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

Planning Tips
+ Info

Play Along With Us!

Here are the details to make your trip a great one. See below for some of our most asked questions!

Museum Hours

  • Tuesday 10 am to 7 pm
  • Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday 10 am to 5 pm
  • Friday 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday 10 am to 5 pm

The health and safety of the community is our highest priority. View our Operation Modifications below.

Reservations are encouraged, but not required. Walk-ins admitted as space allows. At times we may need to put families who arrive on-site on a waiting list. If that happens we do our best to accommodate them as other families leave.

In the event of inclement weather, closure information will be posted on our website and social media channels.

Admission & Reservations

Admission $9.50 for those age 1 and up.

reserve your playtime online

To guarantee your playtime, reserve your space online or call 605-692-6700 to order over the phone. Walk-ins will be admitted as space allows.

In an effort to offer as many play sessions as possible, tickets are available in the morning and the afternoon. While specific times are noted, guests are not required to enter and leave on time. Walk-ins will be admitted as space allows and at times we may need to have a wait list. We are so excited to invite you back to play!

  • Members: Be sure to create an account in Altru using your email address on file to receive your free admission.
  • Reciprocal Members: To use a reciprocal membership from another qualifying museum valid for 50% off admission for up to 6 people, use code ACM. When you arrive, show your qualifying membership card with your ticket receipt.
  • Access Admission: To reserve admission at the Access Admission rate, use code access1. When you arrive, show your EBT card (or other public assistance documentation) and a form of ID along with your ticket receipt.

Tickets are transferable but not refundable. To transfer your ticket call 605-692-6700 prior to your scheduled session.

Operation Modifications

The health and safety of the community is our highest priority. Thank you for being a partner in our wellness efforts.

We ask that you do not visit if anyone in your family or group is not feeling well. Following is our operation modifications designed to keep our space as safe as possible:

  • Face coverings: Face coverings are recommended in our public indoor setting. Our staff will continue to wear face coverings indoors. Please check our calendar for special scheduled Superhero Playtimes where masks are required for everyone age 2+.
  • Air quality: Ionization units have been installed throughout the building to clean and disinfect air through needlepoint bipolar ionization.
  • Limited capacity: Reservations are recommended and will be made available 2 weeks in advance. To guarantee your playtime, reserve your space online or call 605-692-6700 to order over the phone. Walk-ins will be admitted as space allows. If you need to change a reservation, call 605-692-6700 or email bookit@prairieplay.org
  • Physical distancing: Reminder signage to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others not in your family or group.
  • Sanitizer stations: Sanitizer stations will be made available throughout the Museum.
  • Safety features: Plexiglass screens have been installed at our Welcome Desk and Café point of sale.
  • Health screenings: Employees and volunteers will undergo a health screening when reporting for shifts.
  • Loose parts/toys that travel: The number of loose parts and toys on the Museum prairie has been reduced and our Museum team is trained to remove and sanitize props and loose parts that may need attention throughout the day.
  • Cleaning protocols: The Museum and Café have increased the frequency of the already robust cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting practices.

We will continue to closely monitor developments related to the pandemic following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization (WHO), the South Dakota Department of Health, and the city of Brookings and make adjustments to our operations as needed. Thank you for your patience and understanding and for helping to keep our community safe!

Directions & Parking

We are located in the heart of Brookings’ downtown historic district at 521 4th Street. 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).

Hungry?

Café Coteau, featuring breakfast, lunch, and SDSU ice cream, has limited seating indoors and outdoors. The Café is open to the public. Museum admission is not required.

Shopping

For unique, creative, and educational toys and books, stop by our Museum gift shop Play Central Toys & Books. It is open to the public.

Pack extra!

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

Adaptive Equipment

  • A variety of items for guests with sensory processing concerns are available for checkout from the Welcome Desk. Items will be sanitized and disinfected after use. 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

Restrooms

Wheelchair-accessible restrooms, as well as a family room, are located across from the Welcome Desk on the first floor.

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.

What else is there to do near Brookings?

Looking to spend more time in the area? Check out our nearby attractions!

Reopening FAQs

What will be the Museum and Café hours when you reopen?

Museum Hours:  

  • Tuesday 10 am to 7 pm 
  • Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm 
  • Thursday 10 am to 5 pm 
  • Friday 10 am to 5 pm 
  • Saturday 10 am to 5 pm (member only hours 9-10 am)  

Cafe Hours:  

  • Tuesday 8 am to 2 pm 
  • Wednesday 8 am to 2 pm 
  • Thursday 8 am to 2 pm 
  • Friday 8 am to 2 pm 
  • Saturday 8 am to 2 pm 
What is admission?

$9.50 per person age 1 and up.

Museum members are free.

If you qualify for public income-related assistance you may receive discounted admission or membership at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. Learn more about our Access Initiative.

How do I make a play reservation? Are they required?

Reservations can be made online or by calling 605-692-6700.

