Explore and Soar !


We the People...

Funded through the generosity of individuals and private foundations, phase one of "We the People..." is now open. Two beam pieces from the World Trade Center Towers attacked on 9/11/2001 serve as the focal point in this exhibit. Unity, friendship, helping and patriotism are the themes of this exhibit. At the Talk-Back station, answer the question asked and post your ideas about unity, friendship, helping and patriotism on the board.


The Moo Cafe

Funded by the Midwest Dairy Association, children will learn that dairy is in a lot of different foods in the Moo Cafe.  They'll make "dairy-licious" food and serve it up to their friends and family.  While visiting the cafe, don't pass up the opportunity to milk Clarabelle, the official museum cow!










Dream a Dream Theatremore_museum_pics_august_4_09_023.jpg
The playhouse appeals to children’s imaginative side and their desire to tell stories and be seen and heard. Youth “players” cooperate to create their theatrical masterpiece, learning together that the possibilities are endless. Language skills also increase, as children assemble a story to tell before their live audience.  Lots of choices are built into this area.  Children can select to use puppets in the puppet area, or dress up in costumes and perform on the stage.  If they can dream it, they can do it.

market.jpgFriendly Market
Children will discover their familiar grocery store in new ways.  Our kid sized version of a market with all the elements of a real store is where they become a shopper, grocery check-out clerk, deli or produce clerk or re-stocker. The market will focus on nutrition and food choices.   It will also encourage math skills, with prices and one or more cash registers where food costs are entered. 



Treemendous Tunes Treehouse
Several levels of fun are available at the Treehouse.  Find the tunnel and crawl underneath.  Climb the steps or choose the more challenging “rock ramp” to the first level to try out the musical instruments.  Keep going up and what a view!  The playhouse attached to the treehouse provides another area to explore.

Let's Chat!
Sponsored by AT&T, "Let's Chat!" gives children the opportunity to interact with other children (or their parents/caregivers) in a fun, unique way. Talking to each other through the exhibit, similar to a video chat, voices can be manipulated to sound like aliens or chipmunks. People using the exhibit can also manipulate their faces through symmetry, blend with an animal, or through other neat, fun effects that are sure to bring a smile to your face!

Build It!
Funded by H&R Johnson Brothers, children “build” various construction projects in and around the workshop. Learning to use real tools and real materials safely provides a memorable experience that many children would otherwise never have.  In the building area, the walls go up and come down in time for a new house to be constructed by the next group of eager beavers.


The Build-It workshop operates the following hours:

Tues (10:00am - 1:00pm)

Wed (10:00am - 12:30pm)

Thurs (10:00am - 12:30pm)  

Fri (10:00am - 1:00pm)

Sat (10:30am - 4:30pm)

Sun (1:00pm - 4:00pm)

The workshop is also open 9:00am - 9:30am during members-only hours. Just ask a staff person to open it up!










Safe Haven Animal Sheltervet.jpg At the Safe Haven Animal Shelter, children role-play caring for all types of animals.  They have to make decisions on what type of pet would “fit” their home, their family as well as  the pet’s needs.  Would a horse be a good pet for your apartment?  What about a fish?  Also, children may encounter animals in need of first aid or medical assistance and they will learn how they might handle these needs.  

Air Maze
Everyone knows what goes in must come out….but where?  Kids will experiment with the force of air and cause/effect as they push a brightly colored cloth or ball into the Air Maze.  They will soon realize that by moving a flapper they can change the route the item takes.  Are they fast enough to catch the item?  If they can it’s simply airmazing!

Move It!
At Move It!, children will learn about gravity, motion, momentum, force and energy. Roll the ball down the ramp and see if you can make it in the bucket.  Experiment with centrifugal force at the spin table. Race your ball on the roller coaster, does it have enough momentum to make it to the end? For a taste of human momentum, take a quick trip down the slide!  Try your hand at the oversized funnel!  Don't let gravity get you down!


toddler.jpgTummy Time
Infants and toddlers will discover their world in this area using their muscles and all of their senses.  The area is designed to encourage infants to spend time on their tummies.  Previous guidelines have encouraged parents to keep their babies on their backs.  Research has shown that these very young children do not properly develop their arm and hand muscles, which affects their large and small muscle control.  Infants and toddlers have opportunities to go over, under, around, behind, in front of and through and to develop spatial pre-math skills. Caregivers comfortably watch and guide their infants and toddlers through important developmental experiences

Health Quest






With funding from Advocate Christ Hospital and the Edward and Alice Opler Foundation, youngsters can “search” for knowledge of good health in this exhibit.  They can experiment with various tools of the trade, such as the stethoscope and a variety of other doctor tools.  And won’t they be surprised when the drum beats out their heart beat, but what happens to the beat when they vigorously exercise?  Children who develop an effective understanding of basic health promotion can establish the foundation for achieving and maintaining personal health and well-being by making informed wellness decisions now and throughout their lives.

Water Adventure and Beachcomber Islandbeach.jpg

Funding from the J. Edward Mahoney Foundation helped bring this exhibit to life.  Water’s fluid nature means explorers can make waves interacting with the crucial liquid as it flows, falls and makes things float.  Children get a multi-sensory experience feeling the water splash, hearing the water bubble and gurgle and seeing the water as it moves and laps against its banks.  Children learn to appreciate the properties of this abundant and life-giving element. “Swim” across the water to our favorite Beachcomber Island.  Comb the beach to find the “hidden” objects.  How many did you find?

Go Fly a Kite
Exploring and soaring is the name of the game as our friendly fliers create their own kite, hook it onto a pulley and watch it take flight across the museum.  The destination is only limited by their imagination!  Children express creativity and imagination as they design their kite.  They observe and experience the science concepts of force and motion. Through “flying” a kite with a pulley system, children discover mechanical wonders. Youngsters will also get a better sense of “if-then” relationships as they watch their kites fly higher and faster..

Explore Art Studio

Activities involving ALL the senses abound in our Art Room!  Numerous forms of media will be available so our young artists can experiment and create their own masterpieces, surely to be hung on their home “Refrigerator Art Gallery”.  


Firefighter Friends
Whether they are trying on firefighter gear, driving the fire truck, or participating in fire safety activities, children will experience what firemen do everyday to protect our families.  

Police Pals
The job of the police is to protect our lives, protect our property and maintain order through the enforcement of laws. Children will learn that police officers have many jobs and skills. By role playing, youngsters gain a better understanding and respect for the broad responsibilities of our police officers.


Ambulance Assistance

Children will be allowed to immerse themselves in the experience of what it takes to be a part of a paramedic team in an ambulance. Whether they are driving a critical patient to the hospital or saving a life in the back o fthe ambulance, children will have the 411 in this 911 exhibit.    

Multi-purpose Room
The multi-purpose room is a great location for performances, group meetings, special occasions, and much much more.  In this room, children may be audience members or performers, teachers or students, observers or doers, workers or players depending on the activities and events that are planned.  And most importantly, what a great place to schedule a birthday party!  Special thinks to Jim and Joan Buschbach for help bringing this room to life.