Location: 5100 Museum Drive, Oak Lawn, Illinois 60453
The Oak Lawn Metra train station is located on the block next to the museum.
Hours: Monday Closed
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 am – 9:30 am (members)
9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday evenings (2nd & 4th) 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Admission: $6 per child or adult; $5 for seniors (over 55); children under 1 are free
I strongly suggest an annual membership with the Association of Children’s Museums Reciprocal Program. Join through any of the participating Children’s Museums throughout the country for $110/family and receive reciprocal memberships at over 165 participating museums throughout the United States & Canada. (Each museum has different features to their membership, so check out my comparison chart.)
Parking: Free parking Tues-Fri on the 5th floor of the parking garage across the street from the museum. The lot just outside the museum does NOT allow parking for the museum. The elevator is on the Northwest side of the garage; the museum is Northeast of the garage.
Bathrooms: The museum has bathrooms on both levels. The main level has men’s & women’s public bathrooms with NO changing tables (although there is some counter space if you were really desperate), and a private family bathroom. The second floor has a private family bathroom. The family bathrooms have changing tables, diaper disposals, and a step stool for potty trained little ones to reach the potty & sink.
Nursing areas: Both family bathrooms have a chair if you’re looking for a private place to breastfeed, although it’s not very comfortable. There are also tables and chairs on the second floor near the grocery store exhibit.
Handicapped/stroller accessibility: There is an elevator to the second floor. The main areas are very wide and open, although some of the exhibits would not be accessible (such as the raised stage and the treehouse). There are handicapped stalls in the public bathroom and the family bathrooms are accessible as well.
Food/eating area (food availability/restrictions, places to eat): There is no food offered in the museum. There are many restaurants within walking distance, such as Potbelly and Starbucks.
Special events: Story Times and activities are scheduled regularly. Check the events calendar for dates and times.
– Air Maze – large air tunnel kids can put scarves or balls into. My kids love watching the scarves and balls travel through the tunnel and fly out.
– The Race Is On! – focuses on gravity, motion, momentum, force, and energy. There’s a slide, as well as a racetrack and ball track.
– Explore Art Studio – large clear painting surface, as well as tables for any kind of craft. They sometimes offer special activities, such as decorating an ornament for the trees at Brookfield Zoo around Christmastime. There are waterproof apron and a sink for cleanup.
– Health Quest – includes a vision exam area, a giant “Operation” activity, medical tools (x-ray viewers, microscopes, etc.) for kids to play with, and much more. This looks like a great area for slightly older kids; my 1- & 3-year-old aren’t quite old enough to appreciate it yet.
– Build It! – a construction area with real tools! This exhibit has an employee supervising and has limited hours: Tues 11:00pm – 3:00pm, Wed 9:00am – 12:00p, Thurs 9:00am – 12:00pm, Fri 10:00am – 2:00pm, Sat 9:00am – 12:00pm, Sun 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Once again, my kids are a little young to appreciate this, but older kids would love it. Next to the construction area is a building area with giant blocks, which is great for older or younger kids.
– Safe Haven Animal Shelter – TONS of stuffed pets, along with cages, beds to tuck them into, an examining table to take care of them, and a “bath” to wash them. There’s even an x-ray viewer to examine x-rays.
– Treemendous Tunes Treehouse – three levels of activities, including a house with a kitchen on the ground, a treehouse area (which can be accessed by using the stairs or mini climbing wall) with percussion instruments, and a top level with dollhouses and pirate ships. There’s a slide and lots of nooks and crannies for kids to explore and crawl around.
– Dream a Dream Theatre – a theatre, complete with a raised stage, curtains, ticket window, and puppet show window. There is an impressive number of costumes, shoes, and hats, as well as an entire rack of puppets. Kids can dress up and admire themselves in the large mirrors before putting on a performance. This is definitely a favorite spot for my kids.
– Friendly Market & Cafe – grocery store with shopping carts, baskets, a cash register, and scale. Next to the market is the cafe, which offers (play) pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream treats. Chef’s hats and aprons are available, of course. We probably spend the majority of our time split between the market and the cafe. My kids love shopping and serving food so these are right up their alley. The cafe has stools for the kids or adults being served food. Just outside the market are several tables and chairs so if your kids spend as much time in there as mine, and you don’t have to worry about them running through the museum with a shopping cart (unlike mine), you might even be able to sit and enjoy a couple pages of a book while they play.
In addition to the listed exhibits, there’s lots of other goodies, like a life-size cow kids can “milk”, a piano, a train table, and several large play walls that have gears, vinyl clings, and shapes for creating pictures. Most of the exhibits also have baskets of books that relate to the exhibit. The museum also has a multi-purpose room for events and birthday parties. Get information about birthday parties here.
We paid: Nothing. We have an annual reciprocal children’s museum membership.
Our experience: Overall, the kids and I are HUGE fans of the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn. We’ve been to several in the Chicagoland area, and this one is probably our favorite. It’s not the largest children’s museum, but it’s plenty big enough. There are a huge number of exhibits, but it’s never really been crowded when we’ve been there (we generally go on weekday mornings/early afternoon, but we’ve been there on at least one Saturday too). I highly recommend it, and the children agree. Cooper encourages other kids to check out the store and ice cream shop. (Dexter can’t tell exactly how he feels, but the crying and arched back when it’s time to leave lead me to believe he’s a fan.)