Open Wed–Sun 9am–4pm, plus late on Thur til 8pm. • Get tickets.

Open Wed–Sun 9am–4pm, plus late on Thur til 8pm. • Get tickets.

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Community Concourse

Expect the unexpected in the DeAtley Community Concourse!

From the moment they step into the museum, children can explore a space created just for them. From interactive art exhibits, to exhibits that bring Madison’s past to life, kids can learn through play even before they reach the admissions desk.

Admission Not Required (before the admission desk)

MCM Lunchbox Cafe

Madison Children’s Museum offers an in-house cafe with a sustainable, community-focused twist. All of the food is “pay-what-you-can” because every child deserves healthy, filling food to fuel them as they learn through play.

“Pay what you can” is exactly what it sounds like. There are no prices—not even suggested prices—on any of the food. When you check out, please pay what you can afford. It’s ok to pay nothing, a little, or a lot. If you can pay a little more, please do so. It helps sustain the cafe overall. If you can’t pay much, please eat. Again, it’s ok to pay nothing, a little, or a lot.

Windows to the Past Exhibit

Next to our front desk, kids can go down a few steps and back in time to a special exhibit area dedicated to exploring Madison’s past. Interact with historical objects, play pretend, and learn what life was like for other generations of children living in Wisconsin.

Currently: A Stitch in Time
Opened June 2019

Sidewalk Suprise Community Art Display

The Community Concourse also contains our rotating Sidewalk Surprise exhibit. Spontaneous and unpredictable, enjoyed whether you’re just strolling by the museum or stopping in for a visit. The exhibit features pop-up art in the museum windows with work from kids, local artists, and community members. View information on the current Sidewalk Surprise.

Wow! Gallery: Scratch That!

The Wow! Gallery is in the museum’s Hamilton Street window and provides a space for interactive sculpture and art.

The current installation is Scratch That!, a whimsical kinetic sculpture installation that plays with all things that make you itch and scratch. This display features the amazing wooden scratching machines of Midwest artist Matt Thompson. If you’re outside and walking up Hamilton Street, look for the Flea Circus, located under the exhibit and visible only from the sidewalk.

Squashed House cafe playspace

Right next to the cafe is an enclosed play space built under the stairs to the second floor. The squashed house changes theme periodically with evocative toys and decorations. Currently, it’s decorated as a pirate’s house with a nautical theme.

Admission Required (past the admissions desk)

Seymore’s Adventure Exhibit


Seymore’s Adventure won MCM’s 2016 Polling Place election, with 36% of the vote cast by our under-18 visitors. Seymore returns to the museum floor after first appearing in MCM’s Leap Into Lakes exhibit nearly twenty years ago. Adventure with (and through!) Seymore and learn about fish anatomy and lake habitats while you play. Crawl through Seymore, imagine yourself below the surface of the lake, don a life jacket and catch fish from a boat, try on lake create costumes, learn about water, wetlands and limnology, plus more!

Opened January 20, 2017

Thank you to our supporters!

The Community Concourse is possible by Bill and Jan DeAtley.

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