Ahoy maties! Is there a little buccaneer in your family who dreams of sailing the Seven Seas? If you’re a parent and a landlubber who prefers to have playtime without a life jacket, we’ve rounded up a short list of places to play with a nautical theme. So hoist the mizzen mast and set sail (or pack up your minivan and drive…) to these fun locations in and around Lake County.
Warren Township Park
17801 W. Washington Street, Gurnee |847-244-1101
This playground located on the Warren Township Center campus on the corner of Almond Road and Washington Street has many impressive features. Among one of their newer structures is the awesome pirate ship picture above. Learn more about this park in Jessica’s playground profile.
Sunset Woods Park
1801 Sunset Road, Highland Park |847-831-3810
With 38 wooded acres and four distinct play areas, Sunset Woods has something for children of all ages. Smaller scallywags will want to head straight for the tot playground to climb aboard the pirate ship. Jennifer shares more details in her Sunset Woods profile.
700 Riverside Drive, Libertyville | (847) 918-2074
Appropriately located by the Des Plaines River, Riverside Park has soccer fields, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, volleyball, a pool, and a playground. It’s a smaller playground, but it’s most notable feature is a pirate ship climbing structure with slides that’s great for young children.
71 Nippersink Blvd., Fox Lake | (847) 587-2151
This playground ‘s climbing structure overlooks Nippersink Lake and looks perfect for mini-Vikings! There is also a designated fishing area, sand volleyball courts and sandbox. Look for Food Trucks on Saturdays and Sundays through August 28, 2016 and be on the lookout for a Playground Profile on this park coming soon…
Lake County Discovery Museum
27277 N. Forest Preserve Rd., Wauconda | (847) 968-3400
While not exactly a pirate ship, the boat in the Mall of History is the first place my children always head for during a visit at the Lake County Discovery Museum and it’s also the place I can never get them to leave. Hurry in to visit! After August 31, 2016 the museum will close the doors of their current location in Wauconda. Jennifer tells us more about the Lake County Discovery Museum closure.
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview | (847) 832-6600
The Nature Explorers exhibit at Kohl Children’s Museum has a small play boat for your little sailors to enjoy.
Antioch Public Library District
757 North Main Street (Route 83), Antioch | 847-395-0874
The little play boat in the Children’s Area of the Antioch Public Library is one of Holly’s kids’ favorite places to play! Holly shares the library’s other great features in her Antioch Public Library profile.
Just add water…
Sometimes you need a little bit of surf and sand to add some splash to your seafaring exploits. Thankfully these waters are shark-free!
Barefoot Bay Aquatic Center
1461 N. Midlothian Road, Mundelein |847-566-8661
Personally, one of my favorite water parks due to its fun slides, lazy river, and separate and fenced kiddie pool. This kiddie pool prominently features a brightly colored vessel that begs little sailors to come aboard!
More mischievous mateys will enjoy steering this ship and shooting the water cannon at unsuspecting victims floating by on the lazy river. You can learn more about this facility in our Barefoot Bay Review.
Mundelein Spray Park
1401 N. Midlothian Rd., Mundelein | (847) 566-8661
Separate from the splash pad, the Mundelein Spray Park has a huge sandbox with an adorable sailboat pictured above. Learn more about this location in Melissa’s review Mundelein Spray Park – Fun for Kids Big and Small.
Diamond Lake Beach
1016 Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein (off of Rt. 45 ) | (847) 566-5650
Tracy loves to spend hours at this beach with her son, and it’s no wonder. In addition the the lake, beach, gazebos, boat launch, volleyball courts, and picnic area, Diamond Lake Beach features a playground with a pirate ship climbing structure. Shiver me timbers! Read more about what Tracy has to say in her Diamond Lake Beach review.
Worth the Trip
Bristol Renaissance Faire
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI | (847) 395-7773
Just over the Illinois-Wisconsin border, off of I-94, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is one of the biggest and best festivals of its kind in the country. This year’s annual festival opens July 9 – September 5, 2016 and is open Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day. Families will want to head straight for the Kids’ Kingdom, where among many eye-popping attractions sits a giant pirate ship that begs kids to come aboard. As one reader warned us,
Avoid the ship play set the kids can play on, if you want to see anything else. They’ll never leave.
If you plan to visit the fair this season, be sure to check out our Ultimate Kid’s Guide to the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph Street, Chicago | (312) 552-3000
I really can’t go into how awesome this park is, mostly because I’ve already written an entire profile on Maggie Daley Park. It’s really just spectacular and is a must-visit whenever we show out-of-towners around Chicago. “The Sea” is just one of many areas in the sprawling Play Garden, and its showpiece is a custom-built play ship. Even adults will be unable to resist standing on the bow, arms spread-eagle, shouting, “I’m the King of the World!”
500 N. Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI | (414) 765-9966
Jessica G. calls Discovery World in Milwaukee a “budding scientist’s paradise.” Your little sailor will enjoy the aquatic section, where according to Jessica,
You can literally be suspended over Lake Michigan in a giant boat that kids can explore, and then descend into the depths to see and touch local native fish and salt water varieties as well. The periscope peering into Milwaukee was my kids favorite part. It was miraculous to them that they could be under the water and see onto the top of the water at the same time.
Read Jessica’s complete review of Discovery World in Milwaukee.
Where do your pint-sized pirates like to play in and around Lake County?