Hawks Hollow, which just opened in the fall of 2013 in Geneva, is designed to engage children in environmental learning. It features a child-sized bird nest and beaver lodge, log beam balance course, mud wall canvas, a wood stage, log seating, musical instruments, a pulley system and optic scopes for bird-watching.
Island Park in Geneva, Ill., is a wonderful spot for families looking to fish, picnic, play or take a bike ride or stroll along the Fox River. An old playground was replaced in the summer of 2012 while work was also being done to replace the northern footbridge onto the island. The new playground is rated for children ages 5-12, and it does have one high drop-off point. It features a couple of slides, numerous climbing opportunities and a rope structure strung between two sections of the playground. There isn’t a toddler playground, but there are toddler swings and a play “rowboat” for younger kids. This is also a great park if your kid loves trains, since either Metra or freight trains cross the railroad bridge quite often.
Primrose Farm is a revived 1930s working farm located in St. Charles, west of Randall Road, and owned by the St. Charles Park District. The farm grounds have picnic pavilions, more than 100 acres of agricultural open space, a tire wing, lots of farm animals, community garden plots that can be rented and “farm discovery trails.” There is a small “summer kitchen” building separate from the farmhouse that you can go inside, but otherwise, you’ll be outdoors. Grounds are open dawn to dusk, weather permitting.
The Water Park at the Vaughan Center in Aurora is part of the Fox Valley Park District. It features a zero-depth entry pool that gets as deep as 4 feet. There is a “lily pad” play feature for kids to hop across, and a seesaw and swings for babies. There are two slides, both starting two stories up, and rafts to ride the slides, as well as interactive water play area.
Kids Town Play & Party is an indoor play spot that features about a dozen themed play areas with toys, costumes and more. It is aimed at toddlers through young school-age children, and it hosts birthday parties, as well.