Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier Turns 40

Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) kicks off its yearlong 40th-anniversary celebration, ‘Play Never Gets Old’ this weekend, Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16.  CCM will host a weekend celebration of birthday-themed programs to mark four decades of playful learning – the hallmark of childhood and its mission to improve lives by creating a community where play and learning connect.

“For the past four decades, CCM has become a place where childhood rules supreme. Chicago Children’s Museumat Navy Pier aims to encourage children and their families to create, explore, and discover together through play,” said Chicago Children’s Museum President and CEO Jennifer Farrington. “We’re proud to provide a gathering place where families from the city and worldwide can connect, come together, and have a blast.”


In October of 1982, a group of Junior League of Chicago members responded to the slashing of arts programming in Chicago schools by joining forces with the Education Resource Center, Columbia College, and Loyola University. Together, they founded Express-Ways Children’s Museum in a couple of hallways in today’s Chicago Cultural Center. Since its inception, CCM has remained committed to delivering creative, one-of-a-kind exhibits and original arts and STEM experiences solely with children in mind. Today in its newly renovated space at Navy Pier’s Family Pavilion since 1995, CCM has welcomed nearly 15 million children and their families.


“While the word ‘museum’ suggests a world behind glass, we invite children to touch and test, build and take apart, experiment and interpret,” said Farrington. “This is what makes Chicago Children’s Museum a safe, enriching space where every child has the opportunity to delight in the universal pursuits of childhood.”

Play Never Gets Old Birthday Weekend Bash

This weekend, Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16, CCM invites families to celebrate four decades of play and learning CCM-style. The programming activities will include the following:

  • Pop-Up Dance Parties on the :40 throughout the day — Get ready to dance! Wherever you are in the museum, join in on our one-song birthday dance parties to celebrate CCM’s birthday.
  • Ribbon Wishes — Make a wish for the museum’s future, or tell us what you love most about CCM as you write or draw on a colorful ribbon to add to an upcoming art display.
  • Party Hat Challenge — 3,2,1…play! Can you create a party hat that will stay on your head during our party experiment?
  • Party Animals: Stuffed Art — Celebrate CCM’s 40th anniversary by designing your very own simple stuffed animal using fabric, ribbons, newspaper, and a stapler!
  • 40th Birthday Display — Visit the unique new display to look for items that tell the story of the museum’s history. Use the seek-and-find booklet to help you make discoveries!

Special $4 Admissions on Sunday, October 16 ONLY!

Thanks to the generous donation from founding board member Karen Harrison and her husband Walter Freedman, CCM will offer $4 admission for all children and adults on Sunday, October 16.


About Chicago Children’s Museum

The mission of Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) is to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect. CCM is dedicated to young children and the important adults in their lives. Play-filled experiences, including more than 15 interactive exhibits and daily programming, tap into how kids learn and engage from ages 0-10 to develop the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

Featured Image: CCM