I was super excited to see what the exhibits would be like at the Dr. Seuss Experience in Chicago since I first heard about it from people in Houston, Texas.
I did consider traveling down to Texas just to see the experience but wondered if the expense was worth the trip especially amidst covid.
ADR: 835 N. Michigan Avenue Ste 100 Chicago, IL 60611 [Gmaps]
Water Tower Place
(At N. Michigan Ave & E. Pearson St)
Ticket prices listed below (fees + taxes not included):
- Super Stoo-pendous Hours: $45USD
- Limited amount of tickets are sold in early hours for smaller crowds and includes arrival time flexibility.
- VIP Anytime: $50USD
- Only valid for the date you picked
- General Admission
- 13+ YRS OLD: $29USD
- 1 – 13 YRS OLD: $23USD
- Infant: FREE
- Family of 4: $23.75USD per ticket
- Group of 10+: $23.75USD per ticket
I got the “Super Stoo-pendous Hours” ticket hoping for a smaller crowd and early access.
The Dr. Seuss Experience in Chicago
When I arrived it was packed. It was unfortunate considering I paid extra to miss the crowds. The entrance to the event was through their gift shop. It was a little distasteful; a lot of parents who brought their kids had a hard time moving on because of course, the kids saw all the toys and wanted to buy something.
They had staff to help you purchase tickets before entering the exhibits. As someone who purchased the special limited entry ticket, I wondered if I paid extra for no reason because they were selling tickets at the door.
- If I Ran A Circus
- Oh, All The Places You’ll Go
- The Lorax
- Dr. Seuss
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are
- There’s a Wocket In My Pocket
- The Cat In The Hat
- The Grinch
- The Sneetches
- Horton Hears A Who
If I Ran The Circus
As soon as you walk in you can see one of the exhibits: “Oh, All The Places You’ll Go” . Right before getting my ticket scanned, right at the entrance was Cat from The Cat in The Hat posing for photos with guests and to the right was the first exhibit, a mini swing carousel for the kids to ride from “If I Ran The Circus”. Seeing the carousel made me raise my eyebrow; I hoped this wouldn’t turn out to be an event for children because it was advertised as an immersive and instagramable event..
[Sorry (っ´ω`)ﾉ(o^д^)o I have no photos of this]
Oh, All The Places You’ll Go
The second exhibit was “Oh, All The Place You’ll Go” with what were supposed to be floating balloons. For some reason I imaged it different; for one thing, I thought they would use actual balloons or at least bigger ones. After seeing kids running around and touching everything, I could understand why plastic would be better.
The exhibit was smaller than expected. I thought they would use a large room and have the exhibit stretched out several meters but instead this was a medium sized room (about 9 meters x 9 meters). It was build like a maze (for kids). It was very easy to maneuver. Some of the balloons had words from the book for the kids to look for as they walked through the maze.
The following exhibit was based on “The Lorax” with a mini forest of Truffulla trees. They were very pretty and fluffy. Some of the trees had swings attached to them which made very cute photos. However, I thought the space was too limited; taking simple photos was difficult. I found it hard taking photos without other people showing up in it even though there was only me, a couple with a infant, and a family with 3 kids in the room.
What made the room seem large were the mirrors installed on the walls all around the room. That was probably one of the disappointing aspects of the exhibit. I was expecting being able to walk around in a spread out mini forest but the room was the size of a large bedroom (a bought half the size of the previous exhibit). The pink light they had enhanced the “dream-like” effect of the exhibit but I felt it was so deep that it also affected the other colors of the Truffula trees.
Walking out of that exhibit, I passed by some black plates of Dr. Seuss characters hanging from strings in front of a white light. I snapped some photos wondering why the plates were hanging there. I could tell it wasn’t random; there was something going on with how they were hanging. I didn’t understand what it was until one of the staff told me I had to look at it from far away to get the full effect. Once I was far enough I could see the characters spelled out “Dr. Seuss”. I thought it was pretty clever how they did it.
“Did I ever tell you how lucky you are“
The experience had an open floor plan after that, separating most exhibits with just a wall between them so straight away to my right after was another exhibit specifically for children. I believe it was based on the book, “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are”. It was too full of kids running around and just too much going on that I couldn’t snap a photo of the exhibit. This exhibit was very much for children since there were activities for them to do.
[Sorry (っ´ω`)ﾉ(o^д^)o I have no photos of this]
There’s a Wocket in my Pocket
I walked on by to the next exhibit which was “There’s A Wocket In My Pocket”. With the interactive rooms available to the kids, this room was empty mostly. The only ones walking about were older kids and adults. I didn’t find anything special about the room other than seeing a real version of the book and walking through it.
There was a voice over but it was so loud in other interactive rooms with the kids, I didn’t really understand what the voice was saying. I assumed that it was simply telling the story in the book.
Cat In The Hat
The following exhibit which I also skipped, was the “Cat In The Hat” exhibit. I wanted to go in but it was way too crowded with kids and more chaotic than the “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are” exhibit. Even if I tried to go in, I’d probably trip or run into someone’s kid. I did see Thing 1 & Thing 2 in the room interacting with the kids. From what I could tell from looking far away, there was a machine throwing toys and cloths around and the kids would pick them up and put them away.
