Kids & Parents

Museum Adventure Pass: Learn Through Play

Have you ever wanted to touch a stingray? Go down into a coal mine? See a real mummy?

Chicago's collection of wonderful museums makes all of this, and more, a possibility!

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of exploring different museums with my family. Just like many children, field trips and museum visits were the highlights of my school year, but this was especially true as a home schooling family.

Libraries and museums go hand-in-hand with the Museum Adventure Pass (MAP) program. 

DPPL's  Museum Adventure Pass allows participating Des Plaines Public Library cardholders to check out one pass per family for 7 days. 

Download the list of all participating museums and attractions.  Spanish version available here.

Passes are first come, first served.  Stop by the 2nd floor youth services desks or call 847.376.2839 to see what passes are available on any particular day and get your pass. DPPL card required. 

Participating museums and attractions include Brookfield Zoo, Cantigny Park, Chicago Botanic Garden, and many others.

Excerpt from brochure at Available at 2nd floor info desk!

Each museum sets its own terms about what the pass includes. Sometimes, it is a BOGO. Sometimes, it is discounted parking, and sometimes it is a coupon to the gift shop. In any case, this resource opens the door to many fun experiences for the whole family!

The number of impressions my family's museum visits left on me are innumerable and precious.

From holding butterflies on my shoulder at the Peggy Notebaert Museum to marveling at dinosaur bones at the Field Museum of Natural History, each experience inspired a love for museums that continues to this day.

These visits were not just fun and games though. Mixed in with the toys, the bright colors, and the exhibits was a whole lot of learning.

The learning became the best part of the day through play. 

Whether from reading the descriptive blurbs by each exhibit, listening to a presentation, or getting hands-on with a science experiment, learning about the world became enjoyable when it came to life before my eyes.

Learning through play.

This is what many of Chicago’s museums excel at providing for their visitors. And, it also happens to be part of DPPL’s motto: Work-Learn-Play.

At the library, we have many resources that help bring learning to life through our programming (Curious Kids and Family Fridays), Early Literacy Center, Discovery Kits, Magnetic Play area, and many other outlets. The best part is that all this play is combined with a love of reading and books, so the fun never ends!

And, if the museum you’re interested in isn’t included in the MAP program, not to worry!

We have a list of free days offered by some of Chicago’s finest museums available at the 2nd floor info desk!

While you make your way to the library to get a Museum Pass or explore the Early Literacy Center, check out some of these books to help you make the most of your museum visit!

Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman

Museum Trip 

By Barbara Lehman

In this wordless picture book, a boy imagines himself inside some of the exhibits when he goes on a field trip to a museum.

Mrs. Brown on Exhibit

Mrs. Brown on Exhibit: And Other Museum Poems 

By Susan Katz

Poems about what the students in Mrs. Brown's class see and do during their school field trips to a variety of museums. Includes a list of some museums in different states.

Field Museum of Natural History

Books for a visit to the Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue

The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue

By Jan Wahl

A field mouse finds himself in the Field Museum when the roof of his former home is transported there with the rest of the bones of a dinosaur named Sue.

How the Sphinx Got to the Museum

How the Sphinx Got to the Museum

By Jessie Hartland

Follows the history of the sphinx of Pharoah Hatshepust from its creation in ancient Egypt to New York City's Metropolitan Museum. Also available for Dinosaur and Meteorite!

Art Institute of Chicago

Books for a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago

The Mueum

The Museum

By Susan Verde

A young girl tours and twirls through museum galleries experiencing different emotions evoked by different styles of art, and then expresses her energy and inspiration when she finds an empty canvas.

The yellow house : Vincent van Gogh & Paul Gauguin side by side

The Yellow House : Vincent van Gogh & Paul Gauguin Side by Side

By Susan Goldman Rubin

An introduction to Van Gogh and Gauguin and the difference in their paintings while living at Van Gogh's Yellow House in Arles.

Museum of Science and Industry

Books for a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry

The Super Book of Science

The Super Book of Science

Vilhelm Anton Jonsson

Introduces basic scientific concepts through a collection of simple experiments that can be performed at home.



By Brian Floca

Learn what it was like to travel on the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.

Shedd Aquarium

Books for a visit to the Shedd Aquarium

Shark Lady

Shark Lady

By Jess Keating

At 9 years old, Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. At the time, sharks were seen as mindless killing machines, but Eugenie knew better and set out to prove it. 

Inky's Amazing Escape

Inky's Amazing Escape: How A Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home

By Sy Montgomery

In a tank in a New Zealand aquarium lived an octopus named Inky. Inky was happy in his aquarium home, but he was very curious and he loved to explore. So, one April night, Inky decided to leave his tank and return to his home in the Pacific. And, this is Inky's story based on true incidents

Adler Planetarium

Books for a visit to the Adler Planetarium

100 Questions About Outer Space

100 Questions About Outer Space: And All the Answers, Too!

By Simon Abbott

An illustrated introduction to astronomy for children, presented in question-and-answer format. Full color throughout.

The Night Sky

The Night Sky

By Eduardo Banqueri

A Field Guide to our solar system and beyond.

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