As soon as the bitter cold of Chicago winter sets in, I’m on the lookout for indoor fun that keeps my kids active. Rock climbing is my favorite indoor activity. Kids not only put their bodies to work when rock climbing, they also get to work on their hand-eye coordination. One thing I’ve realized from coaching my five- and eight-year-old is that it’s definitely a growth mindset activity. Of course, even after the weather warms up, there are outdoor playgrounds that have climbing walls too!
Please know that for all of the walls listed here, children will be harnessed, supervised, and shown how to climb safely. Each wall has it’s own rules on height and age so be sure to check the individual sites before heading out.
Rock Climbing Walls in Lake County
Libertyville Sports Complex
1950 N. Highway 45, (corner of Peterson Rd & Rte 45) Libertyville | 847-367-1502
Libertyville’s climbing mountain is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Children must be 40 inches tall and have a guardian present to sign a waiver. Tennis shoes must be worn. Admission is $10 (multiple visit passes available). Mondays and Wednesdays they offer half off to scouts who come in uniform from 4:00 p.m – 6:00 p.m. Want to take your climbing skills to the next level? The Sports Complex offers classes for kids on Tuesdays and Saturdays, see program guide to register.
Hunt Club Park Community Center
920 N. Hunt Club Rd., Gurnee | 847-623-7788
The community center has a 24-foot climbing wall, hours vary, so check the website. Children must be at least six years old and 40 inches tall to use it. Wall can be used for free by Gurnee residents, and costs $1 for non residents.
1025 N. Old McHenry Rd, Lake Zurich | 847-438-5300
The wall is available Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.. You’ll need to sign a waiver, and non-members get their first three visits for free. After that, you must join or pay the daily drop-in fee of $15 for adults, and $10 for children.
Field House Sports & Fitness CenterWaukegan Park District, 800 Baldwin Ave, Waukegan | 847-360-4700
In the Waukegan Park District Field House, you’ll find a three-story climbing wall. Open climb hours are Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The cost is $5 per visit (free for members). You must wear tennis shoes and sign a waiver. Children must be at least six years old and weigh a minimum of 70 pounds to use the auto-belay. Check the park district brochure for their next Family Fun Climb.
Other Area Climbing Walls
North Wall Rock Climbing
825 S. Main St., Suite #106, Crystal Lake | 815-356-6855
If you’re looking for more climbing options and a more of a challenge, North Wall is a climbing gym where you’ll find walls of varying heights, arrangements, and levels. Daily passes are $14 for adults, $10 for ages 10-17, and $7 for children 9 and younger. Every Wednesday night is community night! Day passes are $10 after 7:00 p.m., and rental shoes are only $2. Lessons, camps, after school clubs, and birthday parties are available.
Maggie Daley Park Climbing Wall
337 E. Randolph St., Chicago | 312-552-3000
When the weather gets warmer, you can climb outdoors at the Maggie Daley Park Climbing Wall, Chicago’s first and only climbing park. It’s open from spring to fall on Fridays from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. There are lots of options, but it’s first come, first serve, so plan to be there early. For more information and details about pricing and the various climbing options, be sure to check the website. Read Loralie’s review on why Maggie Daley Park should be on your “to-go” list!
Where is your family’s favorite rock climbing wall? Let us know in the comments section below!