Finding your zen spots

Are you in search of a little peace and quiet some days, but you need to figure out how to do that with kids around? Recently, local author Anne Ford scoured the city for tranquil places for her new book Peaceful Places Chicago.

Here are three ideas from Ford on where to find little pockets of quiet in our urban environment.

1. Botany Pond. Tucked into the University of Chicago’s campus in Hyde Park, it is an especially good spot for families in the spring, Ford says. “There are turtles, dragonflies, goldfish and a bench. The student center is nearby for food and you can have a little picnic.” (Just south of 57th Street between University and Ellis avenues in Chicago.)

2. Oak Park Public Library. “What I love about this library is they do a great job of designating their quiet zones with colored signs,” Ford says. “Green you can talk, yellow you can whisper, red you can’t talk and no cellphone use. They actually allow eating in a lot of areas. It gives the feel of an upscale cafe.” There’s also an adjacent park where kids can burn off energy, and anyone with a library card, even from another town, can check out books. (834 Lake St., Oak Park.)

3. Emily Oak Nature Center. This relatively small preserve has walking trails and a pond with a surprising amount of wildlife, Ford says. One of the paths is paved, making it easy for strollers. (4650 Brummel St., Skokie.)

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