My 7-year-old is fascinated by rocks, so we recently headed to the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Oak Brook to check out all of the gorgeous artwork, cool rocks, crystals, and more. (Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing stone.) This local museum is free every Wednesday! So if you or your kids are into gemstones, rocks, art, carving, or precious stones, the Lizzadro Museum is definitely a Chicagoland museum worth checking out.
I hadn’t been to the new Oak Brook location since it moved from Elmhurst, so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. Their new building is gorgeous and very accessible, with plenty of space to meander and appreciate the nicely lit exhibits.
Kid-Friendly Aspects of Lizzadro Museum
Lizzadro Museum hosts various schools, scouts, and other groups for field trips. You can also drop in Tuesdays through Sundays and enjoy the space at your leisure. There are many fun scenes along the wall depicting scenes and the animals are made completely of carved stone.
There is also a touchscreen game that kids can enjoy while learning about where minerals are found in everyday life. (There is a step up for kids to reach the screen.)
While most of the actual lapidary art is behind glass, the Rocks & Minerals section towards the back of the museum is much more hands-on, with plenty of stones for kids to feel and touch. We spent most of our time there!
The display on fluorescence illuminates with a black light to show how fluorescence works in rocks. When kids push the button, the lights swap out to show the glowing stones and the mine cart moves along the track.
We did stroll through the gorgeous art at the front of the museum on our way out, and it was every bit as beautiful as I remembered from visiting on a date before kids. If your kids tend to enjoy looking at artwork or intricately made jewelry, they will be into this section.
One impressive exhibit? “The Altar of the Green Jade Pagoda” is made completely of jade and was gifted to the museum in 2018. The impressive sculpture was carved from a nine-ton boulder by 150 skilled jade carvers and took more than ten years to finish.
Gemstone and Precious Stone Gifts
By the entrance is a large museum shop filled with all types of products including jewelry, book ends, sculptures, gifts, and more for purchase. The kids’ gift section is on the back wall. I grabbed a couple of cool kid-friendly books on rocks and minerals, while my 7-year-old spent a few dollars on a little collection of cool polished stones he picked out himself. The shop cashier was kind enough to pair each of the rocks with a little paper identifying the type and explaining a bit about it!
Is the Lizzadro Museum Good for Kids?
This really depends on your kids! If they tend to be fascinated by rocks and/or art, it’s a fun little trip for preschoolers and up. For a small, local museum, Lizzadro definitely put a lot of effort into putting things to do, see, and touch at the right height for kids. Kids who tend to read and interact with displays have a much better chance of becoming immersed, while those who love to touch will flit from rock to rock in the back area.
My 7-year-old happily spent an hour at the museum and wants to go back soon. I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old would have been done a lot faster. (There isn’t a dedicated kids’ area, so expect to remind younger kids to walk and be respectful of other visitors.) Older kids who are interested in art or geology would likely be more interested in taking their time going through all of the displays.
Even though we went on a free day, the museum wasn’t crowded at all.
Things to Do Near the Lizzadro Museum
The museum is right across the street from Oak Brook’s big, beautiful Central Park and makes for a great way to take a break from the heat if you’re doing a walking tour of the three Central Park playgrounds. Central Park is also home to Oak Brook’s Family Aquatic Center.
Because the museum is small and won’t take up a ton of time, I definitely recommend pairing it with another local activity to make a longer outing of it.
Food at the Lizzadro Museum
The museum doesn’t sell food, but you can bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy on tables outside in the nicely landscaped picnic table area.
Everything is on one level, with no stairs to navigate (except for a step up to play a touchscreen game). Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome, and the whole museum is fully handicap accessible.
This is a smaller, quieter museum without loud music or many noisy displays.
Admission to the Lizzadro Museum
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65+, $5 for students and kids 7-12, and free for children 6 and under. Wednesdays are free admission day at the museum.
As of June 2023, the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art is open from 10am – 5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, open from 12pm – 4pm Sundays, and closed on Mondays. It’s also closed on major holidays. Check the website for updates.
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
1220 Kensington Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Looking for more hands-on learning and fun? Check out Chicagoland museum free days!