700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago Illinois 60611United States
This delightful museum will provide hours of imaginative fun for children ranging in age from toddlers to 7 or 8, although space gets a little tight on busy days.
This is one of the big draws for Chicago's Navy Pier, a multiple-story museum designed with kids -- ages 2 through 8 -- in mind. If you love your children to use their imagination when playing, this is a great place to let them run free. They can make forts out of tables, chairs and canvas; make crafts out with Chinese food containers, colored pencils and tape; slide down a fireman's pole in full regalia; and act like monkeys in the three-story climbing tower. On the spacious third floor, you'll find exhibits such as the "Dinosaur Expedition," where kids can see life-size, touchable replicas of dinosaur heads and play explorer by digging up dinosaur "bones" in a big pitlike area; "Kids Town," where they get to work in "stores," wash "cars," ride on "buses," etc.; and the "Skyline," so-called because the kids connect big Tinker Toys to construct buildings and the parents get a fantastic view of Chicago's skyline. We really like the "WaterWays" exhibit, where kids can pull on tiny rain slickers and play with every type of water-related thing -- water falls, buckets, dams, streams and more. This room is also directly under one of Navy Pier's turrets, which is interesting to see from an adult point-of-view. While this is a great place to start your family visit to the pier, just know that it can get a bit crowded on weekends and during the summer, and it doesn't really offer a place to grab a snack or unwind, though you can get a wristband, go out to the Navy Pier food court, and come back. Admission charged.