5 Quirky Chicago Museums Your Kids Will Love Exploring

Ah, Chicago!

The Windy City is brimming with skyscrapers, deep-dish pizza, and… quirky museums?

Beyond the traditional galleries and historic sites, Chicago hides some wonderfully wacky museums that promise a day of fun, laughter, and learning for your little explorers.

So, buckle up as we dive into five quirky Chicago museums your kids (and, let’s be honest, you) will absolutely love exploring.


1. Museum of Ice Cream

Nestled just off Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Museum of Ice Cream is an experience that transforms the concept of a museum into an immersive, ice-cream-themed wonderland.

Think Willy Wonka meets Instagram paradise, where every corner unveils a new vibrant, fantasy-filled world dedicated to the sweet delight of ice cream.

Here’s a spoonful of our experience and some tips for families considering a visit.


2. Sloomoo Institute

If you’re on the hunt for an experience that’s both unique and kid-approved, look no further than the Sloomoo Institute in Chicago.

Just a 90-minute drive from Milwaukee (traffic permitting), this slime-filled wonderland offers a tactile extravaganza unlike any other.

Here you can play with slime of all different textures and varieties, get “slimed” a la Nickelodeon, create your own custom slime, and much more.

Here’s the lowdown on our recent visit to ensure your trip is as smooth as, well, slime!


3. The Color Factory

If you’re on the lookout for an adventure that’s a feast for the eyes, consider the kaleidoscope world of Color Factory Chicago.

Color Factory unites a diverse group of artists and creative minds who have crafted immersive experiences exploring color.

Every room presents a new color story, inspired by the iconic elements of Chicago—from the blue stripes of its flag to the zesty green of a Chicago dog pickle. 

With 14 immersive exhibits, Color Factory Chicago is a journey through a rainbow. Here is an overview of some of the most popular highlights.


4. Museum of Illusions

Prepare to have your mind bent at the Museum of Illusions. This museum is a wonderland of optical illusions, interactive exhibits, and mind-boggling puzzles that will challenge and amuse your family.

It’s an incredible opportunity to learn about perception, the human brain, and why our eyes see things that our brain can’t understand. Perfect for curious minds of all ages!


5. Chicago Fed’s Money Museum (Free!)

Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Money Museum provides a perfect blend of learning and fun, free of charge.

Here you’ll get the rare opportunity to snap a photo with a million dollars, put your skills to the test managing inflation, and explore the lifecycle of money—all within the heart of one of the nation’s busiest financial districts.

Before you leave, don’t forget to grab your souvenir: a bag of shredded cash, representing over $350 in its former glory. (The shredded money comes from currency that the Fed deems unusable.)


6. McDonald’s Museum

This isn’t your average McDonald’s.

McDonald’s flagship location in downtown Chicago combines the iconic fast-food experience with a tribute to its history through the decades.

Dive into the upstairs museum, where every decade of the McDonald’s franchise comes to life. From the iconic striped polyester uniforms of the 1960s to pop culture relics like pet rocks and early cell phones, the exhibits are a delightful nostalgia trip for parents and an eye-opening journey for kids.

The “Chicago Firsts” section on the first floor highlights the pioneering spirit of the Windy City, making it a must-see during your visit.

It’s a hit with kids who love the vibrant memorabilia, funky music, and, of course, the Happy Meals.


Chicago is a city that knows how to blend learning with fun, and these museums are proof of that.

Do you know of a quirky museum we should add to this list? Email us at hello@mkewithkids.com.

Happy exploring!

Until next time,
Calie


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