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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Field Trip Information for Planners & Chaperones

We’re excited to welcome you and your group to Madison Children’s Museum. Please review the following guidelines to help make your visit the best it can be.

Important: MCM Rules for Safe Play and Code of Conduct

Before you visit the museum, please go over our Rules for Safe Play and our Code of Conduct with your group. Chaperones are responsible for reminding the children in your care if they are not abiding by the rules or code. All attendees, including chaperones, must adhere to these rules when visiting MCM. Thank you for helping keep the museum fun for everyone!

General Field Trip Information

Field Trip Parking Information

Madison Children’s Museum does not have attached parking. There are two parking ramps located within easy walking distance of the museum and several areas of on-street metered parking.

Weekday RateWeekend Rate
Capitol Square North Garage$1.50/hr$1.50/hr, $8 max
Metered Street Parking$2.00/hr$2.00/hr Saturday,
Free on Sundays
ULI Dayton/Pinckney Ramp$6.00/hr for first 2 hours, $3.00/hr thereafter
in 20 minute increments
$10 flat-fee after 4 pm
$10 flat fee
Non-Metered Street ParkingFree, 2-hour limit in most places
check signs for no parking times
same as weekday

mcm-parking-lotParking Garages

There are two parking garages with unlimited same-day parking within one block of the museum, and several other garages within walking distance.

  • The Capitol Square North Garage, the city-operated lot on the right side of the map above, typically has the most daytime parking availability, the most affordable parking rates, and is one short block away from the museum. No elevator, but street-level parking is often available on the lower level that exits onto Dayton/Hamilton, and some strollers can manage the couple of steps down from the upper floor exit onto the Mifflin/Webster corner.
  • The ULI Dayton/Pinckney Ramp the privately-owned lot on the left side of the map is located just across N. Pinckney St. from the museum. This lot usually has disability-accessible parking spots on its first floor and often has parking available on the top floor during the day. No elevator.
    Ask at our front desk to get a discounted parking voucher (good for approximately ~20% off on weekdays) at the front desk.
  • There are several other parking ramps within walking distance of the museum. This site shows vacant parking space availability in lots in Madison.

On-Street Parking

Metered street parking is available on the streets surrounding the museum. All Madison meters now accept payment via coins, credit cards, and mobile apps. The front desk of the museum can usually make change from cash if you need coins to feed a meter. Note that meters are FREE on Sundays.

Non-metered street parking is available on the residential streets north of the museum. Parking is free with a 2-hour limit in most areas. Be sure to read the posted signs as many st

Info for Busses

  • Please unload/load in a safe manner as close to the museum as possible. There is a loading zone next to the museum at the top of Hamilton St. Buses may also unload at the top of Pinckney St.
  • The museum does not have parking or long-term idling areas for buses. It is recommended that buses park at Turville Park until it is time to pick up passengers. This reduces congestion in the Central Business District and will help avoid parking citations.
  • Please plan to return to the museum at a prearranged time, or be prepared to coordinate via cell phone when the group is ready for departure.

Arrival & Check-In

  • Please arrive on time. Groups that arrive early may be asked to wait outside until the assigned group visit time. If you arrive late, your scheduled departure time does not change unless you have made advance arrangements with the registration team.
  • A staff member will greet your group upon arrival outside the museum and provide a brief orientation, including a review of the museum rules and an introduction to the museum’s exhibit areas.
  • The orientation will take place outside under the signpost exhibit to the left of the front doors, weather-dependent. Please gather your students in this space so they are ready to listen!
  • During orientation, a head count will be taken and any changes to your reservation balance will be discussed with you at the front desk. Please check-in with front desk staff after arrival – full payment is due the day of your group visit if it has not already been submitted.
  • Rolling carts will be available for groups to store coats, lunch bags, water bottles, etc. We will keep these carts behind the front desk and you are welcome to stop by to access them at any time.

Field Trip Basics

Keep an eye on the time

Field Trips are 2 hours long. Groups that overstay their reserved timeslot may be assessed an additional fee.

Stick together in smaller groups

Groups larger than 10 kids should be divided into smaller units, each with a designated adult who will stay with the group and supervise those children as they move throughout the exhibits. We’ve found the ideal ratio is 1:5.

Share the space with others

During most field trips, the museum is open to the public and there will be other families with children enjoying the exhibits at the same time as your group. When you are chaperoning a group at the museum, we ask that you enjoy the space as any family group would. This means sharing, playing nicely, being mindful of others in your space, and actively supervising the children under your care at all times.

Participate in drop-in programs in smaller groups

In addition to our regular exhibits, our staff often offer additional programs and projects to all visitors on a drop-in basis, such as music programs, special art projects, and science experiments. A list of the day’s drop-in programs is on the Welcome Wall, near the front desk.

To ensure that all museum guests can participate in any drop-in activities, we ask that field trip groups have no more than 10 students from your group participating in a drop-in program at the same time, with at least 1 chaperone for every 5 students.

Our staff are here to help

If you need help with first aid, wayfinding, or finding a missing child from your group, please speak to one of our staff members. You can identify us by our aprons and nametags. Staff circulate throughout the exhibits and you can always come to the admissions desk on the first floor for assistance.

While our staff members may remind visitors of the rules as needed, you are primarily responsible for supervising the children in your group.

Explore the exhibits, except for the Wildernest

Unless otherwise noted, your group is free to explore the museum, including our rooftop garden/nature center, and the outdoor Wonderground play area.

The one section of the museum that is off-limits to field trips is our Wildernest space (LL in the elevator) which is reserved for MCM’s youngest visitors. We ask that field trips do not go into the Wildernest to ensure our littlest friends, including babies and toddlers, have a safe and fun space to play in.

Planning for Meals/Snacks

  • The museum does not have a lunch room that can accommodate lunch breaks during field trips. Owing to its small size, our cafe is not available for use by field trip groups.
  • Food and beverages other than water are not permitted in the the museum exhibits.
  • Groups requiring a lunch venue may consider outdoor spaces such as the State Capitol Lawn or James Madison Park. To see about reserving the Capitol Basement Lunchroom, please contact Capitol Visitor Services at (608) 266-0382.
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