The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville celebrated a very grown-up anniversary Sunday with a daylong indoor-outdoor party.
The museum was created 25 years ago by Louise Beem and the late Dorothy Carpenter, who died last year. In the early days, the two took their homemade exhibits from place to place in a station wagon.
Today, roughly 300,000 people from all over the country visit the colorful building on Washington Street each year.
"I can't believe how fast time flies," said Executive Director Susan Broad, who's been with the museum for 20 of its 25 years. "Some of the little kids I met way back when are parents themselves now. That's pretty incredible to think about."
Those who attended Sunday's "Biggest, Best Birthday Bash" enjoyed train rides, art activities, live music and the ever popular Touch-a-Truck outside the museum. Inside, families tried out the museum's many educational and artistic exhibits, including the special insect zoo, courtesy of Anderson's Pest Solutions.
Carol Bradley of Aurora brought her 5-year-old son, Kyle, to the party. She said he was both fascinated and a little fearful of the insect zoo's crawling critters, which featured grasshoppers, beetles and hissing cockroaches.
"He loves to read about bugs at home, we have a million books about them," she said. "But I think actually seeing them in front of him made him a little bit nervous."
Bradley said she's thankful that a place like DuPage Children's Museum exists relatively close to home.
"He loves the stuff they have here, and I like how it's so hands-on and educational," she said.