Credit: Prairie Path Books
If you live in the city, chances are you think of the suburbs – and the Western suburbs, in particular – as kind of sleepy places that don’t have a whole lot going on. As a proud resident of the Western suburbs for the past dozen years, I will admit that while we might not have the same level of excitement as you find in the urban jungle, there’s more happening than you might realize, especially for families. Here’s a guide to discovering the best places to play.
Little bookworms will love the cozy ambiance of this independently owned bookstore, which offers story times of the classic books that parents grew up on as well as a milk-and-cookies version that combines our two favorite things (sweets and stories for the win). The in-store kitchen also gets used for Kids in the Kitchen workshops and other fun events throughout the year. 302 E. Wesley St.
Trust me: You’re going to want to take home everything you see. But if you don’t really want to go bankrupt for the sake of your kids, this shop has a solution. Playful families can rent games for three nights – for just $5! It’s the perfect test-drive before making a purchase. Plus, the upstairs Play MOORE Studio space is available for birthday parties, pretty much every kid’s dream-come-true. 107 E. Front St.
This quaint miniature golf course doesn’t have any windmills or crazy obstacles, but $5 for 18 holes is pretty much a steal. The course is open from April-October (curse you, Chicagoland weather!), as is the neighboring skate park. The 12,000-square-foot park has areas for beginners as well as more advanced inline skaters or skateboarders – and it’s free. South Naperville Road & East Liberty Drive.
Wheaton is the County Seat for DuPage, so it makes a lot of sense that it’s home to a museum devoted to the county’s history. But in case your kids aren’t exactly history buffs yet, there is something that will appeal to them. The HO Gauge Model Railroad operates on the third and fifth Saturdays of the month – and features some of DuPage County’s actual landmarks in its magical landscape. 102 E. Wesley St.
There isn’t much shushing at this library! Instead, it features an Early Childhood Center that has train and Lego tables, a make-believe fruit & veggie market, an area rug for cars, and a rotating craft project to take home. And since the kids’ area is on the lower level of the library, you don’t have to worry about disturbing the adult patrons. 225 N. Cross St.