Read in Grumpy Old Man Voice:
In my day, we called them preteens or teeny-boppers.
In 2017 we call them “Tweens,” juveniles in that dubious phase of life where they’re not quite old enough to be a full-fledged teenager but they maybe should consider using deodorant.
For parents, this phase is fraught with many difficulties, the least of which is how to entertain these whippersnappers. They think they’re too old to ride the carousel but they still can’t get in to see a PG-13 movie. Where can a family go to appease these finicky creatures?
Here’s our quick-and-dirty list of 6 fun places for tweens in Lake County. We promise that the mention of these locations will not induce any eye-rolling from your tween. In fact, they may have so much fun, the only time they’ll break out their smartphones is to take a selfie!
6 Fun Places for Tweens in Lake County
1. Dave & Buster’s
424 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills | (847) 549-2118
When they’re much too cool for Chuck E. Cheese, it’s time to upgrade to Dave & Buster’s for the ultimate arcade experience that mom and dad can enjoy too. If you’re concerned about violent video games, many games have ratings so you can decide for yourself what you feel is appropriate. With a full menu including game-day specials and big screen, high-definition TVs, there’s something for everyone in the family.
285 Center Drive, Vernon Hills | (847) 918-0800
Part bumper cars, part basketball, and part lacrosse, Whirlyball may best be explained as 100% fun! WhirlyBall is for big kids and big kids at heart — you must be at least 4′ 6″ to participate. Luckily, your Little Lake County writers all passed the height requirements so we can tell you firsthand just how much fun it can be. With Whirlyball, Laser Tag, and food and drink options for grown-ups you might be tempted to leave the kids at home; however, you won’t be able to resist scoring against junior and reminding the family who’s the real boss on the court… Read my 2015 story for more information about Whirlyball in Vernon Hills.
3. Skate on Grand
720 E. Grand Avenue, Fox Lake | (847) 546-7000
There are a handful of options for roller skating in Lake County, but only one place where Little Lake County goes for Bubble Soccer! Players need to be between 4’6″ and 6’2″ tall to participate, making this a hilarious (and sweaty) activity to enjoy with your tween, teen or good-humored adult companion. To learn more about Bubble Soccer, read about how Little Lake County got into some Bubble Trouble earlier this year.
4. Launch Trampoline Park (formerly Jump America)
880 Lakeside Drive, Gurnee | (224) 325-5867
When the bounce house doesn’t do it for them anymore, let them burn off their energy at Launch’s indoor trampoline park. They have over 16,000 square feet of trampolines, two dodgeball courts, and a foam jumping pit.
5. Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee | (847) 249-1776
Six Flags Great America is a rite of passage for every child growing up in Lake County. Do you remember when you were finally tall enough to ride Raging Bull? With the teenage years breathing down your neck, be sure to revel in these tween years while they’re still young enough to enjoy riding the Roaring Rapids with you. Before you know it, you’ll be buying them their own season pass and dropping them off with their friends… Enjoy it as a family while you still can!
6. Bowen Park
1800 North Sheridan Road, Waukegan | (847) 360-4740
So your worldly tween thinks they’re too old for the playground? That’s only because they haven’t visited Bowen Park yet. With 40-foot tube slides and a two-story spider climber along with other irresistible attractions, your tween will revert to child-like play for at least one blissful afternoon. Check out our Bowen Park Playground Profile for more information.
Where do you go to entertain your tweenager?
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home.