4 DuPage Children's Museum
About 30 miles W of Chicago
Chicago's western suburbs are rapidly expanding. Naperville, a farming area not so
long ago, is now one of Illinois's largest cities. Home to the DuPage Children's
Museum, Naperville also has a historic downtown. The two make for a perfect day's
outing. The museum is geared to all ages, but toddlers and up will enjoy it most.
BY CAR Take the Eisenhower Expressway West (I-290) from Chicago. Take the
I-294/I-88 West exit toward Indiana/Aurora. Merge onto I-88W, the East-West
Tollway. Take the Naperville Road exit and turn right on Naperville Road. Turn
right on East Ogden Avenue/U.S. 34. Turn left onto North Washington Street.
BY TRAIN Catch the Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Line ( & 312/322-
6777; www.metrarail.com) from Union Station on Canal Street (between Adams
and Jackson Blvd.) in Chicago to Naperville.
EXPLORING THE MUSEUM
DuPage Children's Museum is located in Naperville, a historic, formerly rural
community with a Main Street U.S.A. downtown district worthy of Norman
Rockwell. (Naperville maintains a collection of 19th-century buildings in an out-
door museum setting known as Naper Settlement, with a lovely river walk.) At the
museum, visit six “neighborhoods,” where kids can learn about everything from
construction to art. It's a great layout that eliminates walls, so you can keep an eye
on your kids even if they are in different exhibits. Creativity Connections brings
art, math, and science together; wee ones can enjoy black, white, and red patterns
to stimulate their brains, look at themselves in mirrors, and change the color of a
light's filter to see themselves in a new perspective, while older kids can play with
shadows and light. Build It puts kid-size saws, hammers, and other real tools in
kids' hands and lets them build a chair for a Beanie Baby, or saw wood. (Never
fear, staff members are on hand to make sure everyone stays safe.) The littlest ones
get to participate by hammering golf tees into Styrofoam and building with soft
blocks. Make It Move turns kids into scientists experimenting with gravity. Air-
Wo r k s lets kids walk through a wind tunnel, and with the wave of a special wand,
fill up an air sock. WaterWays shows kids how the power of water can be har-
nessed, and how to use sandbags to stop the rush of a waterfall. (Waterproof
aprons are on hand to keep clothes dry.) Families with very young children should
plan to spend about an hour here (or longer, if attention spans allow). Older chil-
dren will be happy here for 2 to 3 hours.
301 N. Washington, Naperville. & 630/637-8000. www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org. Admission $7 adults
and children over age 1, $6 seniors. Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sat 9am-5pm; Thurs 9am-8pm; Sun noon-5pm.
WHERE TO EAT
The museum has a dining area with vending machines and a microwave, and
nearby you'll find plenty of fast-food restaurants. For a change of pace, try pizza
at Lou Malnati's, 131 W. Jefferson St. ( & 630/717-0700 ).
5 Wonder Works
10 miles W of downtown Chicago.
Wonder Works is the Chicago area's newest children's museum, located in Oak
Park, a historic and scenic suburb, with a wonderful downtown full of shops and