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Kohl Children Museum exceeds expectations

Updated on August 2, 2011
Kohl's Children's Museum water table room.
Kohl's Children's Museum water table room.

Tucked away in a northwest suburb of Chicago sits a museum that despite the drive, it a great time for the under 10 set.

Kohl’s Children’s Museum at 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, IL 60026 ((847) 832-6600) is an interactive museum with a great appeal for children from birth through middle school.

After years of seeing marketing materials for this museum, I got an opportunity to experience this place first hand last week when my daughter and I drove to the northern suburbs for a family event. A few hours to kill prior to hotel check in sent us looking for diversions for my 2-year-old granddaughter.

The first pleasant surprise was the cost. The charge for the three of us (technically the toddler was free) was $25. The $12.50 cost per adult was more than reasonable for unlimited access within the museum. There were no additional charges. A large free parking lot was immediately adjacent to the museum. The one-level facility was easily accessible to strollers and young toddlers.

Though packed into a relatively small space, limiting the endless trudging from place to place, the museum was packed with interactive rooms downsized for little people. No hoisting children up to examine exhibits just above eye level.

A music room included large instruments attached to walls for touching, a science lab that included mixing, stirring, reaching, measuring and magnifying. A pet hospital, baby nursery, fast food shop and grocery store allowed children to take part as clerk and shopper, veterinarian and doctor. Most rooms were at least in part sponsored by corporations.

A bug zoo featuring everything from a giant cockroach to a large grasshopper, was open for children to hold and touch. A large exhibit featured dozens of monarch butterflies and cocoons.

A car exhibit, which included blocks, wooden trains, giant scales and other measures beckon to small explorers.

A car wash allowed for washing, checking the engine, driving and standing in a car wash while warm air buffeted you.

One entire room was dedicated to musical and sound, with an attached compartment for dancing with ribbons. Colorful lights swirl in time to the music.

A water room includes boats, pumps, dancing waters controlled by large red buttons. Museum staff has large plastic aprons to keep soggy to a minimum.

However, the best part of the museum was two-fold. The museum was well stocked and organized. No exhibit we touched was missing pieces or broken. Everything was laid out and complete. And the museum was immaculate. Despite hundreds of daily visitors, many with sticky hands, everything was clean.

Separate areas were designated as under 18-month areas, requiring no shoes or older children.

So the next time you amble into the vicinity of northern Illinois, take an afternoon to see the Kohl’s Children’s Museum. It’s worth the trip.


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