For the latest in our “Great Parks!” series, contributor Rebecca Greco tells us about a park in Wheaton with the rubber cushion surface, great climbing opportunities for kids and more than 1.5 miles in paved walking/biking trails.
Name and details:
Seven Gables Park, located at 1750 South Naperville Road in Wheaton. It is park of the Wheaton Park District. While there is a sign for the park on Naperville Road, you cannot actually get to the playground parking lot from there. You need to go through the neighborhood to get there, so turn at the light onto Danada Drive. From here, there are signs directing you to the park. (Editors Note: The park district says this park is accessible from Winners Cup Circle, Brighton Drive, Milton Lane and Thompson Drive.)
Q. Can you describe the playground? Anything special it offers?
Seven Gables Park in Wheaton has a large playground as well as tennis courts, sports fields, ice skating rinks, and a walking path. There is a big rope climbing structure at the middle of the playground and two separate playgrounds with lots of opportunities for climbing and sliding. There is also a little rock wall and other smaller ropes as well.
Q. What type of playground surface?
Q. Is there a separate playground for toddlers?
Yes there is, but the equipment isn’t as small as some of the toddler areas in other parks. There are some tunnels that might be a little tricky for new walkers to navigate by themselves.
Q. Is there a paved trail or path good for walking or riding bikes and scooters?
Yes. (Editor’s Note: Here’s a map detailing the three walking paths at Seven Gables, totaling 1.72 miles.)
Q. What was your child’s favorite part of the park? Least favorite?
Apparently my daughter is easy to please because whenever I ask her favorite part she always says “everything!” She spent a lot of time climbing up the ladders to the very top of the bigger play structure. She was a little too scared to venture into the giant spider web structure in the middle.
Q. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?
I really love this park a lot, we drove almost a half hour to get there and I think it’s totally worth it. There’s a lot of fun opportunities for climbing and some more unique playground equipment than a lot of other parks have. When we visited in late March, there were some areas of the park that were in need of repairs – two slides were boarded up and covered with caution tape and there was a swing missing. The larger play structure has quite a few different levels and if you have a younger child who might get scared, this could be a problem.
Q. Does it seem like a park that might be especially crowded at certain times of day?
This park is generally pretty busy in the summer during the day, we usually try to get there early in the day. It’s a very large park though so it’s not too bad when there are a lot of people.
Q. Are there public bathrooms? Is it indoor plumbing or a port-a-potty? Is there a changing table if it is inside a building?
There is a structure with indoor bathrooms but when we were there they were locked. I’m not sure if they are only open during certain months or times.
Q. Is there shade over the playground? Is there shade for a picnic?
There is an area with a few trees that offers some shade. There is also a covered structure with some picnic tables.
Q. What ages to you feel this park is best for?
Both my almost 2 year old and my 4 year old loved it. Most of the smaller play area was good for my toddler but she did need help climbing through some tunnels. During the summer I always see older kids here too, usually all at the top of the spider web climbing structure in the middle.
Q. Can you describe your family’s experience a bit?
We got to Seven Gables Park early, about 9:30 in the morning, and we had the whole place to ourselves. Lately my daughters have both been very obsessed with the swings so I had to keep forcing them to play with the other equipment. We have a park where we can swing right across the street from our house, when we go to a Seven Gables I want them to climb! They eventually accepted that I wasn’t going to push them on the swings anymore and moved on to exploring the rest of the park and some other kids showed up.
Unfortunately we didn’t stay as long as we might have because the bathrooms were locked and I had an extremely large iced tea on the drive to the park. But we will definitely be back for a longer trip this summer and hopefully my girls will be more adventurous and try climbing some of the bigger equipment!
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.