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Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) has been entertaining and teaching children and their families for over four decades. Since 2010, MCM has resided on the Capitol Square in Madison, attracting people from Madison and beyond. In a typical year, the museum serves over 200,000 visitors. MCM is consistently rated one of the top ten children's museums in the nation by publications like Parents Magazine and USA Today. The museum is whimsical and creative, spread out over two indoor floors, a rooftop garden, and a newly renovated outdoor Wonderground exhibit. MCM is the perfect place for families in the Madison area looking for year-round fun and educational activities.  


In 1998, the museum began working toward becoming the most sustainable museum possible. To begin, they created an exhibit called First Feats. This exhibit provides a safe learning environment for young children. It helps protect them from harmful chemicals and other elements commonly found in play areas. First Feats eliminated harmful carpeting, laminates, formaldehyde-infused plywoods, and plastics. They used local, natural materials to create a cozy and welcoming space. Since then, MCM has led the way in creating sustainable exhibit designs for museums. This value has influenced every aspect of the museum, from facilities to programming. MCM made a big change by moving to its permanent home on Capitol Square. A lush green rooftop oasis in the heart of downtown has become one of the most-loved parts of the museum. In 2020, the Wonderground project started and expanded outdoor exhibits and programming to 10,000 square feet. 


The museum strives to be a place every child can enjoy, no matter their background. MCM Access for Everyone programs make sure that cost is never a problem. Admission is only $1 and memberships start at $15 for eligible individuals. This year, the museum opened Little John’s Café. It's the only pay-what-you-can restaurant in a museum in the country. MCM offers a free membership to new parents and their child (up to two caregivers) until the child is 18 months old. The program is proudly supported by Park Bank.


MCM offers a wide variety of fun exhibits geared towards children of various age groups. Families can explore exhibits both indoors and outdoors. It's the perfect place to bring kids, no matter the season. 

  • Explore the Rooftop Ramble's outdoor greenery and enjoy breathtaking views of the Capitol and Lake Monona.

  • Meet Earl the Snake or one of the many rooftop chickens.

  • Run and climb in the Wonderground, MCM’s newest addition, which includes 10,000 square feet of outdoor, active play space.

  • Inside, spin in the human-sized Gerbil Wheel or paint and weave in the Art Studio.

  • Children 5 and under can crawl, toddle, skip, pretend, and play in a beautiful space that supports their growth and development.  Babies gaze at the fish tank and peer up at the butterflies moving their wings.  A few years later, they’ll traverse the Bone Bridge high above the visitors below.


In the first half of 2022, the museum listened to Hmong, Latinx, Indigenous, and Black families. They wanted to understand how to better serve the community. MCM has a new summer program with MMSD Summer Arts Academy. It gives free museum visits and arts enrichment. Led by contracted teaching artists of color, the program reached over 1,200 MMSD elementary summer school students. Because of this, MCM had more kids with different backgrounds in their summer camp. MCM Roadshow started a mobile exhibit program to bring culture to underserved neighborhoods.   


Madison Children’s Museum will continue to strengthen relationships and partnerships with neighborhoods, communities, and diverse cultures to serve all children and families—so that every child can reap the benefits of creative, open-ended play.