While not a requirement, reserving a playtime will guarantee your spot. Walk-ins will be admitted as capacity allows.

Reservations open up 2 weeks prior to the play date. In an effort to offer as many play sessions as possible, tickets are available in the morning and afternoon. While specific times are noted, guests are not required to enter and leave on time.

 

What are the capacity procedures? How many people will be admitted?

The health and safety of our guests and staff is our highest priority.

The Museum will open at 20% capacity. Capacity will be continually evaluated and adjusted as necessary to create a play experience that is as safe as possible.

What do I do if I can't get a playtime reserved?

Walk-ins are admitted as space allows. If we aren’t able to get you in right away, you may add your name to our wait list.

Please contact bookit@prairieplay.org or 605-692-6700, and we will be happy to help you out.

What about my membership? Is it still valid?

We have extended Museum memberships to reflect the length of Museum closure. Thank you for hanging in there with us!

Members are able to reserve playtime online at no cost. When reserving space online, members must create an account using the same email address they used on their membership paperwork to receive free admission. 

If you choose, you can honor your existing membership expiration date to support the Museum.

Questions? Contact Mari, our membership coordinator, at membership@prairieplay.org. 

How are you working to keep guests and staff as safe as possible?

Please review our Museum Action Plan and Operation Modifications. 

We will continue to closely monitor developments related to the pandemic following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization (WHO), the South Dakota Department of Health, and the city of Brookings and make adjustments to our operations as needed. Thank you for your patience and understanding and for helping to keep our community safe!

What is your mask policy? When will it change?

Face coverings are recommended in our public indoor setting.

Our staff will continue to wear face coverings indoors.

Please check our Museum Calendar for Superhero Playtimes where masks are required for everyone age 2+.

Thank you for doing your part in keeping our community safe. 

We will continue to monitor developments related to the pandemic following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization (WHO), the South Dakota Department of Health, and the city of Brookings. We will make adjustments to our operations as needed.

What are your cleaning procedures?

The Museum and Café increased the frequency of the already robust cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting practices. We also have added an electrostatic sprayer to help efficiently disinfect touchpoints at regular intervals.

The Museum Operations Team constantly evaluates and stays up-to-date on the latest research and cleaning practices.

What changes have been made to the building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system?

The Museum added bipolar ionization units within the HVAC system to help keep the air clean and prevent the spread of airborne viruses. 

What are some changes I can expect in the exhibit spaces?

There will be fewer items like costumes and plush animals, which are more difficult to quickly clean.

We also have added hand sanitizer stations throughout the Museum. Some exhibit areas are closed due to blowing air and the airborne nature of the virus. 

Additional changes include: Bookshelves added to exhibit spaces, the story kiosk moved to the second floor, we added a Roadways exhibit to the outdoor prairie, and the Tinker Wall was updated.

What did you do during your closure?

We worked hard to be a resource to the community. We continued to invest in our people and programming. We provided educational content and Recipes for Play on our Seize the Play Blog and supported the Brookings School District with STEAM Challenges.

From Play Along at Home Kits to Connectivities we continued to find a way to spark imaginations for children and grown-ups.  

We also made improvements to our physical environment, including our building and outdoor space. 

From July 2021 on, our outdoor prairie, Café, and the gift shop were open. The Museum team also produced special events such as a Play Along Path in the fall and other virtual activities.

Are you having summer camp?

At this time, our primary focus is on the reopening of the indoor exhibits. Keep an eye on our website calendar, eblast, and social channels for information on events, classes, and camps.  

Are you booking field trips this summer?

Yes. Our limited capacity will determine the size of groups we are able to accommodate for indoor field trips. Our capacity is subject to change throughout the summer months. All field trips are subject to availability. Call the Director of Education Carrie Benson at (605) 692-6700, ext. 236, or email bookit@prairieplay.org to inquire about reservations.     

Are you offering birthday parties?

Yes. Call the Museum’s Educator at (605) 692-6700 x237 to reserve a date. All dates, times, and packages are subject to availability.  

Are you going to have a Free Day of Play?

At this time, our primary focus is on the reopening of the indoor exhibits. Keep an eye on our website calendar, eblast and social channels for information on events, classes, and camps.  

Visiting the Museum FAQs

What holidays are you closed?

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?

Cafe Coteau, our on-site cafe, is open with limited seating and limited menu. It also offers a curbside meal option that is announced via our calendar.

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.

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. Visitors are not allowed to bring in food purchased from outside eateries. 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?

At this time only the outdoor exhibits are open and admission is $5 per person, ages 1 and up.

When the entire Museum is open on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, admission is $9.50 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.

Or, find a list of South Dakota attractions on our Family Travel Page. 

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.

Do you sell gift certificates?

Museum gift certificates can be purchased via our website or at the front desk. Certificates can be used for admission, toward membership, and at the Museum gift shop.

Gift certificates for Café Coteau may be purchased onsite.

Additional questions?

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