View of the front entrance at the Children's Museum of South Dakota.

Planning Tips
+ Info

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!

We’ve tried to provide you with all the details to make your trip a great one. See below for some of our most asked questions!

Planning Tips:

Hours & Admission

  • The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm. On Sunday, the Museum is open from noon until 5 pm.
  • Café Coteau is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am until 5 pm. On Sunday, the Café is open from 10 am until 5 pm.
  • Special Hours and Holidays:
    • Member-only hours take place on Saturdays from 9-10 am and the First Thursday of each month from 5-7 pm.
    • Special Monday Days of Play will be announced on our calendar.
    • We are closed on Easter Sunday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day and for a week-long yearly maintenance each January.

Directions & Parking

  • We are located in the heart of Brookings’ downtown historic district. Get directions to the Museum.
  • Free parking is available across the street from the Museum entrance. Street parking is available along Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street (north of the Museum).

Full Day of Play

  • Your admission is good for an entire day of play! If you need to leave for a bit, please save your receipt.

Hungry?

  • We have an onsite café, Café Coteau with family-friendly meals and snacks.

Pack extra!

  • We have a few exhibits that involve water and splashing, bring an extra set of dry clothes.

What else is there to do?

Adaptive Equipment

  • A variety of items for guests with sensory processing concerns are available for checkout from the Welcome Desk. The Adaptive Equipment Toolbox includes:
    • Noise-reducing headphones
    • Universal cuffs
    • Transition timers
    • Picture cards with a map
    • Wrist/ankle weights
    • Sensory vest
    • Fidget items
    • Sensory brushes
    • Sunglasses

Elevator

  • An elevator provides access to the second-floor traveling exhibit and available classrooms. It also provides access to the second-floor mezzanine overlooking the Cloud Climber.

Nursing Family Lounge

  • The Museum is a breastfeeding-friendly business committed to providing a welcoming environment where mothers can sit anywhere in the Museum and Cafe to feed. A private Nursing Family Lounge is also available on site. See the Welcome Desk for assistance.

Restrooms/Family Rooms

  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms, as well as a family room, are located across from the Welcome Desk on the first floor. For our younger visitors, we do offer a restroom in the miniExplorers exhibit. Additional restrooms are located on the second floor to the west of the elevator/staircase. Changing tables are available in all restrooms.

Visiting the Museum FAQs

What are your hours?

The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm. On Sunday, the Museum is open from noon until 5 pm.

The Museum is open to members from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday mornings and on the first Thursday of each month from 5-7:30 pm.

We are closed on Mondays, Easter Sunday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day and for a week-long yearly maintenance each January.

How do we get there?

The Museum is located at 521 4th Street in downtown Brookings, South Dakota. It is 50 minutes north of Sioux Falls along the I-29 corridor.

Where do we park?

Free parking is available across the street from the Museum entrance. Street parking is available along Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street, north of the Museum.

Do you have a place to eat?

Yes, our Café Coteau offers breakfast, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads. Café Coteau is located in the atrium just off the Museum’s entrance. Admission is not required to dine at the café, which is open to the public.

Visitors are not allowed to bring in food purchased from outside eateries. Food or drink is not allowed in the exhibit areas of the museum.

May I bring snacks/meals?

Visitors are welcome to bring snacks or sack lunches from home to eat in the Museum’s atrium or outside picnic tables. Please do not bring food purchased from eateries other than the café. Food and drink, with the exception of infant bottles, will not be permitted beyond the museum welcome desk.

What age group does the Museum serve?

Our exhibits were designed for children ages 0-12. Typically, children’s museums serve children ages 0-8, but many of the activities and classes at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota are designed to appeal to tweens as well.

Our mission is to spark imagination and learning for all children and their grown-ups, so we think you’ll find something inspiring at the Museum whether you are a child or an adult!

May I drop my children off at the Museum?

Museum exhibits have been designed for generations to enjoy together. Children must be accompanied by an adult (age 16 and older) and a 1 to 5 adult to child ratio is required.

Pre-registered drop off camps, classes, and programs are listed on our website calendar.

How many children can I bring?

We require a 1 to 5 adult to child ratio.

How long does it take to experience the Museum?

Many guests say they could stay at the Museum all day and not experience everything. Length of visit is often determined by the age of the child.

Visitors will have a rewarding experience whether they have an hour or several hours to explore. Admission is valid the entire day. If you choose to leave the Museum, you may return the same day, just present your receipt at the welcome desk.

