderland of discovery in springtime and other warm weather months. Kids can go bird watching, bug hunting, and sculpture viewing. The campus even has its own active beehive that you can view via live feed in the Honey Bee Hideout exhibit. Turtle Rock houses a group of Southern Painted turtles that are the museum’s newest residents.

Location: 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Dunn Museum

The Dunn Museum offers a fascinating walk back through time through its four permanent exhibits. In Prehistoric Lake County, you can take a peek at life millions of years ago via a stunning fossil collection. The oldest fossil dates back 420 million years. In The First People exhibit, you can look back at the lives of Native American peoples who lived in Lake County as long as 12,000 years ago. You can even duck into a full-scale wigwam.

Progress to An American Frontier where you’ll get a look at the way American and immigrant settlers lived in Lake County in the early 1930s. This exhibit includes a reproduction of a one-room schoolhouse, an authentic Gatling gun, and Civil War-era artifacts. The Innovations and Preservation exhibit takes a look at life after the Civil War. Here, you can hop aboard an old lotus boat and take a look at one of the first 35mm motion picture machines.

The Dunn Museum also features rotating special exhibits that offer different views of local and regional history. This is a fascinating pick for a family day, particularly if you have history lovers in the bunch.

Location: 1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

My Museum

My Museum at Quest Academy was designed and created by the students themselves. Children from preschool through third grade acted as the masterminds behind this distinctive set of exhibits. In My Museum, kids can step into their own stories, play the role of the explorer, or become a star surgeon saving lives.

Registration is required to visit My Museum, and the facility is only open on select days. Reserve your spot in advance to make sure you get a chance to explore this intriguing kid-created space.

Location: 500 N. Benton, Palatine.

Hours: By scheduled playdate only.

Wonder Works Children’s Museum

The Wonder Works Children’s Museum houses eight permanent exhibits that are designed for play. This is a great choice for families with smaller children, as the pint-sized activities are just right for visitors ages 8 and under.Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Child playing with exhibit

Kids can create their own art in North Avenue Art Works, making beaded jewelry, upcycled egg carton sculptures, or one-of-a-kind paintings. In the Built It exhibit, kids can create with blocks, toy vehicles, train tracks, and more. Lights, Camera, Action presents a complete stage where kids can take on the role of the performer or hop behind the scenes to run spotlights, arrange curtains, or hang backdrops.   

Farm to Market lets little ones pick play orchard fruit, run it through the factory, and follow the products all the way to the store. The market also has roles for police officers and firefighters in this imaginative land. Nature plays a big role in the museum as well, via the Children’s Garden, Becky Boyce Nature Play Space, and The Great Outdoor exhibit.

Location: 6445 W. North Ave., Oak Park.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Monday year-round, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays from January through March.

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art

Families with older children should check out the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art. This museum highlights the stunning beauty of gemstones and the fascinating study of earth science. The permanent collection includes breathtaking artwork in myriad forms, including mosaics, dioramas, cameos, sculptures, and jade carvings. Castle Lizzadro is an especially stunning display featuring an 18K gold castle rising up from pieces of azurite, malachite, vanadium, and amethyst.

If you’re more interested in rocks and gemstones in their natural form, check out the Rock and Mineral Experience, comprised of 23 exhibits exploring minerals, rocks, and fossils. You’ll find a piece of petrified wood weighing 2,363 pounds, a Tully monster fossil, and glow-in-the-dark rocks. Interactive touch screens, games, and a fossil dig site provide fun features for kids.

Location: 1220 Kensington Road, Oak Brook.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Do you know of other great museums in the Des Plaines, Illinois, area that we’ve missed? Contact our team at Spot Migration Co. and let us know. We want to make sure we have all the best local recommendations for our customers.



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