The last time the projected temperature in our area was going to be over 100, as it is for the next few days, I lived in a 3rd floor walk-up with no air-conditioning. We spent our days bouncing between expected, and maybe a few unexpected, places that were air-conditioned and FREE. Now we do have air conditioning but since my electric bill is so high I’m still looking for someplace we can play and cool off without resorting to a day full of TV and video games.
5 Free Places to Play in Air Conditioning
As I’m sure you expect the library is my number one place to go to play for free in the cool comfort of the air-conditioning. In fact, I’m writing this from a library right now! Make it a fun adventure for your kids by visiting one that is not your regular location. Some of our favorite libraries:
- Highland Park Public Library
- Barrington Area Library
- Antioch Public Library
- Cook Memorial District Library – Aspen Drive Library
- Wauconda Area Library
- Vernon Area Public Library District
Now hear me out before you roll your eyes. Aside from being able to pick up a dinner that you don’t have to cook there is plenty to do! Older kids will be happy to hang out in the cafe or walk-around the store to play Pokemon Go. Younger kids will be entertained at one of their many fun events.
3. Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble locations have great children’s areas with a train table and sometimes other activities out for kids to play with.
4. Gurnee Mills
I know mall play areas are not your first choice but hey it’s Free! Also, take a stroll down to Bass Pro Shop. Kids love watching the fish in the pond and every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday there are free activities at their Family Camp.
5. Free Indoor Play Areas (that aren’t the Mall)
If you want to avoid the mall head to Brainstorm in Lindenhurst or Learning Express Toys Lake Zurich. Each of them has play areas for all ages. Learning Express hosts playdates too where you can try out toys. Other indoor play locations that are FREE:
- Chick-fil-A Vernon Hills and Kildeer
- Kids Bowl Free at these locations all summer long
- McDonald’s Playlands
If you are at your wits end though and just want some peace (trust me I have four at home I get it!) gather up your pennies and drop them off at one of these locations and sip your (iced) coffee in peace.