Do large groups require reservations?

Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more children.

Check out our field trip page to learn how we can help plan a fun, engaging day of play for school field trips, playgroups, home-school groups, or church groups.

To maintain a quality experience, the Museum limits the number of large groups that attend on any given day. Make your reservations early.

Can we bring a stroller and where do we park it?

Visitors are welcome to bring strollers. Designated parking for strollers is located outside the miniExplorers exhibit.

Will my visit include a guided tour?

We encourage visitors to play, explore, and learn in their own way. Exhibits are open-ended and offer a unique experience for each visitor.

Is the Museum wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Museum is wheelchair accessible. An elevator provides access to the second floor and accessible restrooms are located on each floor.

Are pets allowed in the Museum?

Registered service animals are welcome. Service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times.

Do you have lockers for my items?

A coat room is situated just beyond the Welcome Desk. Cubicles provide space for visitors to leave their bags as well as hang their coats.

Admission + Membership FAQs

What is the cost of admission?

Admission is $8 per person, ages 1 and up. Children under the age of 1 receive free admission. Admission is free for Museum members.

The Museum is a member of the Museums for All program. Learn more about our Access Initiative if the price of admission or membership is a burden

Once we’ve paid admission, can we come and go?

Yes, visitors can come and go within the same day of paid admission. Please stop by the welcome desk before you leave to inquire about the process for reentry.

Do you participate in the reciprocal program with other children’s museums?

We are a member of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM). Members who select the ACM Reciprocal membership receive 50% off general admission for up to 6 people when visiting other participating ACM museums.

Exhibit + Program FAQs

Would my baby enjoy the Museum too?

Yes, definitely! While there are toddler spaces in each gallery, the miniExplorers exhibit is specifically designed for visitors under the age of 4.

Why does miniExplorers have an age restriction?

This exhibit supports the Museum’s youngest guests and their overall integration of physical, spatial, and cognitive development. The Children’s Museum of South Dakota also wanted to provide a designated space for parents who might want a quieter place for their toddler to play.

May an older child come into the miniExplorers exhibit if she/he is with younger siblings?

Yes, of course! But please keep in mind that the miniExplorers exhibit is designed for a toddler’s developmental needs. Toddler spaces in each gallery provide excellent opportunities for families with children of varying ages to explore and enjoy the Museum together.

What is the easiest way to find out about new programs and events?

Stay up-to-date using our website calendar. You can also join our e-mail newsletter. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, too.

I hear there’s water play at the museum. Should we bring a change of clothes?

Water activities are available both indoors and outdoors. While we have rain jackets and hand dryers in our Splash! exhibit, it is likely that you might get a bit damp.

We would suggest that you bring waterproof sandals as well as a towel for summer activities in the outdoor play area.

Miscellaneous FAQs

What does the front desk sign mean, “you may be in pictures” or “recording occurring today for research purposes?

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is collaborating with South Dakota State University to better serve children through research of the museum environment. This innovative research will involve studies of informal learning in families and groups, learning through play, the effectiveness of museum environments to support informal learning and developing a sense of place through museum experiences. Families participating in the research studies will be asked to sign consent forms. Children will not be participants in research without the written consent of a parent or guardian.

Can I bring alcohol to the museum?

Alcohol is not allowed in the Children’s Museum of South Dakota while the Museum is open to the public. Alcohol may be served on the premises for certain after-hours events such as wedding receptions and holiday parties. For guidelines, please contact us.

Is smoking allowed?

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is committed to offering a tobacco-free environment for all employees and visitors in order to promote wellness and provide a safe and healthy environment.  For this reason, the Children’s Museum does not allow the use of any tobacco or e-cigarette products in any areas of the museum and cafe or outside on our prairie.

Is the Children's Museum of South Dakota a peanut-free facility?

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota strives to be a peanut-free facility. Café Coteau’s menu is peanut-free, however, the Museum cannot guarantee guests will not bring in foods containing peanuts into the facility without our knowledge.

What else can we do in the area with children?

A number of activities within the City of Brookings and in the nearby region appeal to children of all ages. Check out the Brookings Great 8 Passport.

Do you have a lost and found?

Have you lost something? You may find it at the Welcome Desk. Ask one of our staff members for assistance. Or call 605-692-6700 ext.0 for more information.

Additional questions?

Please email or call us at 605-692-6700.