Getting Brainy With Baby
Of all the places you think about taking your baby, a museum probably isn't one of them. The long, echoing hallways and rooms full of breakable items don't exactly mesh with your little bundle of joy, right? If you're itching to feed your brain and live like a sophisticated human being once again, try one of our top picks for baby-friendly museums.
Immerse yourself and your family in the world of science at this museum. It's clearly family-friendly — strollers are welcome everywhere, all bathrooms are equipped with changing stations and they openly advertise the fact that women are free to breastfeed throughout the museum (although if you prefer privacy, just ask and they'll get you a quiet spot). Stop by the Preschool Place with your baby. It's a soft place where she can play, roll and look at lots of bright colors and textures. The museum also has story times, sing-alongs and other activities through the week.
Check out each museum's photograph policy. You'll want to document your baby's first time at a museum, but some museums won't allow photography.
Not only does the Art Institute of Chicago allow strollers throughout the building, but it lends them out, free of charge. If you don't feel like lugging yours around, there are some available for use at multiple entrances. While most of the museum enforces the "no touch" rule you'll find at most museums, the Touch Gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago lets your baby put her hands on paintings, sculptures and statues. If you're looking for a place to rest your feet while you nurse your baby, try the nursing area in the women's restroom on the lower level.
The Carnegie Museum of Art has lots of programs for school-aged kids, but it's pretty accommodating to babies, too. Strollers are available free of charge, and there are story times filled with nursery rhymes that children of any age will love. A full-service cafe gets your food to you fast — a big bonus to any mama with a squirmy baby — and the Brown Bag Lunchroom has a public microwave that's a lifesaver for moms with bottle-fed babies.
If you have a smaller stroller (think umbrella-style), you're free to push it around the Metropolitan Museum of Art with no problem. If you have a full-size or jogging stroller, they'll ask you to check it, but they'll let you use a carrier free of charge. If you need to sit awhile, or if the baby gets a little restless, there's an on-site library filled with almost 500 children's books. They may ask you to check large bags, so keep your diaper bag to a minimum if you want it with you while you're here.
Fun with baby
Need more great ideas for spending quality time with your baby? Check out Baby's Day Out City Guide — you'll discover all the top baby-friendly destinations and how to enjoy them with your little one.