Chicago Children’s Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) is center for children to create, explore, and discover together through play. Located at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, the Chicago Children's Museum was founded in 1982 by the Junior League of Chicago as a place where families and their children could go to experience a different form of learning through structured and informal play. Photo: Photo: tigera/Fotolia



The then-named Express-Ways Children's Museum was founded in response to program cutbacks in the city's public schools and was opened in two hallways of the Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center. The Museum has changed locations over the years due to its rapid expansion and has enjoyed it current location on the Navy Pier since 1995.

The CCM features 57,000 square feet exhibition space that includes three floors of vibrant exhibits and hands-on activities that offer exciting sensory experiences and engaging educational content that focuses on math, science, literacy , health and the performing arts. The Museum also provides a wealth of educational programs and classes, community workshops and special events throughout the year, and is visited by more than 400,000 people annually. Photo:

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The programs at Chicago Children's Museum are specifically designed to inspire and encourage the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of children of all ages by offering playful programming that integrates multiple content areas. Programs include experiences in the arts, culture, health and wellness, language and literacy, diversity and S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Arts programs feature classes taught by professional artist-educators, unique arts programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, a wealth of performing arts programs and special art exhibitions. Health and Wellness programs focus on healthy lifestyles, movement and play, and diversity programs engage children in experiences that encourage understanding and tolerance of the differences and similarities between people with the aim of building respect for each other. Cultural programs connect with Chicago's diverse cultural and ethnic communities and Language and Literacy programs encourage talking, listening, reading and writing. S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs focus on problem-solving, curiosity, and experimentation. Photo:

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»Exhibitions and Experiences

Exhibitions and Experiences

The Chicago Children's Museum presents an array of ways to play with a wealth of fun-filled, family-friendly experiences and presentations. The ‘Tinkering Lab’ offers a unique DIY maker-space for visitors to tinker in a workshop with real tools and materials and the freedom to innovate and explore life with interactive activities such as the Pegboard Challenge, the Tool Bar, and the Early Learning Nook. Kids can make a splash at the Waterways experience with pipes, pulleys and wheels that flow, squirt and pump water in fun, sensory ways.

The Dinosaur Expedition boasts a re-creation of the real Saharan Desert expedition where a new type of dinosaur was discovered by Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno and features a life-size skeleton of suchomimus, and an excavation pit with skulls, bones and teeth. Skyline presents the chance to design and build a one-of-a-kind structure using tools, wood and other gear, and includes special activities for younger children and toddlers. Photo: nskfoto/Fotolia

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»More Exhibitions

More Exhibitions

Kid’s Town is an exhibit of a real town, including a grocery store, a car wash, a mechanic, and a bus station in a friendly neighborhood setting that promotes problem-solving, role-playing, and creative exploration through fun and engaging activities. Camp, climb, canoe, and fish, build a treehouse, swim in a waterfall pool and cook a stew in a log cabin in an enchanted forest setting in Treehouse. Kraft Artabounds Studio is an authentic studio and gallery where children can paint, draw, print, sketch, scribble, sew and press in various forms of personal expressions with a special area for toddlers and babies. Photo:

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»Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

The Chicago Children's Museum is located at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan and is open to the public Monday through Sunday and admission is free. The Chicago Children's Museum features a range of amenities designed to suit the needs of young children and their caregivers, including a nursing room, changing tables, nursing chairs throughout the museum, private family bathrooms and a bottle warmer for babies in the Pritzker Playspace.

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700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60611, Phone: 312-527-1000 Photo:

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Chicago Children’s Museum