Indian Boundary Park used to have a Cinderella pumpkin carriage and as a kid I remember sitting in it and wishing that I could live in the building that looked like a castle at the edge of the park. Fast forward through those crazy teen years and topsy-turvy twenties, and my husband and I actually did move into that very building!
The Cinderella carriage is long gone, but the unique wood playground that my father-in-law and husband volunteered to help build many years ago still stands. I am convinced (based on no actual evidence yet) that our love story began on that playground. Maybe he pulled my pigtail way back when or maybe he was a little gentleman and helped me out of the Cinderella carriage? Who knows? These days we carry on the family tradition by taking our son Isaiah to Indian Boundary Park, and I’d like to share reasons that your should family should spend some time there too.
Discover a hidden treasure
Nestled away in the West Ridge neighborhood on the North Side, Indian Boundary is easy to get to via Western Avenue, the city’s longest street. Even though it is just off of this busy street, courtyard buildings provide a barrier between the park and the street and give it a cozy and peaceful feel. It is the perfect size for a leisurely stroll and the quaint field house–designed in 1929–has distinctive Native American décor. The field house is convenient for a bathroom break, but offers so much more. It is one of the Chicago Park District’s 14 Cultural Centers, so there are plenty of ways to dive into the arts from stained glass classes for parents to the Chicago Children’s Choir for your mini vocalists.
Work the wiggles out
Indian Boundary’s unique wood playground looks like a creative child imagined a wood fort. It is so much fun to see little ones duck in and out of all of its nooks and crannies with sheer joy. Parents can set up shop at a shaded picnic table nearby and enjoy the nostalgia-inducing scene. If you really want some good old-fashioned fun for the kiddos, there is an awesome climbing tree just south of the playground.
Enjoy the recent upgrades
The wood playground is an oldie but a goodie, and the park is well maintained and has had some key upgrades recently. The former petting zoo was converted into a Nature Play Place where kids can dart in and out of mini houses and learn the names of the trees that are providing beauty and shade. The sprinkler is another big hit in the summer and it was updated with a troupe of bear statues to enhance the warm weather fun. There are also newly resurfaced tennis courts and each court is individually enclosed, so it could make for an ideal place to introduce little ones to the sport without cramping the style of more serious players nearby.
Learn at the lagoon
Another cool feature of the park is the lagoon with an island in the middle, where you can spot wildlife with your kids. You will likely see plenty of ducks and fish, and I have even seen a majestic Great Blue Heron there. There are often troupes of turtles as well, so you can point them out to your kiddos and practice counting with them too. I counted a group of 17 turtles with my son this year!
There are so many ways to enjoy this hidden gem, but whatever path you choose, end the day on a sweet note. Lickity Split is just a short walk from the park at Lunt and Western. Your family will love the frozen custard creations and retro candy. Pass the Junior Mints!