For the latest in our “Great Parks!” series, contributor Rebecca Greco tells us about a spot in Naperville that features on her all-time favorite playgrounds for toddlers.
Name and details:
Nike Park is located at 288 W Diehl Rd in Naperville, and it is part of the Naperville Park District.
Q. Is the parking nearby?
Yes, there is a close parking lot.
Q. Can you describe the playground? Anything special it offers?
Nike Park is part of a sports complex containing baseball fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts, and other multi-use fields. The playground is spread out enough that even when it’s pretty busy, there is still plenty of space to play without it feeling over-crowded. There is a really great toddler playground that’s perfect for even new walkers, but there’s also plenty of opportunities for older kids to have fun too. This is a great park for kids who love climbing and has a low set of monkey bars perfect for preschoolers.
During the summer it’s a great place to go in the morning to play, have a picnic, and then head home for a nap.
Q. What type of playground surface? Cushion, mulch, sand, etc?
Q. Is there a separate playground for toddlers?
Yes there is, it’s one of my favorite toddler playgrounds we’ve been to. Everything is very low to the ground. It’s also pretty far from the bigger area so older kids generally steer clear of it.
Q. Is there a paved trail or path good for walking or riding bikes and scooters?
There are athletic fields and a path that goes around them.
Q. What was your child’s favorite part of the park? Least favorite?
There is a small set of monkey bars that my daughter loves. She also loves the big climbing rock.
Q. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?
I also share her love for the small monkey bars since she can do them without my help. I really like the toddler area, it’s the perfect size for younger toddlers. This year my 2 year old thinks she’s too grown up for it, but it was perfect last year when she was just starting to walk.
There are a few climbing areas that make me a little nervous. There is a large climbing rock in the middle that older kids always make it to the top of and I always worry my daughter will get too high and get stuck, though this fear is probably irrational. There’s also a ladder that goes up to the slide so there is a large hole in the middle of it. I’m less nervous about my 4 year old around this, but I get a bit anxious when my 2 year old is near it.
Q. Does it seem like a park that might be especially crowded at certain times of day?
This park definitely gets busy in the summer, especially if there was a sports game and the kids on the team are playing after. It’s a pretty big park and spread out enough that it isn’t usually an issue. We find that mornings are typically less busy than afternoons.
Q. Are there public bathrooms?
There are bathrooms with indoor plumbing.
Q. Is there shade over the playground? Is there shade for a picnic?
The park itself doesn’t have much shade but there is a covered structure with picnic tables.
Q. What ages to you feel this park is best for?
The toddler area and rubber cushion make this park perfect for younger kids. There are plenty of areas for climbing and a bigger area for running around for older kids.
Q. Can you describe your family’s experience a bit?
We went to Nike Park on a really nice afternoon and it wasn’t too busy. My older daughter spent a lot of time on the monkey bars while my younger daughter wanted to swing. I always like parks that are more spread out because they run around more and burn off more energy. It is a bit of a drive for us, but in the summer we always make sure to stop at Nike Park when we are over in Naperville!
About the Author: Rebecca Greco lives in Aurora with her husband and two daughters, ages 2 and 4. A designer and illustrator turned mom, Rebecca spends her days with the girls looking for fun activities in the area and moonlights as a craft blogger at www.hugsarefun.com.