4701 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076
Skokie's Indoor Imagination Playground
Located in the Oakton Community Center, part of Skokie's Park District, The Exploritorium is an awesome indoor play space for infants, tots, and young children. Just a short drive North of the City (only a few miles from of Chicago's North Side neighborhoods), this suburban destination doesn't require a long drive and is absolutely worth the visit- especially because of the affordability of The Exploritorium's admission prices.
Enter the park district building, check in at the desk and take walk one flight of stairs (or take the elevator) down to the basement play space. The Exploritorium is safely gated. Outside the gated area there’s a help desk, coatroom, snack table, vending machines with relatively healthy offerings in the event that you’ve forgotten snacks (eek) and restrooms (there are also 2 bathrooms with changing tables inside the gated play space). The play area requires shoes, except in the climbing and slide section (socks only for grownups and kids here- there are shoe cubbies right at the entrance to this section).
The area really is a wonder! There is a designated baby and toddler section with a small scale slide and climbing structure, appropriately sized ride on toys of various designs, mirrors, busy boards and plenty of fiddly toys. There’s a large U-shaped train table with all sort of vehicles in the center of the play area. A child sized rock wall, foam block building center and the indoor climbing and tube slide area are to the left when you enter the space. The climbing and slide area are super fun- but parents should note that it gets “busy” with kiddos way up high and some younger than 5 might get scared (and then you, the parent, need to maneuver up to do some rescuing!). There’s also a designated magnetic station, chalkboard wall, color station, dress-up corner complete with trains and a giant stage with story book pages that change scenes for a backdrop.
Perhaps my 2 favorite features of the Exploritorium are the giant life-sized “light bright” (honestly, it is so satisfying to put in the colored pegs and even to take them out and organize them) and the massive water table area. The water table area has plenty of smocks. There is also a built-in step stool curving around most of the station. Kids of all ages and sizes can grab an available fishing net and scoop animals, build damns or even crawl under the cave water fall and pop their heads into the clear bubble for a unique vantage point (stellar photo opportunity here). The water area also has 2 infant seats for babies to sit safely upright in and splash about themselves.
We love going here! They host awesome holiday parties for occasions throughout the year (Halloween is our favorite). Be sure to check their website to purchase tickets to their special events (they sell out).