Thanks to American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown, horse-racing fervor has reached a fever pitch. But you don’t have to go to Churchill Downs for the full racetrack experience. Our own Arlington International Racecourse (more commonly known as Arlington Park) features heart-in-your-throat live racing, as well as Family Days that appeal to even the youngest equestrian enthusiasts.
If you go
Arlington International Racecourse Family Days
1-5 p.m. Sundays through Labor Day
2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights
Every Sunday, the Junior Jockey Zone includes activities like a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting and bouncy houses, as well as musical performances–Istvan& His Imaginary Band play Aug. 9–and appearances by partner organizations like FireZone (Aug. 16), Museum of Science& Industry (Aug. 23) and The Chicago Wolves (Aug. 9).
And if you need a little incentive to get your kids excited about going back to school, Aug. 30 includes a school supply drive and photo ops with the racecourse’s mascot, Arli. (Hey, it’s worth a shot.)
Food is available to buy or you can bring a picnic (families are allowed one cooler each; check website for restrictions) to enjoy at tables situated right off the track. That way, you won’t miss even a moment of the thrilling race down the homestretch.
After all, you never know when you’ll glimpse the flying hooves of the next historic horse.