DiscoveryCenter-1Chicago has no shortages of great museums for both adults and children alike. But did you know there is an excellent children’s museum due northwest in Rockford, Illinois?

The Discovery Center Museum is approximately 75 miles from Chicago and worth the drive. We traveled there recently with our 5 and 6 year olds who had a blast and immediately wanted to know when we’d be returning.

Part of the appeal as a parent is that the museum is situated on two floors with open floor plans so you can keep an eye on more than one child at a time. More than 250 (yes, 250!) hands-on exhibits ensures that your child will find something to keep them entertained for more than two minutes. There wasn’t an exhibit the kids didn’t want to get their hands on and we could have easily spent more than a day at the museum.

DiscoveryCenter-2In addition to the museum indoors, there is an outdoor science park which is like a large outdoor playground where the kids ran around like crazy, playing with the musical instruments, digging for dinosaur bones and exploring little caves.


And for those with children under 18 months, there is a Baby Spot within the Tot Spot section that allows the little ones to crawl around and explore.

We decided to make a day of it and visited Just Goods, a fair trade store in Rockford, where the kids chose a musical instrument from Jamtown and a great kid’s cookbook that we’ve already used many times. Then we continued to a great little restaurant with a nice beer selection (the adults needed an adult drink by this time) called Oasis Micro Pub.

By the time we drove back home to Chicago the kids were exhausted. Well worth the drive to visit this fun and interactive children’s museum just a hop, skip and a jump from Chicago.


Megy Karydes is founder and owner of World Shoppe, a fair trade importing company that works directly with artisans in South Africa and Kenya. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.