Studies demonstrate that children who explore interactive museum exhibits in early grades see benefits in achievement over time. Kindergarten students who engaged with hands-on museum displays showed improved test scores in key subjects by third grade.
Luckily, West Loop offers the best museums to occupy children’s minds and spark curiosity. From building workshops at the Chicago Children’s Museum to seeing real dinosaur fossils up close at the Field Museum, immersive exhibits make learning exciting.
Whether staying at hotels or residing nearby, West Loop museums deliver hands-on enrichment to combat school break boredom. Read on to discover the top museum picks for families.
1. Chicago Children's Museum
With over 15 hands-on exhibits, the Chicago Children’s Museum keeps young minds joyfully occupied. Popular stops include Waterways, where kids channel inner engineers to construct river locks, dams, bridges, and canals at a giant water table. Strategically placed skyscraper replicas encourage civic planning skills too.
The Tinkering Lab delights junior innovators with building workshops, mechanical sculpture projects, and coding classes aligned with STEAM education principles. Aspiring doctors and chefs can roleplay careers with costumes and tools in Kidtown.
For pop culture fans, Circusville transforms kids into acrobats, ringmasters, and concession stand vendors. Based on iconic books, Storyland brings tales to life through dramatic play spaces. And the new MOEN-sponsored Water City exhibit features splash-worthy model rivers, dams, and pumps.
With exhibits and programming spanning science, math, engineering, culture, and literature, the Chicago Children’s Museum subtly reinforces academic lessons while feeling purely recreational. A visit here intersects entertainment with education for wholesome family enrichment.
2. Field Museum
The Field Museum brings science to life through incredibly detailed dinosaur models set among Egyptian mummies and dazzling gems in the museum’s grand halls.
Our expansive collections fuel a journey of discovery across time, with nearly 40 million artifacts and specimens from around the globe and across history. This includes SUE, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.
For families, the museum offers an immersive experience where children can imagine themselves alongside massive dinosaurs or gaze at the intricate details of an ancient mummy. Budding paleontologists will be thrilled to see SUE’s giant skeleton up close. Those fascinated by human history can wander through an ancient Egyptian tomb or marvel at the flashes of color from their gem collection.
Visitors staying downtown can easily access the museum by car or public transportation. Their Directions & Parking Guide provides detailed options for driving and parking as well as directions for taking the bus, train, or walking from nearby hotels.
3. Wonder Works Children's Museum
At Wonder Works, little ones can let their creativity run wild! This hands-on children’s museum keeps young minds joyfully occupied with over 15 interactive exhibits.
Kids can build entire worlds on the Wall of Wonder, a giant climbing structure with big colorful foam blocks in fun shapes. The Great Outdoors exhibit brings the forest inside with textures to touch, sights to see, and sounds that make you feel immersed in nature. Budding builders will love Construct It! which features toy construction vehicles, wooden blocks, a train table, and more to spark imaginations.
The museum also features an art studio, a kid-sized market and farm, a dress-up theater, outdoor garden spaces, and a nature play area. Children can pretend to be artists, shopkeepers, performers, farmers, or whoever they want to be. Educational elements like science, math, reading, and social-emotional development are seamlessly incorporated into the fun.
A visit here intersects entertainment with education for wholesome family enrichment. From babies to big kids, Wonder Works has something to fire up every child’s curiosity.
4. Sloomoo Institute
The Sloomoo Institute is a one-of-a-kind sensory play museum near West Loop that celebrates joy and sparks imagination. Near West Loop, this innovative museum for kids and families has a mission to embrace satisfaction through vivid sights, scents, textures, colors, and sounds.
Walking through the doors transports you into an unbelievable hands-on world that dazzles all your senses. It’s an unforgettable space where art and science mix like magic. Kids of all ages will be entertained by kinetic sand exhibits, glow-in-the-dark spaces, cool slime innovations, and a giant 150-foot DIY bar to concoct your personalized slime recipes. With over 4 million options, every batch is unique!
This unique space makes the Sloomoo Institute one of the most exciting, family-friendly activities in all of Chicago. From toddlers to pre-teens, this museum delivers an engaging experience that will delight the inner child in everyone.
An Adventure in Learning Awaits
With this amazing array of museums to fill vacation days with wonder, families won’t have one dull moment. After exhilarating days immersed in hands-on learning, unwind in the cozy confines of Hotel Chicago West Loop. As one of Chicago’s top affordable hotels, our art-centric property pairs exceptional service with value. Refresh and recharge in our modern rooms before heading out to continue the adventure. With museums galore right in the neighborhood, Hotel Chicago West Loop makes the perfect home base to experience the Windy City’s world of discovery.