Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Really Want To Go Outside: Parkin' it in Oak Park

Big ups to mom and dad for taking us to visit Grammie and Grandpa at least once when it's not the dead of winter in Chicagoland.  No one really wanted to spend another 6 hours touring Ernest Hemingway's house (although mom swears that was still pretty cool).  We spent most mornings on our vacaye last week in downtown Chicago, but our post-nap afternoons were generally spent checking out the parks mom played at growing up.  It's probably not a big shock to learn that Oak Park is full of parks, but mom was surprised to see that so many of them were nicer than she remembers (which is probably because they are).  Our big three included:

  • Whittier (which is technically part of the Whittier Elementary School and not the Park District, but it was the park most frequented by mom and her siblings growing up, so it made our list.  she tried to explain to us their elaborate made-up tennis wall ball game to no avail).  Whittier has a "big kids" park at one end and a "small kids" park way at the other end of the school.  It also now has a nice garden (which according to mom used to be a dirty field).  And it has the advantage of being just down the street from Oak Park's Fire Department Station 2 and if our Grandpa is with you he'll march right up to the door and demand a tour for your kids (and not only will he get that tour, but the kids will get a sweet fire hat to go with it) -- thanks, Grandpa!                                                                                
  • Field Park, which truthfully has been completely redone since mom grew up.  This big park now has several large climbing structures, a sprayground, plenty of benches and shade, and a bathroom (if the Park District building is open).  I spent a lot of time at this playground perfecting my stair skillz and can now (mostly) safely walk down the stairs while holding a railing.  I also launched myself down several slides.  Kane made a nice neighorhood buddy (they are so FRIENDLY in the burbs) and we played here until dinnertime one night.  
  • Andersen Park, which was the site of Uncle Tim's birthday pirate party many years ago.  It has also been redone and has a "splash pad," bathrooms, and some pretty sweet climbing structures.  

The one park we never made it to, much to Kane's dismay, was Priory Park in neighboring River Forest.   Rumor has it that it has a giant pirate ship and a sand lot.  Oh well.  Fortunately Kane can turn anything into a pirate ship and did so at every single park we visited.  

Whittier and Fire Station No. 2

Field Park 

Andersen Park

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