Top 10 things to know: Children’s Discovery Museum at Bloomington-Normal
The top 10 things you should know before visiting the Bloomington-Normal Children’s Discovery Museum.
Discover Bloomington-Normal’s Children’s Discovery Museum, an action-packed children’s museum located a short drive from Champaign-Urbana.
What: Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown Normal, IL
Or: Normal downtown: 101 E rue Beaufort. It is located right in front of the station on a roundabout with very close car parks.
When: 9 am-5pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is open to members only on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
What to bring: Admission is $ 8 per person aged 2 and over. Children below the age of 2 are free. Family memberships are available for the year starting at $ 95 per year. If you get a Family Plus membership, you’ll enjoy benefits at participating ASTC and ACM sites, giving your family free admission to places like the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry throughout the year. year !
- It is worth the detour. If you are coming from Champaign-Urbana we think it is worth the trip for the day. You will see why. Parking is available in a number of parking garages / terraces. The museum’s website details well what is free and where you will pay. We choose to park at Uptown Station Deck. You exit the station and take a very short walk (without crossing a street) to the museum gates.
Prepare your own food to extend your visit without having to leave. The second floor of the museum includes the “Landings” area with many tables, conveniently located next to the climbing structure. You can feed your children and then sit back and enjoy the peace while you enjoy a snack (or some quiet time yourself) sitting right in front of the only entry / exit points of the climbing structure .
- About the climbing structure: It is visible as soon as you walk into the museum looking up. The children come in and out of the second floor. It stretches all the way to the third floor of the museum, but there is no way out on the third floor. Some places may be suitable for parents to climb, but I watched my kids climb them and it looked like most of it would be tight pressure for an adult.
- The museum is three floors of fun. Highlights on the first floor include the water table, the grocery store / pizza kitchen, a fenced-in play area for kids five and under, and plenty of other areas. The small children’s play area has playground-type equipment, but is generally quite suitable for toddlers. This makes this area a great place for a breastfeeding break for a mom who may be juggling a baby and toddler when she visits. There is a breastfeeding corner located on the third floor, inside the bathroom, but the museum clearly states: “Mothers can breastfeed their babies where they feel most comfortable in the museum!” Benches are provided for seating on each floor. Saw many breastfeeding mothers all over the museum on our trip.
- Consider beforehand whether you want to visit the water table on your arrival or later in your visit. Your children will see it right away. Gowns and dryers are provided, but our children were soaked after they finished playing. The good news is that they’ll probably want to play here for your entire visit if you don’t report the rest of the museum. So many water-related things to do!
- You can get to the other floors of the museum by elevator, which makes it very accessible for people with disabilities / strollers, or choose to take the stairs as well. Going up one floor, the second floor is where you’ll find some really stellar exhibits which, in my mind, are aimed at slightly older kids (but still very appealing to younger ones). The climbing structure can be found on this floor, as well as a large energy display where children can build and test their own wind turbines or play with ‘aerial mazes’ and pull brightly colored scarves through different waterfalls. ‘air. The second year students in our group were delighted with this floor of the museum.
- You can also find the agricultural exhibit on the second floor. Young children will love to climb in the tractor or combine, and kids of all ages will love playing with the “grain,” which are brightly colored soft balls that you can throw through different chutes or “feed” the cows. This is another area where our children could have spent the entire visit. Kids who want a little less stimulation can head to the farm play area and have fun creating their own farm scene with tractors and farm animals.
- The top floor of the museum has an artistic theme. Children can paint on transparent “walls” (again, gowns are provided), “conduct” an orchestra themselves or put on a play, with a functional technical booth. It was the quieter floor of the museum when we visited and if you have creative kids they will be delighted. Try not to think about the germs / ickies that may be lurking in the costumes (and hats) in this area and sit back and enjoy the undoubtedly adorable performance your kids will give you.
- I know you think ‘museum for children’ and it seems like an exhausting day no matter how old your kids are. The way this one is configured, I really believe you won’t find it that way. There are so many places a parent can safely sit and watch their children play, and the areas are clearly designed for families with multiple children in mind. On the first floor, for example, the train tables for the younger ones are located right in front of the massive brick / foam tube construction area. My kids are 8 and 5 and we didn’t complain about “I want to GO ELSEWHERE” during our visit.
- Additionally, the museum is detailed on its website and appears to be designed in such a way that families visiting a child with special needs will find it a great experience. Sensory bags, including noise-canceling headphones and restless toys, are available to checkout at reception and if you have a child with you who needs a break in a quiet space, just ask reception for recommendations. your arrival.
We know it’s a bit far from Champaign-Urbana, but it’s so wonderful we think it’s worth it, with you and your kids begging to come back soon!