BN Life

BN Our Story – Children’s Discovery Museum 25th Anniversary

It’s safe to say that most children in Bloomington-Normal have attended a birthday party at the Children’s Discovery Museum at some point over the years. The first incarnation of the museum opened in 1994 at the College Hills Mall, where business exceeded expectations; the museum drew about 50,000 visitors. It expanded to a larger location the following year, and again in 2004 to its current location in Uptown Normal. It welcomes 140,000 visitors each year, and it recently welcomed its 2,000,000th visitor!

Director of Museum Experiences and Engagement Shelly Hanover stated that the museum not only provides a fun environment for children to visit, they provide a learning environment as well. “We are not only an entertainment destination, but also a non-traditional education environment where kids and adults are encouraged to learn and play together,” she said. “All our exhibits, programs and special events are built around our philosophy that children learn best through play, while we sneak the content and learning in!”

The museum directs their activities for children between the ages of six months and 12 years, and they use Next Generation Science Standards and STEAM components to guide their exhibit and program development. Kids can visit the AgMazing farm exhibit, climb the gigantic climbing structure and invent new technology at the Innovation Station. They can also explore their artistic side by creating works of art on the paint wall or putting on a production in the Imagination Theater. Hanover said that most families spend an average of three hours at the museum. “We recognize that every day is a special day for the children and families visiting the museum, whether it’s a field trip, birthday party or a day out with friends … a museum visit becomes a part of special childhood memories.”

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Children’s Discovery Museum, a breakfast will be held at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott on September 12 at 7:30 am. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at From 1-8 pm, the museum will have a family fun party, with discounted admission, face painting, and cake and ice cream.

To learn more about the Children’s Discovery Museum visit us online at

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