Babies - Museum of Science and Industry

MSI is huge, with lots of space to walk, but it's often quite loud, and the best exhibits are more experiential, rather than things to read or watch while walking through with a sleeping baby. As a result, it's not my top choice for when I want to get out by myself with a baby, but I have certainly brought babies along with older siblings many times.

To just walk with baby by yourself, I think the U-505 and the Space Center are best for combining good walkability and interesting things to see. The hallways at the front of the museum (starting with Fast Forward on one side and Extreme Ice on the other) are decent for walking, though less interesting for the caregiver. Avoid the rotunda, Science Storms, and Transportation Gallery with a sleeping or quiet baby, the loud Coal Mine whistle and artificial lightening will fill those areas with sound every once in a while.

For babies on the move, Idea Factory has a great area with lots of space to crawl or walk around. On the left side, there's an area just for kids under 36 months (and usually just babies or a few older siblings are there); the main area of Idea Factory is also fine, just busier. Idea Factory will be closed or have unusual hours on occasion, and you need a free timed ticket to go in—get that at the kiosk by the entrance.

If you just want some free space for baby to crawl around, Yesterday's Main Street is often pretty empty.


There is one area specifically for nursing, in the Idea Factory on the first floor (lower level) of the building. If you say you want to use the nursing room you should be able to go in without a timed ticket. The nursing room is on the left side of the split (the main area is on the right; the left is specifically for kids under 36 months and provides good entertainment for younger kids who need to stay nearby). Unfortunately there is no bathroom very close by.

The museum explicitly encourages mothers to nurse wherever they feel comfortable, but there aren't many great places to nurse. There are many benches throughout the museum but typically not in quiet or private areas. I thought I had found a decent bench that was both of those things—then I heard the mine whistle directly behind me; you’ll want to avoid Science Storms as well due to the frequent sudden and loud noises.

One decent option is to go to Yesterday’s Main Street. There is a movie theater at the end which plays silent movies. The room is often empty, plus it’s dark and calming, with only the piano music that accompanies the silent movie. It’s near the mine whistle, but should be insulated enough that baby won’t be too bothered. And the movie is somewhat entertaining, a good distraction for older kids (or just for you).