Our New Exhibit

Water: A New Experience

We’ve got a bold idea, so big we can’t do it alone.

Our Big Idea

About Water City

Imagine a miniature Chicago cityscape where rivers and channels will meander between skyscrapers. Imagine water-activated musical buildings that will produce a symphony of surprising yet familiar sounds. Imagine rolling fog as water plinks on a canopy overhead. Water City, designed with an eclectic, urban feel, will immerse visitors in falling, flowing, sprinkling, pooling, squirting and misting water.

For 35 years, generations have enjoyed our water exhibit. Rather than bask in our achievements, we’re more inspired than ever to innovate. Now is the time to create a new, better and bolder water experience for the next generation.

  • Water City will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

    Using familiar re-purposed objects, the exhibit will include recognizable elements from Chicago’s skyline, like the historic Water Tower, the Willis Tower, and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Visitors will open and close several moveable bridges, play with fanciful arching water in the Buckingham Fountain and direct boats through the river system.

  • Water City will respond to the way children like to learn.

    Children play to learn about the world around them, and, in Water City, children will be in charge. Visitors will manipulate water in lots of ways–from controlling the rainfall’s intensity to changing the flow of water with locks and dams. The entire cityscape will be even lower to the ground to provide easier access for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Our Campaign

Join Us.
Every Dollar Counts!


Our New Look

Play (re)Imagined

Thanks to generous contributions from donors, our Dare. Discover. Do. capital campaign has nearly reached its goal. With just a bit more to raise, we are launching a campaign to bring our idea of this original, immersive, imaginative water exhibit to life.

Now, more than ever, families are turning to Chicago Children’s Museum to provide a safe, educational and playful environment. In response, CCM embarked on multi-phased renovation project to create more engaging and more accessible spaces to better serve families. New spaces include our new first floor Welcome Center, expanded second floor gallery space, a new Art Studio with extended programming hours, and a new Education and Community Program Center.

Over the next year, visitors will be able to ascend a new two-story climbing structure, Cloudbuster, put simple machines to work in a new interactive sculpture, and make it rain in Water City. Come learn, explore and play. Your support allows the museum to continue working towards creating a better–and more playful–future for children.

  • Our Transformation: From Vision To Reality

    Welcome Center

    Our new, easily visible and accessible first floor entrance houses admissions
    and the museum store.
  • Our Transformation: From Vision To Reality

    Second Floor Gallery

    The re-conceptualized second floor features multiple art installations, programming spaces and is place to relax or regroup near Suchomimus or in the Snack Spot.
  • Our Transformation: From Vision To Reality

    Education & Community Program Center

    Located on the third floor, this brand new space hosts specialty family programs, like the ever popular Petite Chefs, and teacher trainings.

Visitor Memories

For over 20 years, the universal pursuit of water play has delighted visitors in CCM’s WaterWays exhibit. We celebrate those memories as we build upon the success of the experience with a fresh new idea.