Pets Unleashed (courtesy of Chicago Children's Museum)

Chicago Children's Museum latest exhibit, Pets Unleashed, gives kids the chance to put themselves in the paws of their favorite pets. Open now through May 1, children will be able to play with life-sized, stuffed animal pets, care for them, and even dress up and act like them thanks to climbable dwellings, caretaking props, wearable accessories and movable structures. Actual bowls, brushes, leashes, wash tubs and vet supplies give kids the tools for boundless imaginative play.


Fun, and educational

How do we teach our children empathy?

With a little help from our furry friends!

Taking care of a pet — from daily walks to baths to cuddles — offers many kids first real opportunity to learn the social and emotional skills necessary for taking care of others. Empathy is a learned skill — and pets show us that there's more to love than giving hugs... it also requires care and commitment, and even the occasional poo poo pick up. 

"One of the best ways to get kids thinking beyond themselves is through their relationships with animals," said Chicago Children's Museum President and CEO Jennifer Farrington. "Pets Unleashed channels this natural affinity for animals into an immersive environment designed to inspire open-ended, empathy-building play."


Related events

Try to schedule your visit for a Saturday: The Anti-Cruelty Society, the museum's partner for the exhibit, will bring specially-trained dogs and guinea pigs for the little ones to interact with every Saturday at noon during the duration of the exhibit.

Check the museum calendar for more exhibit-related events, including an animal dance party and papermaking craft workshop. The museum's blog also features a great post on what your family should consider when deciding to adopt a pet.


How to get there

Located at Navy Pier, Chicago's number one attraction, the Chicago Children's Museum is the final stop for CTA buses #29, #65, #66 and #124.

For more information, visit

Chicago Children's Museum
700 E. Grand Avenue