Location: 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, IL
Hours: Closed Monday
Tuesday – Friday from 9 am – 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 9 am – 5 pm
Cost: $15 per adult / $15 per child / $14 for seniors / free for kids 1 and under
FREE with CLIMB membership, 50% off with ACM membership, 50% off for active military members, and $3 per person for up to 4 people for WIC, LINK, and federal or state EBT cardholders. Get more information about those programs here.
Purchase tickets here. Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-purchasing a ticket guarantees you won’t have to wait to enter.
Disclosure: We were provided with tickets to visit DuPage Children’s Museum. The opinions shared are our own.
DuPage Children’s Museum is located in Naperville, Illinois about 1.5 hours from Rockford, Illinois. DCM has been a part of its community for more than 30 years and is always updating and improving its offerings to encourage creativity, discovery, and collaboration.
DCM boasts over 17,000 square feet, on three floors, of fun and hands-on exhibits for kids. We’d recommend the museum for kids ages 3 months – 10 years old. The museum is clean, the exhibits are in great condition, and it is well-staffed with helpful and kind employees. DCM is made up of exhibit neighborhoods that group similar activities together in the same space. Kids are encouraged to lead the way and explore whichever area captures their attention.
The museum has seven neighborhoods – each with a different theme – that kids can explore. Parents are encouraged to play along too!
COVID-19 UPDATE: As of June 2022, all guests ages 2 and up are required to wear a mask while in the museum. Check their website for current guidelines before you go.
Things for Babies to Do (Birth – 24 months)
There are plenty of things for babies to do at the Dupage Children’s Museum! There are two specific areas just for the littlest ones in your family that are conveniently located off to the side of other exhibits for bigger kids. These areas are geared towards kids two years old and younger, but older siblings and friends are welcome to play too.
Creativity Connections includes an area for Tummy Time, a fish tank, tunnels with lights, and other features that allow little ones to explore color, texture, light and shadow. The area is lovely and there are mats and soft edges to prevent little ones from bumps and bruises. We’d recommend this area for infants and crawlers.
Make it Move has more of a playground feel with a wave mat, baby ball pit, a ball run, a climber, and space for toddlers to practice their gross motor skills. We’d recommend this area for crawlers and toddlers.
Both baby areas are set aside from the bigger kid exhibits while still in view of them. Babies get to be part of the action while having their own space to play safely.
Things for Kids of All Ages to Do
There are six areas that kids of all ages (and parents!) will enjoy.
AWEsome Energy lets kids explore the forces that power our world – air, water, and electricity. Kids can learn about the power of air by stepping into a display that produces a forceful wind that will make ribbons dance. They can also use the power of their bodies to jump on ball poppers, turn hand cranks, and pedal bicycles hooked to lights.
There are several fun ways to experience electricity safety in this exhibit too. Kids can use tubes to connect circuits and light up panels. At the top of the staircase, they can get a bird’s eye view of the museum and try to power a spinning mobile and figure out how to make a command center light up.
Included in this area is a massive water play structure where you can send balls down a stream, build pathways for water, play with water toys, and look through a bubble at rain falling down. This water play area was definitely a highlight of our visit as we’d never seen one quite like it! There are artistic elements to the space, including tiny copper umbrellas above the rain dome and spoons on the spinning water wheel, as well as lots of space for kids to explore and get wet.
Please note: Your kids will absolutely get wet in the water area even while wearing the provided aprons. You may want to bring a change of clothes or save the water play area as your last stop before leaving. This area can also get noisy.
Build It offers opportunities for kids to create and construct in a variety of ways.
The Moser Construction House allows kids to work with real tools and real wood to create something of their own. Kids must be accompanied by an adult and all participants must wear safety goggles while working with the tools. Kids can try using saws, hammers, nails, screws, and more. Don’t worry about your kids wandering in unattended, there is a staff member at the workshop door who ensures that kids have an adult with them before entering. We thought this section was really cool and I appreciated the emphasis on safety and using the tools appropriately.
There is also an area where kids can use PVC pipe and joints to build structures from one wall to another.
Creativity Connections gives kids a chance to draw inspiration from math and science to enjoy art.
The entire creativity exhibit is filled with interactive elements including the Calder Fish which has dangling items for little ones to inspect, Pyramid Bench which allows kids to use blocks to create pyramids, and a shadow room where you can take photos of your shadow. There’s also a giant four-paneled Light-Brite where kids can insert colorful pegs to create designs that glow in black light and a wall that kids can use light pens to write on. There are Picaso tiles that kids can build on a light-up table and an artwork section where different colored lights shine on the pieces so you can see how each color changes the way the artwork looks.
