Opportunities for imaginative play are endless at our local children’s museums. The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn is full of real-world, sensory and creative activities that are perfect for young children. (Psst… although everyone calls it the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum, it’s official name is The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn.) While it’s not part of the western suburbs, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share what’s inside. Read below to find out why it’s a can’t-miss destination for local families.
A Tour of the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum with Photos
On the first floor, children experiment with ramps and challenges while learning about potential and kinetic energy . . . or just having a ton of fun sending balls up and down the bumpy tracks. There is also a popular water table!
Around the corner is another large sensory table. The sand had been removed during our visit, but toy cars and roads kept children creatively exploring this fun space.
The second level is huge and has several areas with different themes. As you reach the top of the stairs, there is an ambulance area the kids can play in. There is also a hospital area with donated medical equipment. Your doctors-in-training can run checkups on toy patients (or themselves!)
In this area, there is also a drum that beats to your heartbeat and a table with bones and organs that is set up similar to the game Operation.
Beyond that, there is a grocery store called the “Friendly Market” where kids can scan their items before bagging them. The registers actually beep when scanning! Your kids can then prepare and pretend to eat dessert at the Moo Cafe.
In the center, there is a baby and toddler area reserved for the littlest guests. It’s well stocked with things to play with and explore. Some of the softer toys have been removed for easier cleaning, but there is still quite a bit to explore in here.
These brothers were having a ball when the Kidlist team visited back in 2017, and the fire truck continues to be a fan-favorite today. I love how many opportunities they have for imaginative play at the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn.
There are many other areas as well, including an art room with tables, wind tubes, a piano to play, magnetic gears to arrange and turn, cars to build and send down ramps, musical instruments to play, a workshop to build creations, and much, much more.
There is a parking deck directly in front of the museum entrance. Guests are invited to park on the top level for free. You can also take the train! The Southwest Service station for the Metra is right next to the museum.
Food is not available for purchase at the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn. There is a Smashburger, Fry the Coop, La Michoacana Premium, and Cold Stone Creamery all within walking distance of the museum.
We found a single family bathroom on the second floor and regular bathrooms on the first floor. Changing tables are available in both.
The Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Hours are 10:00am – 3:00pm, except Fridays, which are 10:00am – 5:00pm. Check their website for holiday hours and schedule changes.
Most visitors ages 1 and up will be charged $11 admission. Seniors, teachers, and military/veterans are $8. Guests 12 months and under are free. These prices were updated in January 2022 and are subject to change.
The Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn is a great spot for younger learners. I went with my 3-year-old son, and he was the perfect age for it. I think my 6-year-old would still be able to find things that she’d like to do at the museum as well. With a water table on the first floor, as well as the large infant area in the middle to play upstairs, even your littlest ones will have fun here.
Best Days/Times To Go
Like most children’s museums, visits will be quieter during the week, particularly in the afternoon. The Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn includes a Field Trip Forecast on their website, which gives tips about when school groups may be visiting the museum.
Special Needs Accommodations
There is an elevator in the center of the museum to allow for wheelchair accessibility to the second level. We did not notice any specific areas of the museum designated as quiet areas. The Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn partners with a.c.e. therapies to run sensory friendly play sessions and special events. You can keep up-to-date on all of these opportunities by checking their calendar.
The Children’s Museum of Oak Lawn offers a variety of memberships for families, including grandparents. It is also a partner of the CLIMB Network, which reciprocates certain memberships to DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, KidsWork Children’s Museum in Frankfort, Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, and Wonder Works Children’s Museum in Oak Park. Check your museum membership for details.
Interested in more ideas for indoor activities? Visit our Indoor Activities for Kids page!