Deicke Park, Huntley
11419 South Route 47, Huntley, IL
http://www.huntleyparks.org/ (But good luck finding info on their site about this place...)
Deicke Park is a large park district complex that includes baseball fields, picnic areas, aquatic center and other outdoor amenities. However, the real draw for this park is the Deicke Discovery Zone. This is a playground unlike any other we've ever been to! I know some of you think Huntley might be far, but this park is not too far north of the 90 and you can stop at the outlet center on your way home. And it is TOTALLY worth the drive!
Let's start with the Discovery Zone. This is where we spent all of our time, although there is another more usual playground on the grounds. You probably won't leave here either.
As you can see in the picture below, the Discovery Zone area is surrounded a black fence all the way around. There are only two gates to the Zone, which makes it very nice if you are trying to track two or more kids. I didn't see any posted hours of operation, and I can't find them on the Huntley Park website, but the gates do close and lock and you could see that the sandbox had been raked from the day before. I'll update if I find any more information on the hours. A large parking lot is located right in front, and bathrooms are available in an outdoor building right next to the park. There are plenty of picnic tables located both inside and outside the Zone area, the ones inside are even kid-friendly pvc-coated with umbrellas.
For the equipment itself, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, but here are a few things you might want to bring with you: Basketball or other balls for cool basketball court, chalk for the painted chalk wall, and additional sand toys for the "dinosaur bone" digging. Oh, and the ground of the play areas is covered with that soft rubbery flooring, no wood chips to worry about!
|This is part of the sandbox - there are "dinosaur bones" hidden under the sand so the kids can uncover them. My kids spent 90% of their time here.|
|View of the back half of the park - the center has a musical area where the kids can make noises, and if they step on certain spots on the ground, chimes will ring. A lot of the equipment at the park made fun noises, which thrilled my kids immensely.|
|View of the back climbing structure. Other than the swings, this is the closest the Discovery Zone comes to a regular playground. Older kids (6,7 years) might be bored on this equipment, but it was great for the 2 and 4 year olds.|
|More of the sandbox and some of the toys they have there to play with - you can also bring your own if you have a big sand lover!|
|Playground structure at the back of the park|
|View from the back of the Discovery Zone - trying to do it any justice for the size and variety of equipment!|
|Chalk wall for the kids to color on - bring your own chalk, I didn't see any there.|
|Basketball court - we didn't bring a ball and Wesley was really disappointed. They have hoops of all heights with crazy backboards.|
|This is the "other" playground at Deicke. It looked really great, too, but as you can see, we didn't even get out of the car.|
|More of Deicke Park outside the Discovery Zone|