Kohl Children’s Museum

Kohl Children’s Museum website

Location: 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, IL 60026


9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
(9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. June – Aug.)

Tues. – Sat.
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
12 – 5 p.m.
Members Only
9 – 9:30 a.m. (Mon. – Sat.)

$8.50 for children & adults, $7.50 for seniors (55 & over), and babies 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 in their large attached lot. Additional free parking is available at the Glen Town Center, just south of the museum.

Bathrooms: There are two public bathrooms and two family bathrooms. The bathrooms have child sized sinks, and the men’s rooms have child sized urinals. There are changing tables and diapers are available for $1.

There are three nursing stations. The nursing stations have three walls so there is some privacy.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: The museum in accessible to the handicapped and strollers. Strollers can be used throughout the museum or they can be parked in the coatroom.

Other amenities: There is a museum shop and a large coatroom near the entrance. Lockers are available for 25 cents. Field trips, birthday parties, facility rental, and professional development workshops can be arranged.

Food/eating area (food availability/restrictions, places to eat):
The Cosi Cafe is located at the entrance of the museum. The Glen Town Center, an outdoor shopping center, is located a block away and has a variety of dining options.

Special events:Check out the calendar of events for story times, art adventures, fitness programs, and other fun activities. The Pattern Wizardry exhibit will be opening February 22 and will run through May 9, 2011.


The museum offers the Parent’s Guide to Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago for download through their website. The guide includes detailed information about each of the exhibits as well as pictures.

Infant areas – There are four infant areas. Each is an enclosed area near other exhibits so you can watch older children while staying with your baby. Shoes aren’t allowed in the infant areas; there are adult booties available at each infant area.

Adventures in Art – large art studio with a variety of projects and activities.
Hours: Sunday 12-4 p.m.; Monday 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.

All About Me – helps kids find out more about themselves. They can paint their face with washable crayon, find out how much they weigh in milk jugs, try on costumes, and much more.

Car Care – kids can walk through a kid car wash (which both of my boys loved, although Cooper was not a fan of the blowing air), play with a kid sized car, race cars on a track, and strap parents into giant car seats.

City on the Move– science, math, and technology activities based on the City of Chicago. Kids can use shapes to create a city scene, play with trains at the train table or pretend to drive one, and float objects on air jets. Cooper spent quite a bit of time in the train, where you push buttons and levers to control the train and watch a movie of what the conductor sees when they’re driving the train.

(Dexter! Get that peg out of your mouth!)

Cooperation Station – teaches kids that teamwork makes things easier. Pedaling bikes, pushing buttons, and pumping handles make fun things happen.

Doll Day Care – kids can feed, diaper, rock baby dolls.

Dominick’s – an impressive grocery store with ATM (to help teach math), shopping carts, bakery, deli, checkouts, and conveyor belt for stocking. My son Cooper was very excited about this store, but we haven’t actually been in this exhibit. There’s generally a line to get into the store and museum staff allow a certain number of kids in to play for ten minutes to avoid overcrowding. We’ve been to the museum on a weekday and weekend and there’s been a line whenever we go past the exhibit. At 1 and 3, my kids just aren’t patient enough for lines. I think this would be a great exhibit for older kids, but I think the time limit might be a bit frustrating for kids.

Habitat Park – an outdoor exhibit open when weather permits (it’s closed when heat index is above 90 degrees, windchill is below 20 degrees, the ground is wet, or it’s after dusk). There’s a playground area, natural energy collection, walking paths, a giant tunnel, and a garden with a prairie grass maze.

Hands on House – kids can help create a house inside and out, decorating with landscaping, bricks and shingles, as well as wallpaper and carpeting. There’s also wheelbarrows, a conveyor, and a digger.

Music Makers – allows you to move music notes around to create a melody, feel the vibration from music, dance around, and experiment with different types of instruments.

Nature Explorers – learn all about nature by building animals, climbing inside a giant tree, dressing like an animal, piloting a ship, or digging in play dirt to find bugs.

Pet Vet – lets kids care for and groom (stuffed) animals. They can examine x-rays, put them in cages, and prepare them for shows.

Play Library – filled with tons of books and comfy places to enjoy them. There’s a library computer and scheduled story times on Wednesdays.

Potbelly Sandwich Works – looks like a real Potbelly’s! Kids can play behind the counter making (play) sandwiches and shakes, taking orders, and using the cash register. There’s tables and chairs for the “customers”, which is nice because parents can sit and relax while the kids play behind the counter. My kids really liked this exhibit (they love play food and Dexter made a dash for the broom and cleaning toys), but it was very crowded.

Powered by Nature – kids can experiment with power by playing with solar powered houses and watching wind spin turbines to create light.

Water Works – large room filled with water activities. Kids can race boats, experiment with water pressure, and move water around with pumps, pipes, and fountains. Obviously, anything that involves water is a great attraction for my kids (and probably every kid). We spent a long time in this exhibit. There are aprons (although they don’t cover arms!) and blow dryers available.

We paid: Nothing. We have an annual reciprocal children’s museum membership.

Our experience:
We love Kohl Children’s Museum. We’ve been there a couple times and would probably go more often if it wasn’t such a long drive for us. The boys particularly loved the water and music exhibits. The downside is that both times we’ve been there (once on a weekday and once on a weekend), it was pretty crowded. The boys don’t seem time mind much, but they do wind up waiting longer to play with things and getting forced to move on from things they’re really interested in to give other kids a turn, and there’s just generally more chaos. I’d like to give the kids a little space to move around and play, but with crowds I feel the need to stay closer so they don’t disappear and to make sure they’re playing nice. I would strongly recommend heading to Water Works first (it’s the farthest exhibit so you can work your way back to the front) because there is so much water that the kids are bound to get really wet. Bring a change of clothes or be sure they have time to dry off before you’re heading out into the cold.

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