Although it is fun (crazy, chaotic) to pack up my 3 kiddos and drive the van an hour into Chicago for a busy day at the zoo and beach, I would MUCH rather stay locally and explore what the northwest suburbs have to offer. And let me tell you – there is A LOT to do out here!
Want to take the family to a baseball game, but have no time to head to the Friendly Confines? Check out the local farm teams in northwest Chicago! Pack up your car with popcorn and snacks and watch a movie at an outdoor theater, or grab your fishing rod and head to one of the parks or fish farms for an afternoon of fishing!
From splash parks to horses and tanks to art classes – there is so much to do with your kiddos this summer, without breaking the bank!
If you are looking for a family outing in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, here are a few that sparked our interest! They cost a bit, but not a lot (here are a bunch of FREE ideas) and kind of go along with what is on our Summer To-Do List. (If you have ideas you’d like to share – leave us a comment! I’d love to add it to our list!)
For a Fee:
- Movie and a Cause: On June 12th, hop on over to the Amphitheater in Citizens Park, Barrington to see a family friendly movie outside! For a suggested donation of $5, you and your family can watch Night at the Museum, beginning at dusk. Proceeds from the night will benefit JourneyCare’s Camp Courage, providing summer day camp opportunities to kids who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
- Mundelein Park & Recreation Spray Park – At $2 for non-residents – you cannot beat this spray park! Bring your swimsuit, sunscreen, change of clothes and a picnic for hours of fun! The park is open from 10am – 2pm; 2:30 – 6:30 and free 7pm – 8pm.
- Independence Grove Visitors Center and Forest Preserve in Lake County is full of activities for the family! If you are a Lake County resident, parking is free – for all others it will cost you $5 (Mon – Thursday) and $10 (Friday – Sunday and weekends) – so load up your car with your family and friends. You can rent boats (small fee), paddle boards; go biking (free if you bring your own bike), enjoy free concerts, enjoy catch and release fishing (you can buy a fishing license there) and much, much more!
- McHenry Outdoor Theater – Get your kiddos in their pjs, pop some popcorn, grab a cooler full of juice boxes and head to the drive-in! Adults are $10 and kids 11 years old and under are $5. They play great movies all summer long!
- Cantigny Park in Wheaton – For $5/car load, you can explore the Idea Garden, playground, tanks (oh yes, TANKS – you can climb on and explore), paths and more! Borrow a Discovery Backpack (Gone Buggy, Birds of a Feather, Geocaching, In the Garden) or Family Pack (football, frisbees, horseshoes and more). AND – Wednesday’s are Wild for kiddos 3-10 years old; between 1-3pm at the Visitor Center’s backyard for nature theme activities (weather permitting).
- Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park – Beach and Sprayground: For a small fee (3 years and under – free; ages 4-17 – $6; 18 years + – $9) you can have a full day of fun in the sun! Beach, brand new playground, splash park
and more! You can fill an entire day at this local beach!
- Sunday Family Day at Arlington Park – Enjoy a sunny Sunday at the beautiful Arlington Park! Kiddos can enjoy horse rides, face painting, magician, petting zoo and other activities from 1pm – 5pm. Each Sunday – from Memorial Day to Labor Day is sponsored by great organizations such as: Museum of Science and Industry, Santa’s Village, LEGOLAND, Shedd Aquarium and more! You can bring a picnic or buy your lunch there! (Adults – $8; Kids – $2. Though prices do vary)
- Are you or your kiddos new to fishing? Head over to Lake Julian Trout Farm for a fun time fishing! The trout pond is a great place to start – bring your poles and bait and go at it! The friendly staff is nearby to give you tips (and will even clean your fish for 70 cents/each) and if you need supplies, the tackle shop can help you out! You’ll be charged $6.50/pound. Want a bigger variety? Try fishing at the Big Lake for a larger variety of fish and a bit more money.
- JoAnn Fabric and Craft has several options for Kid Camps for ages 8 years and older – from sewing to cake decorating! Check out your nearest JoAnn’s for times and availability!
- Michael’s – From 10 – 11:30 and for $2 – your kiddo can explore their creativity for 30 minutes, while you shop in the store. Better yet, sign your kids up for Michael’s Passport to Imagination – $2 for 2 hours! Depending on the activity – there are age restrictions and you will need to register in advance.
- Cinemark Movie Theaters and Regal Theaters have $1 movie days, family friendly movies, usually starting around 10am.
- Kids Skate Free – Have fun with your kiddos at the roller rink! Dust off your wheels and grab your knee highs for a fun, energy releasing skate-fest!
Take Me Out to the Ballgame!
There are some great minor league teams in the area where you can catch a game at a pretty reasonable price – and special family days make the trip even more memorable! Be sure to check their calendar’s for kid’s and family days!
Looking for more things to do with your kiddos? Check out these posts!
Free Activities in Northwest suburban Chicago
It’s Berry Fun to Pick Your Own Berries
Our Summer To Do List 2014
Kid Approved Activity – Foam Lightsabers
Preschool Activity – Tent Time
ThinkFun’s Move and Grove Game
Today’s Preschooler Approved Activity
Up-Cycling for the Band – Preschool Activity
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