Too much playtime makes mommies go crazy. But too many adult activities like shopping make kids get cranky.
Thank goodness there's a happy compromise to keep everyone sane: Mall play spaces. If the kids are good while you shop, they can play when you're done.
Bonus: They're all free.
Keep the kids happy With 1,000 square feet of play space, it'll be hard for them to complain (though not impossible). The theme here is Chicago landmarks, so there's a 6-foot-long Michigan Avenue Bridge to play on, a 10-foot-tall Willis Tower, a 6-foot-long Chicago hot dog and a 15-foot-long Navy Pier. There's also a wall-mounted piano and a powerboat floating along a fun Chicago river.
Keep the moms happy This isn't a normal mall, it's an outlet mall. 'Nough said. Oh, and handy cell phone chargers are located throughout the seating area of the play space so if your kids absolutely need to play for hours, you won't run out of juice.
When you're done playing Make the kids extra happy by heading to nearby Six Flags Great America.
Details 6170 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee, (847) 263-7500, simon.com/mall/gurnee-mills