The Studio is a great place to visit after Creativity Connections. This art studio offers a clean, open space with lots of tables and chairs, where kids can use supplies to make a project to take home. For the month of June, the project was an adorable rainbow made with pipe cleaners. There is a new project to do each month.
The Good Show Gallery showcases local kids’ artwork throughout the year. Stop by the check out the local talent!
Make it Move allows kids to build with a variety of materials and try to make things move through the course. There are several sections that include magnetic blocks that you can build on a wall, wooden blocks that you can build on the ground, and a structure where you can put the ball in and hand crank it to the top of a spiral tube. There’s a lot going on in this section so plan to stay there a while especially if you have a kid that enjoys building! You can also head up to the second floor to check out the block room which has shelves full of hundreds of wooden blocks that kids can use to create anything they can imagine!
Special Attraction: The Questioneers
The newest exhibit at the DCM is centered around The Questioneers. This is the first exhibit that the DCM built themselves and the quality and detail of the exhibit is fantastic! The exhibit will travel around the country after it wraps up its run at DCM in September 2022.
The Questioneers is a book series written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts about a group of friends: Iggy Peck – Architect, Rosie Revere – Engineer, Ada Twist – Scientist, Sofia Valdez – Future Prez, and Aaron Slater – Illustrator. Each member of the group brings their own expertise to help solve problems while learning about the world. The Questioneers can also be seen in the Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist. The Questioneers encourage kids to Read. Question. And Think.
The Questioneers exhibit takes up most of the second floor of the museum and has several areas to explore. The entire exhibit is bilingual with both English and Spanish signage.
When you enter the exhibit, the fun starts at Miss Lila Greer’s classroom, a large table with activities and space to make artwork. When your kid finishes their drawing, they can tape it up on the wall for everyone to enjoy. They can also use the whiteboard to jot down ideas or try their hand at crafting a paper rocket.
Each Questioneer character has a special area dedicated to their interest.
Kids can visit Ada Twist’s house where they can see experiments in progress, write on a giant roll of paper, figure out why a clock goes tick-tock, and read in Ada’s special thinking chair.
In the Rosie Revere section, kids can test rockets to see how they fly, pilot a Heli-o-cheese-copter, and test their own flying or falling contraptions.
Kids can use giant pancakes to create an arch, build bridges and drive duck cars across them, and design buildings in the Iggy Peck section.
In the Sofia Valdez section, kids can play a giant board game to help transform Mount Trashmore into Citizen’s Park and explore what it means to be a leader.
Finally, kids can practice their art skills and learn how to find their voice in the Aaron Slater section.
DCM holds monthly special events, and members-only events, with themes like bubbles, painting, getting messy, and more! You can view a list of the 2022 events here.
They also offer adaptive play sessions geared towards families with disabilities, on the autism spectrum, and/or with sensory processing disorders. These play times have limited attendance, sensory kits available (noise reduction headphones, fidget objects, etc.), noise and light reduction, visual cues in exhibits, and dedicated staff to provide a supportive environment. You can find out more about these upcoming sessions and register here.
The Respite Room is a calm space for families to take a break from the action. The room has cushions on the floor where kids can lounge and calming sensory exhibits with instructions on how to use them to pause and breathe. This is such a great feature for families that need a little space and privacy to calm down and relax!
A family restroom is conveniently located on the first floor and is large enough to accommodate an adult-size wheelchair.
Private lockers and coat racks are available to store your items while you play.
Accessibility resources are available to borrow during your visit. These include noise-reducing headphones, timers, therapeutic play guides, books in Braille, and much more. Stop by the Visitor Services desk to borrow these items. You will need to bring a valid photo ID. You can also ask the staff and volunteers in blue or red aprons for assistance during your visit.
Bean Sprouts Cafe is a healthy and fun cafe that’s located on the lower level of the museum. You are welcome to bring your own meal, or snacks, and eat in the cafeteria or you can purchase some adorable healthy lunch items including sunbutter and jelly piano sandwiches, cheese quesadillas rockets, and several other kid-friendly options. Bean Sprouts food is clean and organic with no artificial flavors, colors, antibiotics, or preservatives. If you aren’t hungry enough for a full meal, you can grab a sweet treat like the all-fruit popsicles we tried! Bean Sprouts Cafe is open from Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 2 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm.