While pandemic life has taken a TON away from us, it has also given us the opportunity to research and scope out Chicagoland gems that we never would have learned about if we weren’t so focused on places to social distance. Our newest discovery? The Schaumburg Sculpture Park, also known as The Chicago Athenaeum International Sculpture Park. It is a beautiful outdoor path that winds it way along ponds, creeks, and grasslands and introduces youngsters to unique and intricate works of art. Here are some Tips for Visiting the Schaumburg Sculpture Park.
Dress (and pack) for a hike! Whether you choose to take the wooded path or the paved one, the Schaumburg Sculpture Park covers over 22 acres of meadow and forest so be prepared for a literal hike. The Woodland Path has a woodchip floor but is shaded, while the other path is paved for bikes/strollers but in the sun. Along with comfortable shoes, be sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray, in addition to water.
Start at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts and explore from there. If you park in the back of the building you are closest to the paths that lead to the art. It is also a great mid point if you are planning on walking around the pond or the other Schaumburg Sculpture Park grounds.
Check out the interactive map before you go so you have an idea of where to look for the sculptures. This in-depth map will also give you background information on the artist and artwork so that you and your family can learn more about why it is such a special piece of the Schaumburg Sculpture Park.
Encourage your kids to interact with the art! Most pieces are readily climbable (such as the lounging woman aka “Awaking Muse” who simply MUST be a mom trying her best to survive a pandemic) and make for fun photo opps. It is so wonderful to have an outdoor art museum available for free so take advantage of the opportunity for your kids to get up close and personal with the art. However, you want to avoid touching anything with sharp edges or steep inclines.
Use the art to enhance learning. For example, we admired the sun dial installments and then discussed HOW sun dials work and WHY they are important. Another great learning opportunity? Discussing why an artist would create a sculpture in a certain way (we had a VERY long debate about the sphere installation comprised of the numbers zero and one) as well as coming up with our own names for the art pieces. You can check out the names and stories behind the art pieces here.
Pack a picnic after your walk. There is a massive pond with benches and shady spots that are perfect for relaxing. The popular “Awaking Muse” sculpture overlooks the pond so be sure to make a pit-stop there either before or after walking the Schaumburg Sculpture Park path. For tips on packing a luxurious picnic, check out this post.
Don’t forget to explore the bridges! Not only are bridges their own artistic sculpture, but they also lead to nature filled nooks for your family to observe. We have seen ducks, swans, frogs, fish…you name it!
For more socially distant adventures, check out this growing page.
Enjoy the art!
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