Little Bear Garden Park
651 S. Wolf Road. (At Greenview Avenue), Des Plaines
Best for: All ages
Why kids love it: One of the most beautiful spaces in Des Plaines, this expansive park provides activities for kids of all ages! The colorful playground has swings, several twisty and bumpy slides, a teeter-totter, climbing walls and more. Even better, there is a toddler area that is separate from the big kids area and boasts some of the same features. For bigger kids, the park also has basketball, bocce and tennis courts, as well as baseball fields. Bonus for the kids: the park is situated next to train tracks so you may luck out and catch a choo-choo!
Why parents love it: This is a safe neighborhood park that many families flock to. Kick back under the shaded pavilion with a book or packed lunch. There is also a walking/biking path that encircles the park if you’d like to get your workout in while your kids play. Or, better yet, challenge them to a race!
Good to know: The large, colorful playground and swings are ADA accessible. Bathrooms are located in a building just a few steps from the playground and sports courts/fields. This park also boasts multiple indoor and outdoor spaces available to rent for your next special occasion. Be sure to contact the park district for more information.
Little Bear Garden at Gallery Park
Patriot Blvd and Chestnut Ave, Glenview
Best for: Toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged kids
Why kids love it: This park has everything! From vast gardens, a greenery maze, canopied swings, a jungle gym and splash pad, you can find yourself at this park for hours. The grounds themselves are beautiful and offer vast green space for kids to be kids.
Outside the trellis are six gardens: a maze, a planting garden, a sand play area, a playground, an interactive water feature and the storyteller’s corner.
Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes for the kids. Between running around until they get sweaty and playing in the sand and water, things could get messy!
Why parents love it: The goal of this space was to develop a garden that would be educational through play, ignite the imagination and challenge kids in physical and mental ways and to provide adults with a beautiful gathering space to meet for playdates.
There are also plentiful areas to set up for lunch in the sun or shade. Bring a book and lounge on the circular trellis and porch swings nearby. These are also excellent for nursing.
It’s also close to The Glen which has everything from shopping, restaurants and something you can’t forget in the summertime: ice cream! *cough* Forever Yogurt and Ben and Jerry’s *cough*
Good to know: The park is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence ensuring that the busy street (Patriot) is not a worry. There are also air-conditioned bathrooms onsite that have always been clean and in working order.