5 ways to kick off summer with a bang in the Chicago Southland

With the boys out of school this week and Memorial Day next week, the cusp of summer is upon us. I always like to start the season off with a bang by heading out for adventures and enjoying long days in the sunshine. Here are some great locations to enjoy throughout the summer and to start the time off on the right foot.

Homewood Railroad Platform and Park

Located in Homewood, this unique locale gives families an opportunity to see mainline and commuter rails. With a beautiful walkway, murals and train cars to explore, families will love spending time in the great outdoors without spending a dime. The unique setting lends itself to a beautiful day in the park or a picnic under the trees. Bring along some of these park-friendly kid lunch ideas, and you are all set!

Benches on the Avenue

One of my absolute favorite things to do with the boys is explore the new bench artwork along Oak Park Avenue in downtown Tinley Park. We take turns guessing what each bench represents and take pictures by the ones we absolutely love. Make it a family night out with pizza from Ed & Joe’s Restaurant.

Riegel Farm & Conservation Center

The Riegel Farm in University Park is a beautiful way to spend time outdoors, complete with hay rides and a petting zoo. Children will love visiting with the cows, sheep, goats and more. There is plenty of playground equipment and room for sports activities such as baseball and basketball. Admission for 10 people or less is donation-based, and hours can be found on their website. Looking for another great down-on-the-farm location? The Children’s Farm at the Center is another great option, located in Palos Park.

White Water Canyon Water Park

With the temperature heating up, think about heading to White Canyon Water Park in Tinley Park. The convenient location provides a great opportunity to enjoy some fun in the sun without wasting a whole day traveling. Water slides and a lazy river provide fun for the whole family.

Gayety’s Chocolate and Ice Cream

Summer would not be complete without a trip to enjoy a sweet treat. This old-fashioned dessert parlor located in Lansing is a throwback to a simpler time with hand-dipped chocolates and a variety of ice cream flavors and sizes for every appetite. This family-run business is sure to live up to its name and bring happiness to your crew in these first moments of summer!

What family traditions do you have for the first weeks of summer?

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