Inclusion and Accessibility - Chicago Children's Museum (and Navy Pier)

From a mobility perspective, Chicago Children's Museum does a good job of being accessible. There's an elevator from the ground floor up to the museum, and another to move between the two floors with exhibits. Once you're to the museum, nothing is very far from those elevators. Wheelchair users may have more trouble with the water room, where a lot of the exhibits are up fairly high. Kids in wheelchairs may not be able to access large parts of the back of Treehouse Trails, or the Dinosaur Expedition. Parents in wheelchairs should be able to easily watch kids throughout those exhibits, however. Getting to the museum may be a challenge: Navy Pier is long, and parking can be a ways away from the museum. Busses and Uber/Lyft drop people fairly close to the museum.

The museum's Accessibility and Inclusion webpage has a great deal of additional information, from a few free wheelchairs for use in the museum, to storybook guides and therapeutic play guides, information about assistive devices that are available. There is even a program to have specially-trained students from Francis W. Parker School guide students with disabilities at the museum.

On the second Saturday of the month, there is a "Play For All" event specifically for children and families with disabilities. The museum opens one hour early (at 9am) for pre-registered guests and the first 250 who register receive free admission. For information about registering, go to the museum's Accessibility & Inclusion page.

Check out the More Content for a few notes about specific rooms in the museum.


The museum is often very crowded and groups of kids regularly run through exhibits, bumping and jostling others on their way. The fire truck area has real smoke detector alarms that kids can set off, but other areas should not have loud artificial noises, though with lots of kids the crowd noise can get fairly loud.

There is a "caregiver center" in Kids Town, a small room which has a dual purpose of a private area for nursing, and being a quiet space for helping kids calm down. There is a curtain to pull for privacy, though it won't provide much of a sound buffer. A table with a couple of chairs gives space to read a book, color, or do other small activities.