610 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago
For a new way to celebrate Hanukkah, start with a visit to Chicago’s very own Spertus Museum. Spertus recently debuted its new interactive children’s museum within a museum, the Gray Children’s Center.
Some kid favorites include a wall of doors and drawers that draw children to discover the secrets of each of the letters of both the Roman and Hebrew alphabet. A mechanized toy theater invites visitors to create a story from interactive cartoon panels. The rope climbing tube allows kids to climb up and search for stories up high in the sky while the 360 Degrees Aquarium plunges them into the sea where they’ll hear fish tales.
Focusing on literacy-based activities inspired by text and literature in the Jewish tradition, the center’s goal is to promote cultural literacy and foster creative reading and writing skills in children of all backgrounds.
Created by Redmoon Theater artistic director Jim Lasko and architect Odile Compagnon, the center features imaginative, hands-on activities. Children will hear stories and create stories of their own while exploring puppetry, music and visual art.
Recommended for children ages 2-12, the center also offers vibrant programming for kids and parents alike. "We came across this great mystical tradition in Judaism that says that everything in the world is created from language. It was this concept—of writing as an act of creation, one through which we continue to form and change the world—that became our jumping off point," Lasko says.