Culture and fun in your backyard

Tired of watching your kids watch TV or train to be the neighborhood’s newest video game king? Time for a family day trip.

Hop in the car and head to the Flossmoor Sculpture Gardens.

The gardens program, established by the village of Flossmoor in 1998, includes 12 sculptures positioned throughout the village and in a small sculpture garden located in Homewood Flossmoor Park District’s Leavitt Park.

Most pieces are within walking distance. There are pieces near the library, down residential streets, near the Village Hall and in Leavitt Park. Pick up a map at either Flossmoor Village Hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road, or Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave., to plan a driving/walking tour that best suits your family.

Artwork includes sculptures such as Mark Lundeen’s bronze"Secret Garden,” which depicts an older child reading a book to a much younger child, and Judith Shea’s bronze"Child,” a small girl looking upward. Both of these pieces capture the innocence and wonder of children in great detail.

There are a variety of abstract pieces done in mediums such as welded steel, granite mixed with glass and stainless steel. Sculptures were chosen through a national search.

“We put a national call out for sculptures, kind of a casting call,” says Kimberly Richardson, assistant to Flossmoor’s village manager. She says most sculptures have already been in circulation throughout the United States, although"Child” was commissioned.

Pack a lunch to eat in the park, where you can find play equipment. Or if you want to eat out, a great place to eat (with a kids menu featuring meals starting at $3.95) is the Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery, 1035 Sterling Ave. If you have older children, consider setting up a brewery tour with the Brewmaster at (708) 957-BREW. Half-hour tours take you through the process, including viewing the brewing and serving tanks.

On the restaurant’s south lawn, on its own set of tracks, is the Old Caboose Ice Cream Shoppe. The Old Caboose, an authentic renovated Illinois Central caboose, is seasonal and scheduled to open in May. It seats 20 guests.

If it’s really hot, you make want to pack a swimsuit and hit Splash Park in Millennium Park, 18600 Harwood Ave. Millennium Park’s Splash Pad is seasonally open seven days a week, usually from 10 a.m.-noon, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Non-residents will be charged $4 per child per session. Check the park district Web site before going.

And, if you are going on a Friday morning consider ending at the library and doing a little shopping on the way out, says Megan Heligas, administrative librarian of Flossmoor Public Library. Every Friday morning, 8 a.m.-1p.m., between June 1 and Oct. 26, there will be a Farmers Market held in the library parking lot.

For more information check out the Web sites for the villages ( and and the park district ( Events include everything from movie nights and concerts in the park to Homewood Days July 13-15.

Jean Dunning covers the South and Southwest suburbs of Chicago for Chicago Parent. If you have story ideas or would like to be a part of the South/Southwest Parent Source e-mail list, e-mail

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