[Sorry (っ´ω`)ﾉ(o^д^)o I have no photos of this]
Next to it was “The Grinch” exhibit. I was surprised how empty it was considering the exhibit was a competitive interaction. The game required players to fill up a “gift meter” with the presents they “fished” out with a fishing pole from a rotating conveyer belt that resembled a river. They would compete with another child or parent doing the same on the opposite side.
The following exhibit was “The Sneetches”. It looked like an interesting exhibit but was severely lacking. You walk into a room with just 1 meter x 1 meter of space to stand at. Surrounding you are Sneetches of all kinds of sizes with different expressions on a beach with sand. The room is small but surrounded by mirrors like “The Lorax” exhibit to make it look like there’s many Sneetches.
Some of the Sneetches eyes glowed or blinked and made odd noises. I didn’t really understand the point of the room other than it looked cool. It wasn’t interactive or good for selfies. The staff managing the room didn’t explain anything so I still don’t know if there was something else to the room. Still the Sneetches were cute to look at.
Horton Hears A Who
Finally the last room which was the “Horton Hears A Who” exhibit. It was a cute little room full of purple clovers. The clovers were pretty big; they looked like mini Truffulla trees. The exhibit also had the same pink light but I assumed that because the exhibit was open and had no mirrors, the light wasn’t as intense.
The kids loved the exhibit since it looked like a nice place to play hide & seek. The exhibit probably looked big to them but the room was actually small like many of the other exhibits. The puffy parts of the clovers were attached to rubbery stems that made them bendable and fold over; it was a little strange but probably the safer option given that kids were playing in the exhibit.
The Dr. Seuss Experience ends back at the gift shop and once you exit, you can’t come back inside. Given the price I paid, I thought coming back in would be possible but it wasn’t. I went back to the other exhibits before leaving hoping to take better photos but there were people constantly coming in and honestly, once you walked through an exhibit, the rooms were so small it’s impossible to miss anything.
I didn’t buy anything from the gift shop. I was hoping to find something unique or small like pins, coins or paper craft but it seemed like a very standard shop with Dr. Seuss merchandise. There were plenty of books, plushies in varying sizes, stationary items and random toys. Nothing caught my eye unfortunately.
How much time for the event?
It said on their website it could take 1hr – 2hrs but I was disappointed at how quickly I walked through everything.
I walked the whole experience in about 30 minutes. I wasn’t speeding through the rooms either. I actually went back a few times and forced myself to take my time to really try to immerse myself into the experience but many of the exhibits were more for children so I just didn’t need to spend a whole lot of time in those rooms. The size of the rooms also made it a speedy experience; I tried spending closer to 10 minutes some rooms but it’s really unnecessary since you see everything in one immediate glance.
Was this worth the money? Maybe.
As a long time fan of Dr. Seuss, especially now that there are various movies of some of the books, I was very excited for this immersive event. I expected the rooms to be larger and to feel like I was walking through a Dr. Seuss wonderland. It certainly didn’t feel that way. Looking at photos of the Houston, Texas exhibits, the rooms definitely look much bigger than the ones in Chicago.
The Dr. Seuss Experience in Chicago looked a little different than what I expected. Maybe the photos and videos from the Houston, Texas exhibition made the experience seem a lot more immersive than it really was. The way they advertised this event was something Instagrammable and very aesthetic, for all ages but more geared towards teenagers and young adults so I expected an immersive experience similar to the Van Gogh exhibit.
I knew there would be parts targeting children because the event was based on children’s books so I expected things like interactive displays in each room to include kids in the experience and give them something to do. However, the Dr. Seuss Experience in Chicago was more for children and the rooms felt like they were too small for any decent photos to be taken. I’d say you’d have to be really good with a camera or lucky.
Because I went alone, the price for an adult was high considering what I got out of it. Even with kids, a parent bringing their kids to the experience should’ve gotten a discount or lower price considering they probably spent most of their time supervising their kids.
My suggestion is, get general admission on a discount if possible and pick the earliest time to go on a weekday. The extra $15USD I paid for, I don’t think it was really worth it.
- This would be a great event for families that have toddlers and young kids (ages 2 – 7). Older kids may have fun if they really like Dr. Seuss and doing simple things or like playing with other kids.
- I have a hard time seeing anyone really enjoying the interactive parts who are older than 13 years old so I feel like teens might like the instagrammable exhibits but not much else.
- As an adult the ticket price is pretty high for what is offered. Only 3 exhibits are photo worthy while the rest are catered to children so if you’re going alone just get a general admission ticket/it’s not really worth it. If you’re a parent, I thought it was still high considering you’re probably there to supervise and still you only have 3 rooms you can enjoy (unless you join the kids, which I didn’t see many parents do).
- I would say all exhibits were immersive but the age target of each changes in each. About 4 exhibits were truly instagrammable, worthy of photos or truly immersive: “Oh, All The Places You’ll Go”, “The Lorax”, “The Sneetches and “Horton Hears A Who”.
The Dr. Seuss Experience
- PRICE: How suitable I thought the price was
- LOCATION: How safe, clean, accessible and convenient the venue location
- ENTERTAINMENT: How engaging, fun and how much of a variety there was
- AMBIENCE: Whether it was crowded, guests were polite, fun and welcoming
Don’t forget The Art of Dr. Seuss Exhibit
Make sure you don’t miss the mini exhibit on the 3rd floor of the Water Tower where they showcase The Art of Dr. Seuss. Most pieces are on sale, for any fans who want to own art by Dr. Seuss.
You can also view the artwork they have available on their website!