Picking our two favorite parks in the northwest suburbs was a difficult feat, but in the end, I chose two that I always recommend to fellow parents and don’t get tired of revisiting. These also happen to be my favorite mommy playdate hotspots.
11419 S. Route 47, Huntley
Best for: Toddlers, preschoolers and early middle schoolers
Why kids love it: The ADA-accessible playground has plenty to keep the kids busy. You’ll find all your playground staples here: swings, slides, apparatuses to climb and fun playground equipment, but this Huntley District gem takes the whole playground level up a notch.
The entire play area resembles a village complete with Dairy Mart and police station with jail, all while fueling kids’ imaginations. Along with sounds of laughter, you’ll hear the sound of music as kids step on certain areas of the floor or when they play with the instruments. Train lovers will love turning on the railroad crossing signal or hopping inside a play train. Don’t worry, firetruck lovers also have a fun firetruck play structure they can climb, too. The large sand area has toys waiting for the kids plus a little digger to sit on. Older kids enjoy testing their b-ball skills at the hoops area with different heights and backboards or running through the play structure.
Why parents love it: The entire village is oh-so-cute with its colorful equipment, but parents love the gate surrounding the whole area. Trust me, there will be plenty of running, jumping and a few spills, but the rubber surface will give you a little peace of mind.
Good to know: Bring your own chalk and basketball. Kids will most likely dig into the sand pit so make sure to bring an extra change of clothes if you’re so inclined. Stingray Bay Aquatic Center is located nearby so you can even plan to spend the whole day here. Pack a snack or a picnic; the kids won’t want to leave. There are picnic tables located both within and outside the gates. If you don’t bring food, drive a few minutes away to the Dairy Mart for food and ice cream. Bathrooms in a building are located outside the gates.
Read our review of Discovery Zone at Deicke Park
1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg
Best for: Nature-loving kids and big kids.
Why kids love it: Wow. Where to start? This nature-themed nature playground tries to blend all the playthings kids love with natural landscapes. Kids will enjoy exploring the treehouse with its little nooks or going down the slide through a rock. The sand and water area is always a big hit with the kids or they can follow the stream that flows around the park. Looking for a little quiet time? Lay down in a little hammock underneath the treehouse or challenge one another to a game of checkers on tree stump tables.
Why parents love it: The kids will never know they are learning while they are playing – signs with tidbits of knowledge are located throughout the park. Kids can also try to distinguish specific animal tracks or learn about weather. When the kids tire of the nature playground, you can explore the rest of Spring Valley’s 135 acres with three miles of trails, a nature center and a historical farm with animals. You can easily spend a whole day here!
Good to know: Bring a change of clothes if your kids can’t resist the sand and water features. Restrooms are located a few minutes away in the Nature Center. There are picnic tables located throughout if you’d like to bring a bite to eat.
Read more about Bison’s Bluff here.