Wonder Works was originally founded by Gale Zemel and a band of faithful volunteers in 1991 as The Children's Museum of Oak Park.
The museum lost its lease in 1995 and searched for a home until 2001, when it purchased a building at 6445 West North Avenue in Oak Park. The museum reopened in a new building and with a new name on May 24, 2003.
We raised nearly $500,000 to reopen the museum. Significant contributions have come from the Village of Oak Park (through a Community Development Block Grant), The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, The Harris Foundation and McDonald's, as well as a number of individuals and families. In June 2004, we celebrated our first birthday with a fundraiser that generated $25,000 for Wonder Works.
Wonder Works is proud to have partnered with numerous city and suburban organizations, including Parenthesis, Oak-Leyden, Seven Generations Ahead, Vital Bridges, West Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, Oak Park Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greenline Wheels and the Oak Park River Forest Children's Chorus among others. In addition to working with these organizations, the museum provides field trips and memberships to those who might not otherwise be able to visit Wonder Works (if you would like to sponsor a family or a school group, please call us at 708.383.4815). Currently, we have more than 1,000 members and each month we host an increasing number of birthday parties, field trips and programs. Wonder Works has been committed to preserving the environment since we opened. To learn more about how we "greened" the museum, click here.
To contact us, please visit our contact page.