We have successfully checked off most of the adventures on our summer bucket list and even managed to sneak in a few extras.
We never made it to the cool looking splash pads in Highland, Whiting and Calumet City as planned, but we did discover a water spray area in nearby Mann Park, 3035 E. 130st St. in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood.
In the southwest corner of the park there is a concrete area with four large sprayers, the perfect spot for letting the kids cool off on a hot day. It seems to be on throughout the day in the summer. We didn’t find it until this past week but look forward to adding it to our activities next year.
Car enthusiasts can register for the Coats for Kids Cruise Night taking place from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at St. Jude the Apostle Church, 880 E. 154th St. in South Holland. It costs $15 per car to register and for every two cars that sign up, the Knights of Columbus Genoa Council 1659 will be able to provide one new coat for an elementary school student. For information, call (708) 224-3811 or (708) 745-2251.
This past week, we also made visits to two cool nature spots. Both were quick drives from Hegewisch and well worth the trip.
The first was a visit to Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights, Ill. We walked around trails surrounding the 20-acre man-made lake, watched the waterfall and rippling stream, visited the Children’s Forest, and met some little critters at the nature center.
My son loved watching the many ducks around the lake and sniffing flowers near the butterfly garden. All ages would enjoy the sights and sounds of nature you can find here.
You might want to check it out during the Monarch Butterfly Festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15. It’s $5 per person and little ones 3 and younger are free. This special event will include a tent filled with butterflies, food vendors, children’s activities and hayrides.
Lake Katherine is about 20 minutes away at 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive. For more information, call (708) 361-1873 or visit lakekatherine.org.
The next day we were off to Morton Arboretum, about 45 minutes away in Lisle, Ill. It had been many years since I visited and now with a kid in tow, I especially loved exploring its beautiful grounds. It was my first time in the Children’s Garden, which is one of the best spots in all of Chicago to let kids explore nature.
Little ones were laughing and learning while exploring the tree-house like playgrounds, streams, fountains and many gardens.
The arboretum also has a wonderful visitor’s center with a scenic café. You can take a self-guided drive through the grounds or hop on a tram tour. Bike rentals are also available and you can bike nine miles of paved roads while admiring the magnificent collection of trees. In winter, the Arboretum offers cross-country skiing or snowshoeing when there is four or more inches of snow on the ground.
For more information, call (630) 968-0074 or visit mortonarb.org.