Family Fun Center: Waukegan

How the night ended: [child speaking] “Thank you for taking us today. I had so much fun with you.” How did we get to this glorious and unusual point? Three hours earlier…

It was the second to last day of winter break. Bitterly cold out. What to do with the kids… Being from Waukegan, I had taken them to the indoor mini golf at The People’s Choice Family Fun Center before, but that’s it. Today for the sake of both research and as something different to do, we braved the arcade, too. Please note: I easily get migraines. I avoid all of those places that have flashing lights and loud noises, also known as arcades. I was going for the “Super Mom” award with this one. But, spoiler alert: I didn’t get one. It really wasn’t that loud! Time for a tour of the facility.

First, Family Fun Center is huge. It actually used to be a Jewel/Osco (I know because I used to go there as a kid!). Picture that size space as a place for kids. And because it was a grocery store, and somewhat a stand-alone building, parking’s not an issue.

Since we went to play mini-golf, we started there first. Ta-da! Black-light mini golf! Prices are reasonable: the fee for children (age 6 and under), seniors (age 55 and over), military (with ID), and groups (10 or more people) is only $5. Everyone else pays $7.50. However, on Wednesdays from noon to 9:00 p.m., the price for all is $3.00. Note: sometimes an attendant isn’t in the mini-golf area. Just ask any of the workers, and they’ll find someone to assist you.

My kids love this course — especially since their teeth glow in the black light. And the kids are either super talented at golf or the course is doable for elementary-aged kids: they hit twos on many of the holes. However, that still leaves plenty of room for improvement for older kids. We were able to do all 18 holes within about 20 minutes (with two kids playing).

Next on our list: the arcade. Games are played with tokens. I decided to splurge and spend a whopping $10, which bought us 40 tokens: 20 per kid. Most games took one or two tokens. This was just about right—maybe a few too many for my liking, but the kids got to do everything they wanted to, and, of course, earn a slew of tickets.

Games are for all ages. There are the typical arcade games: Skee Ball, video games, various claws, air hockey, etc. They had both the standard b-ball free-throw game and one with a lower net that was perfect for my six-year-old. There were also mini merry-go-rounds and oscillating cars for the littles.

Speaking of littles: they have a whole room of rides: Ride-A-Rama. For $5.95 per child (childrens ages 2 to 10 years old), kids can ride 35 rides. Price is $3.00 on Wednesdays.

After about 45 minutes of arcade games, it was time to redeem our tickets. Yes, we’ve all felt that moment of dread as our child is about to spend time choosing between a plastic toy and wishing they had earned one billion tickets for something that will hardly fit in the car. My kids earned 160 tickets between the two of them. Luckily, the number of choices was palatable for all. I was also excited that they had peanut-free candy options for my peanut-free prince.

Although I was fortunate to make it the whole time without my kids asking for food, Family Fun Center also has a great concession area. There’s pizza, sandwiches, and hot dogs. They even sell beer! You will also find fun, carnival type foods: popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream—they have a whole area with hand-dipped ice creams. Prices were reasonable: a slice of pizza was $2.75; a scoop of ice cream $2.29.

Also to note: they do host birthday parties.

So next time you’re looking for something fun to do, this was fun, convenient, and inexpensive. And remember what my child ended the day saying? True story.

The People’s Choice Family Fun Center
2411 Grand Ave., Waukegan | (847) 360-8000
Sunday – Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

What’s your favorite game to play at Family Fun Center?

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About Natalie Rompella 34 Articles
Natalie is the mom of two humans and one nonhuman. She is the author of more than forty books and resources for kids, was a teacher and a museum educator, and will always be a Lake County native. Natalie enjoys insects, sled dog racing (observing!), crafting/experimenting with her kids, and forming a world safe from peanuts. Find out more about her and her books at www.natalierompella.com.

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