(Madison, WI): The Madison Children’s Museum has a great outdoor play space – The Wonderground! The Wonderground opened to the public in October of 2021 and is included in general museum admission or membership. No special tickets are needed to play in the Wonderground.

The Wonderground is designed to be a four-seasons exhibit. Some features and special exhibits may change with the seasons and weather, but families are encouraged to dress in layers to play in the Wonderground year-round.

Madison Children’s Museum up-cycled a defunct former parking lot area into an awe-inspiring new four-seasons, outdoor play space. The Wonderground is the museum’s single biggest expansion in over a decade. The construction needed to create the space and the climbing sculptures are the most complicated projects the museum has endeavored in its forty-plus-year history!

Hours & Location

Wednesday – 9am – 4pm
Thursday – 9am – 8pm
Friday – 9am – 5pm
Sunday 9am – 4pm
100 North Hamilton Street – Madison, WI

The Wonderground adds 10,000 square feet of new play area to the museum, designed for play in all its forms. The space is designed as a work in progress, with additional features being added and temporary exhibits cycling through so that there is always something new.

And—of course, because this is Madison Children’s Museum—the whole space is made using local, natural materials in conjunction with largely upcycled materials, objects, and artifacts, and created by MCM staff and artists from the community!

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Some of the fun: 

  • The Thicket climbing sculpture – A 23-foot-tall climbing sculpture takes center stage, weaving together natural structural wood elements into a playful new adventure. The climber will test kids’ agility, strength, risk assessment, and climbing prowess while increasing their connection to each other as helpers and friends. Below the Thicket is an Understory area for additional imaginative play.
  • Cocoon Climber– Even kids too small to clamber up the thicket get their own natural climbing and exploration zone. Little kids can build their balance and proprioception along a series of climbable natural tree structures and other obstacles designed to stimulate their senses and practice coordination.
  • The Orchard, Cabin Yard & Gardens  – The museum’s historic 1830s cabin returns, now relocated onto a small knoll overlooking the rest of the exhibit space planted with native vegetables, fruits, and grasses. The cabin area includes artifacts for historical exploration, educational programs with food and urban gardening, and a quieter resting area.
  • The Down Under – Protected from the elements by the museum’s school-group entrance above, we’re creating a larger gathering space for rest, respite, and special programs. Beautiful mosaic columns will give the space a magical, imaginative feel. Small mini-exhibits from MCM’s past are planned to rotate throughout the space.
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