Sunday, August 30, 2009

This Museum is Just My Size!

The other day, the girls and I went to one of our favorite places to play... Kohl Children's Museum. Now, in the interest of "Blogging with Integrity", I have to let you all know that my husband works at the museum so I may be a little biased but, frankly, I think that Kohl is head and shoulders above other area children's museums when it comes to the younger set. Smaller and less chaotic than Chicago Children's Museum, Kohl's is organized into ten exhibits and a main street section. The simple and open floor plan provides good sight-lines that allow a parent to keep an eye on their excited and ever moving children.

It seems that WE always begin in Potbelly's on Main Street. Since both girls have informed me recently that they are going to be actresses, maybe they are just getting some training in waiting tables. They love making sandwiches with the various play breads, meats and vegetables and pretending to pay at the cash register.
Another "must visit" is the Veterinarian's Office (So there IS hope for the girls, yet!). Cute cuddly stuffed animals can be bathed, brushed, have their hearts listened to with stethoscopes and, in what seems to be the most popular activity, be wrapped in multitudes of ace bandages. A "working" xray viewer adds an air of authenticity.

A relatively new addition to the Museum is Habitat Park. An outdoor area with climbing structures, a sensory garden and an open area set up for organized group activities, it is a fun way to get out, explore nature and run off some of that excess energy.

No doubt that at one point during your visit, your children will drag you into Water Works. While the aprons provided do little to protect the kids from getting wet, they are having so much fun they don't notice. And, thankfully, there are dryers hung on the wall outside the exhibit.
Right next to Water Works is my OWN personal favorite, Music Makers. Yes, the noise level can get a little high but playing with how music is made and how it makes a person feel is well worth it! Be sure not to miss the hidden gem in this exhibit... tucked in the corner is a room with music playing and a colorful video screen. Grab a ribbon and watch how your movements change the patterns on screen!

There is too much to explore at the museum for me to fit in here. We've gone many, many time and I still find new discoveries each trip.
Overall what I appreciate most about the museum is that it is well-designed with a family in mind. There are nursing stations positioned throughout the museum. In almost every exhibit, there is a designated infant/toddler safe play area. The bathrooms are clean and have diaper dispensers in case you run out. (Although they also feature automatic flushing toilets so be sure to bring your Post-Its!). I was also very impressed with the food offerings at Kim and Scott's Pretzel Twisting Cafe. In addition to their delicious pretzels, their children's offerings were appropriate and very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, they are closing on September 3 to be replaced later in the month by Cosi. We'll have to wait and see if their "expanded children's menu" lives up to it's promise.
If you happen to get down there to try out their fare before I do, send me a comment and let me know what you think. And if you see this guy... be sure to say "Hello!"

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