Insider’s Guide to DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville

Indoor Places to GoIndoor Play

Exciting news! DuPage Children’s Museum is offering half-price play 2-4pm Monday through Thursday from February 1-15, 2024 when you purchase tickets online!

Explore, create, build, wonder, think, and play! We love DuPage Children’s Museum. It’s one of our favorite children’s museums in the Chicagoland area because it has a variety of exhibits that span science, art, and math. Not only is it well done, it’s tons of fun! There’s always something to explore each time you go, which is why it’s one of the most popular memberships for families with young children.

We’ve been going to DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) for years and wanted to give you a sneak peek with photos so you can get an idea of what your kids can experience while you are there. We also have hours and admission prices, special needs accommodations, options for how to get there, where to park, and answers to other commonly asked questions.

Exhibits at DuPage Children’s Museum

DCM is split up into seven main exhibit neighborhoods and each neighborhood has different areas to explore. We outline each one below as well as show you what it looks like so you can get an idea of which ones your kids will be interested in first. You can always go back and explore a different exhibit neighborhood next time or bounce around while you are there!

AWEsome Energy

AWEsome Energy is split into three sections: air, water, and electricity and it’s the most popular area of the museum. We would recommend that you get to DCM right when it opens and head to this exhibit neighborhood first. It’s in the back section of the first floor.

AWEsome Air

This is one of Kaitlyn’s kids’ favorite exhibits and we think your kids are going to love spending time here too.

Seeing scarves and other objects interact with air is fascinating because you can see the results immediately. Kids can stand and walk around in a wind tunnel with props as well.

AWEsome Water

The water area is one of our favorite exhibit spaces in the museum. They stock the water table with a lot of cups, bowls, and toys to pour water. Kids are captivated by it and it’s super fun.

We are impressed with the non-slip flooring in the space and placement of drains. We never felt like we had to watch our footing, despite the high volume of water circulating throughout the exhibit. The kids felt free to explore and make a mess without all of us having to worry about anything.

A copper pipe sculpture is hanging from the ceiling that sprinkles water on this transparent dome that’s fun to stand under.

Against one side of the exhibit is a magnetic wall with a curtain of water streaming down across the top so you can place water slides and gears to channel the water.

AWEsome Electricity

If you are looking for a unique learning environment with hands-on exploration, this is it! There are many opportunities to make things move with potential and kinetic energy.

Build It

This area of the museum has the popular construction house where kids can use real tools. Before using a real hammer and saw, you put on safety goggles and we have found it to be a great, safe environment.

This exhibit space also includes large building blocks, tubes, and other building materials to explore engineering and problem-solving skills.

Creativity Connections

Play with light, shadow, and color in this interactive exhibit. It gives kids a lot of hands-on ways to experiment with how light moves and affects their environment.

Make It Move

Test the way objects move in this exhibit geared towards physics concepts.

My kids love arranging blocks to create paths for balls to travel and work together with other kids to let their creativity run wild. There are ramps to arrange on the walls as well as blocks to make tracks in the center of this space.

The Studio

Want to make some art? The studio is the place to go. DCM has various maker activities in this room and opportunities to create a masterpiece.

Young Explorers

This area is perfect for kids under two years old. It’s filled with age-appropriate play and spaces to safely move about, play, and explore.

There’s a lot to play with on the floor and low down to make it accessible for little hands.

Good Show! Gallery

Local students participate in art projects that are then displayed at the museum in this exhibit space. It’s great to spend some time looking at their artwork and your kids being inspired by others their age.

Second Floor: Math Connections

The second floor is filled with exhibits focused on math skills. Kids can build with unit blocks to see tangible examples of what numbers represent.

Place tetris-shaped soft blocks in these spaces to see what fits. The day Kaitlyn went to the museum the kids loved climbing in this area!

There’s also a large area dedicated to building with LEGO blocks.

Special Needs Accommodations

Adaptive Play Time

DuPage Children’s Museum offers a dedicated time for those with special needs to experience the museum. Attendance is limited, so you should definitely pre-register. During Adaptive Play Time the lights are dimmed and sounds are turned down. There is more staff at the museum to provide a supportive environment, and sensory kits are available, which include noise-reduction headphones, fidget objects, weighted neck wraps, and timers.

Respite Room

The Respite Room on the first floor has moveable seating, dimmed blue lights, and calming sensory exhibits. You can ask one of the staff members in a blue apron or the front desk for access to this room. There is also a small room similar to this one on the second floor.

Family Restroom

The family restroom is located on the first floor, is large enough to accommodate an adult-sized wheelchair, and for all genders.

Nursing Room

DuPage Children’s Museum has a comfortable private nursing room.

Allergy-friendly Food

Bean Sprouts Café has many allergy-free options as well as caters to dietary needs.

Service Animals

Trained service animals are permitted at DCM.

Hours and Admission Prices

DuPage Children’s Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm. Pre-registration is recommended, but not required.

Admission is $19 for children and adults, $18 for seniors. DCM is free for members and kids under 1 years old.

How to Get There

DuPage Children’s Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville, conveniently located within walking distance to both Downtown Naperville and the train station.

Looking to make it an adventure? Ride the Metra BNSF line and get off at the Naperville stop. We have more ideas for Kid-Friendly Train Stops on the BNSF Metra Line too! You can easily make a day of it.

Where to Park

DuPage Children’s Museum has a large free parking lot, which is very convenient.

If the parking lot is full, which can happen during especially busy days, you are welcome to park in the City of Naperville Parking Deck any day of the week, which is about three blocks away. It’s free after 9am with ground level parking for three hours or all day parking starting on the second level and up.

Another parking option is along the tracks on the other side of Washington. Parking in commuter permit spots is allowed free of charge on Saturday and Sunday only.

Click here for the parking map from DuPage Children’s Museum.

Do you need to make a reservation?

Reservations are recommended, but not required. Walk-ins are welcome, but please keep in mind that it’s possible for the museum to reach capacity and there might be a bit of a wait. Downtown Naperville is close by, so you can take a walk or get a snack and come back if you would like.

What should you bring?

We recommend bringing a change of clothes for your kids because they will most likely get wet at the popular AWEsome Water exhibit. You are also welcome to bring food into the museum, but please note that food is not allowed in the exhibits. You need to bring snacks and/or lunch down to the lower level to eat in the café area only.

Can you buy food at DCM?

Yes! Bean Sprouts Café offers all kinds of clean food free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. The café is also allergy friendly. The menu includes pizza, sandwiches, salads, creative children’s menu options, frozen treats, smoothies, and all kinds of warm and cold drinks.

Fun Facts About DuPage Children’s Museum

DuPage Children’s Museum was founded in 1987 by two childhood educators from Hinsdale, Louise Beem and Dorothy Carpenter. For two years the museum was a traveling van in DuPage County. Then in 1989, they opened a temporary location in the Elmhurst Park District. After three years of putting up and tearing down the exhibits each day, the museum moved to the Wheaton Park District Community Center so it could be more permanent and open year round. The current location for DuPage Children’s Museum opened in 2001 as a permanent location in Naperville. What a labor of love!

DCM was named one of Chicgoland’s top 10 cultural attractions by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2006.

Before AWEsome Water

We thought it would be fun to show you before and after photos of the water exhibit at DuPage Childrens Museum. AWEsome Water was completed in 2016 and became an immediate hit. This is what the space looked like before that project:

And the AWEsome Water exhibit that we now all know and love:

Past Exhibits at DuPage Children’s Museum

Curious about the types of temporary exhibits that DuPage Children’s Museum brings in? Head to the next page because they are really impressive and we can’t wait to see what they do next!

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