Family Outdoor Fun at The Forge: Lemont Quarries

Here’s a place that’s close by and filled with family outdoor fun. The Forge: Lemont Quarries is acres of adventure amidst natural beauty just waiting to be explored.

For the best in family outdoor fun, we’re always searching for a great place that’s close to home and has something for everyone in the family from littles to teens — and parents, too.

We’ve found just the place — and it’s right in your backyard. The Forge: Lemont Quarries is a short 22 miles southwest of Chicago and it’s an outdoor adventure park — the largest in the U.S. — surrounded by 300 acres of natural landscape.

“The Forge is excited to kick-off another summer of outdoor family fun with new activities and even more special events,” says Brad Donati, Marketing and Community Director at The Forge.

The Forge is located within Heritage Quarries Recreation Area in Lemont, which exists thanks to pioneer-era development of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (I&M) and the entire natural landscape is part of Chicago’s history of growth. “The area is a public park with seven bodies of water, 7 miles of trails, all 300 acres overseen by The Forge through a partnership with the Village of Lemont,” says Donati. “It’s a public park, free to enter. Families can stroll through and run, bike, hike and fish, and the family outdoor fun experiences at The Forge are pay to play with a la carte pricing.”

Largest adventure park in the U.S.

There are tons of fun things for kids and families to do together. The Forge has even added several new activities this year. Here are our top suggestions for outdoor family fun at The Forge: Lemont Quarries, starting with Climb & Zipline Adventure, the centerpiece of excitement at The Forge:

  • The crowning glory of The Forge is Climb & Zipline Adventure at the largest aerial adventure park in the country — and it’s great for teens. With 300 high ropes elements and 2 miles of ziplines, your teen will be exhilarated just by looking at the course. There are rock walls, high ropes challenges and free-fall rappelling from 15 or 20 feet off the ground. It’s a safe, thrilling adventure for those who love a challenge.

Photo credit: The Forge: Lemont Quarries

  • The Kids Adventure Zone is a wonderful starting point and is great for kids ages 3 to 13. Kids who love to climb can challenge themselves on 30 ropes course elements — all harness-free and all safety-netted for parents’ peace of mind.
  • Laser Tag is a great team activity for anyone age 5 and older. There are more than 30 different game types and realistic sound effects to keep the whole experience thrilling —plus it’s all outdoors with lots of natural elements built right into the Laser Tag arena. There’s even a specific Laser Tag area that’s just right for anyone ages 5 and up. (Parents will love the fact that there’s no paintball mess to deal with!)

300 acres of natural landscape to explore. Photo credit: The Forge: Lemont Quarries

  • Two types of Digital Adventure Games are great for the whole family to do together. Using augmented reality, these outdoor games are a blend of escape room, scavenger hunt and location-based adventure. Operation Mindfall and Magic Portal are perfect for those who love a mission, want to save the world using their ingenuity and creativity and are appropriate for ages 6 and up. There are even adventures you can book for your child’s birthday party.
  • Old-school Orienteering with a map and a compass come alive at The Forge. Purchase a map kit for up to six people and use your navigation skills to explore the Heritage Quarries as a team. Three different levels of difficulty mean you’ll always be challenged.
  • Kids 8 and older will love Archery Battle Tag. “This is like a blend of traditional archery with foam arrows and dodgeball. You wear a helmet and the games are all team-based. You’re shooting arrows at each other and if you get hit, you are out, which really brings me right back to middle school dodgeball. It’s dodgeball-meets-archery, but in a safe way. It’s really fun,” says Donati.
  • Are there teens in your family? They’ll be thrilled by Maceball — sword dueling blended with elements of capture the flag — and brand new to The Forge.

Family outdoor fun can be chill, too

Your experience can be as intense as you’d like it to be! But for those who want to take things more slowly, The Forge has fun ways to take in nature at your own pace.

If your family is into hiking and paddling, there’s plenty to explore at The Forge. In addition to miles of hiking trails, you can pile the family into a multiple passenger bicycle.

Photo credit: The Forge: Lemont Quarries

“We’re adding four-seater bikes for families who want to enjoy leisurely casual riding. Families can rent a four-seater bike and ride across 7 miles of crushed limestone trails in the park,” Donati says.

There are kayak and canoe rentals, which are perfect for families to explore the park by water, too.

“Our goal at The Forge: Lemont Quarries is to create an environment for adventurers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to explore the outdoors,” Donati says.

Learn more about The Forge: Lemont Quarries at

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Chicago Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.


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