Hands-on at Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, IL

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The Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, IL is a top ten rated children’s museum in the United States.

This spacious children’s museum offers many different hands-on activities and play spaces to learn and discover. 

discovery center museum

Exploring the Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, IL

discovery center museum rockford, IL learning math through Origami

The hands-on experience begins immediately, with the “Figure It Out!” math focused area to the left of the central kiosk.

My husband is great with origami so the origami-math display caught my eye immediately.

Based on the number of kids working on origami during my visit, it’s popular with the younger set too.

Besides origami, the Figure It Out! area at the Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, IL offers nine math-themed activities to answer the age old question, “What does math have to do with real life anyway?”

There are many other exhibits to enjoy — for the kids and the kids at heart who accompany them!

The Discovery Center Museum’s Simple Machines exhibit that allows kids of all ages to explore gears, levers and pulleys. The pulley chair-lift offers a challenging, laugh inducing display of the power of pulleys. Trust me… You have to try it!

Another interesting center that I’ve not seen elsewhere is the Team Up! exhibit that allows kids to explore the science of sports. Adults and kids alike tried their soccer goalie skills, tennis and football gear. Yes, that’s me in the photo above right…. Looking tough!

Discovery center museum 3

The Tot Spot exhibit, designed for kids ages 6 and under, is quite large. This exhibit at the Discovery Center Museum Rockford, IL offers kids lots of play space.

I was impressed with the play house that includes a garage complete with car and tools, front porch, and dog house.

The water discovery exhibit allows many kids to explore the power of water at one time.

A toy train, craft area, and more round out this spacious, light-filled area.

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Outdoors, the museum offers Discovery Park, an 8,000 square foot, 2-story maze and activity area.

Besides climbing through the maze, the outdoor park offers hands-on activities to explore motion, sound and light.

This park area is wheelchair accessible.

For safety, it offers only one entrance/exit. Parents can relax on shady park benches knowing their kids can climb and explore safely.

The museum director shared that many parents bring their kids to the park after a day in Rockford to wear them out so they sleep on their drive home to cities and towns a couple hours away.

Beyond the outdoor maze area, museum visitors can enjoy the river walk along the Rock River, even lunch on the waterfront.


I enjoyed the high quality exhibits at the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL. Even more, I appreciate the careful thought behind the exhibits that draws kids in as they “play” with things they see every day.

Because it’s a hybrid science center and children’s museum, the Discovery Center Museum appeals to a wide age of children, from toddlers to middle schoolers.

Visiting Discovery Center Museum

Plan your visit to the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL:

Address: 711 North Main Street, Rockford, IL  61103

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Admission: ALL adults must be accompanied by a child to enter this museum!

  • $10.00/person
  • Free for members and children age one and younger.
  • Memberships are available.
  • Admission discounts are offered to those with reciprocal museum memberships. See your ACM membership for details.

Learn more about attractions and activities in Rockford, IL:

For more children’s museums, consider these!