Looking for the best playground for families? Then head out to Independence Grove in Libertyville for a day of fun, from hiking to picnicking and even swimming! Luckily for Lake County residents, Independence Grove is FREE resource for families, but for others there is a simple $10 parking fee—well worth the fun that lies within the grove.
Located on Buckley Road in Libertyville, Independence Grove is over 1,151 acres of nature filled family fun. There are different hiking paths, pike paths, boat launches, swimming areas, fishing spots, play grounds, volleyball courts…the list goes on and on.
Our favorite part of Independence Grove to take advantage of are the play grounds. Why do I love it so much? Because it is the perfect mix of being well spaced out and contained all at once. It is fenced in on all sides so your little one can’t run off (the entrance is an arrangement of gates tricky enough to stop a wildly running toddler in his/her tracks) so if you bring more than one child to play, you don’t have to worry.
There are two main sections of the playground, one huge area for younger kiddos and a vast area for the older set. The two are connected and there are some universally appropriate pieces of equipment for kids, but I found that kids naturally stick to what area is most appealing to them.
For the younger set, there are tons of ramps, swings, and slides at their level situated along the beautiful lake. It is the perfect scenic view and I found my little guys stopping and just starting out at the water, pointing out the ducks swimming and the people fishing. And since there are rubber wood chips throughout the playground, you don’t have to worry about a fast slide or any spills. Just remember to empty out your shoes before you leave!
The real star of the playground is the “big kids” park. There are so many fun things to engage the older set, encouraging them to ditch the screens and work up a sweat. The rock wall was so fun and interactive (even my almost four year old managed to do it with Daddy’s help).
The only tricky part is that once you are at the top, you have to go down a very steep slide. Since this spooked my little guy, I simply lifted him over the fence so that he could walk over to the bridge that overlooks the entire Children’s Grove playground.
My inquisitive little guys loved that there were so many nooks and crannies within the bridge to stop and look out into the area, perfect for playing “I Spy” and “Peekaboo.”
We are looking forward to spending our summer at Independence Grove and taking advantage of their beach. It is so fun to pack a lunch and spend the day splashing around and building sand castles at a very clean beach with tons of amenities, including a grill to order food (ice cream and snow cone carts, too!) and well as clean bathrooms.
The Summer Concert series runs through June 16 to August 4th, with musical entertainment every Tuesday night at 7:30. These events are family friendly and the perfect way to enjoy summer nights.
There is always something fun going on at Independence Grove, and their educational programs include kid-focused events. They typically include a nature based story, craft, and outdoor exploration starting with preschool aged children, ranging from $7 to $10 per child/parent pair. Be sure to check out all of the offerings on their website.
Looking for other nature-based fun? Simply search “parks” or “outdoor fun”.