Eight Fun Family Activities for Less than $30

What activities can a Lake County family of four find to do without breaking the bank? Believe it or not, you can see a movie, roller skate, swim, bowl or ride a go-kart. You can enjoy the peaceful beauty of the Chicago Botanic Garden or plan a relaxing ride on a Metra train. Whatever your style, Little Lake County has rounded-up a list of eight budget-conscious but fun family activities for less than $30.

family fun for less than 30

Fun Family Activities for Less Than $30

1. Roller Skate

With several choices, your family will be rolling along in no time with these special deals. One deal even includes pizza and a snow cone!

Head to Just for Fun in Mundelein on Wednesday nights and enjoy $2 Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Admission is $2 per person, regular skate rental is $2 per person, and pizza is $2 a slice. And for dessert, treat the family to a 50-cent snow cone.  A family of four can enjoy an evening of skating and pizza for $26. This is a win in my book!  Just for Fun Roller Rink in McHenry offers the same deal on Tuesday evenings.

Just for Fun Roller Rink in Mundelein
139 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein | (847) 949-7528

Just for Fun Roller Rink in McHenry
914 Front St., McHenry | (815) 363-4386

Bella’s Bouncies Skate on Grand offers a Family 4-Pack on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and on Sundays from  12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. for $21. A parent must be one of the four skaters in order to take advantage of this offer. Skate rental is an additional cost, so with regular skates, a family of four can skate all afternoon for $29.

On Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., everyone skates for $2; on Wednesdays, everyone skates for $4 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. These specials do NOT include skate rental, which is $2 for regular skates and $3 for speed skates or roller blades. But even with souped-up skates on a Wednesday, your family outing is complete for only $28. Check out Little Lake County’s recent review of this roller skating rink.

Bella’s Bouncies Skate on Grand
720 E. Grand Ave., Fox Lake | (847) 546-7000

Girls swimming pool noodle

2. Swim

There is no better “sleep insurance” for my kids than a visit to a local pool. And these indoor pools are open regardless of the weather outside. Keep that pool bag packed in advance, and you’ll be ready to leave the house for open swim at a moment’s notice. For a comprehensive list of indoor pools, take a look at our list of indoor pools in Lake County.

Aquadome Pool
(Located inside Buffalo Grove High School) 1100 W. Dundee Road, Buffalo Grove | (847) 459-2310
Daily Fee for Open Swim $5 (children younger than 2 are free).
Open Swim: Fridays 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
An adult (18 years old or older) must accompany children under the age of seven. Be sure to check the Aquadome website for changes due to school activities.

Deerfield Park District – Sachs Recreation Center
455 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield | (847) 572-2600
Open swim is available to non-members for $10 per family on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Check the pool schedule for details.

Gurnee Park District – FitNation
1655 Nations Drive, Gurnee | (847) 623-4506
Open swim is available for a $6.00 per person drop-in fee; parents must be in the pool with children younger than eight years old. Please check the pool schedule for Open Swim hours.
Recreation Center of Highland Park
1207 Park Avenue West, Highland Park | (847) 579-4564
Daily Fee for Open Swim: $6 resident/$7 non-resident. Children age three and younger are FREE with a paid adult. Open Swim hours daily, see website for schedule.
© T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2016

3. Go Bowling

There are a few alleys that offer family-friendly bowling specials, but definitely not during peak hours or when leagues are present. Check out Little Lake County’s article on Small Town Bowling in Lake County for additional recommendations and for bowling alleys that might offer similar specials.

Fairhaven Lanes
711 E. Hawley St., Mundelein | (847) 566-4110
Sunday is Dollar Day from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; all games are $1 and shoe rental is $3. While one game at these rates will run you $16; you can consider upgrading to two games for a total cost of $32.

Brunswick Zone Hawthorn Lanes
316 Center Dr., Vernon Hills | (847) 367-1600
Get the family out of the house early on Sunday for the Early Bird Bowling Special. Games are $1.99 per person, and shoe rental is $4.69 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. One game for a family of four will cost you just under $28.

4. Laser Tag.

Invite another family (or two) and head out for the Laser Tag weekday evening specials at Lakeside Lanes in Mundelein. For $20, the whole family can experience a fun session of Laser Tag.

Lakeside Lanes
900 S. Lake St., Mundelein | (847) 949-5700
Laser Tag sessions are $5 each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:00 p.m. until close.

Photo source Antioch Theatre on Facebook

5. See a Movie

Yes, there are still places where tickets to a movie won’t break the bank, but it won’t involve reclining leather seats or concessions for less than $30. Several independent theaters in Lake County family-friendly prices for movie tickets. Find out information about other small movie theaters here.

Antioch Theatre
378 Lake St., Antioch | Office Line (847) 395-0425 | Movie Line (224) 788-8899
Matinees before 5:30 p.m. are $6.00 every day; regular admission prices are $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 – 11.  A movie for a family of four for here is $28.

Buffalo Grove Theater
Buffalo Grove Town Center, 120 McHenry Rd., Buffalo Grove | (847) 604-1393
Tickets to any matinee (before 5:00 p.m.) are $4.50 for all ages, except on discount Tuesday, when all tickets are $5. A movie for four for $20? Yes, please! Regular prices are $8.50 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and younger, so you will still scrape by for under $30 at the regular prices.

Golden Age Cinemas The Liberty 1 & 2 Theaters
708 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville | Office Line (847) 918-7464 | Showtime Line (847) 362-3011
Matinees before 5:30 p.m. are $6 for all ages; regular prices are $8 for adults and $6 for children age 11 and younger. A family of four can purchase movies tickets here for $28.

Photo source Kristof’s Entertainment Center and World of Fun on Facebook

6. Go-Karts

Weather permitting, take your mini race car fans to Kristof’s family-friendly go-kart track for a driving competition. The cost is $7 per ride, and if your passenger is under 52″ tall, they can hitch a ride with another rider age 16 or older for only $1. This activity is fair weather-dependent; please call ahead to make sure the go-kart track is open for the season.

Kristof’s Entertainment Center
421 W. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach | (847) 546-2512

regenstein learning campus
Photo Provided by the Chicago Botanic Garden

7. Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.

As the weather warms up, plan a day of outdoor adventure at the garden, check out a discovery backpack when you arrive, and pick up a free garden bingo card for even more fun. Be sure to visit the Children’s Play Garden which is highly recommended by Little Lake County’s own Mom-in-Chief Melissa. You can also combine the next activity, a Metra train ride, with your visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden by taking the train to the Braeside Metra station and hiking the mile to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe | (847) 835-5440

8. Ride the Train

Take a ride on Metra into the city or try one of Kari W.’s recommended Kid-friendly Stops on the Milwaukee North Metra line, or another local train lines serving Lake County. On weekends, children younger than seven can ride free even when an adult purchases an $8 Weekend Pass (which provides unlimited train rides on Saturday and Sunday), keeping costs low. If your children are older than seven, the weekend pass option is still a great deal at only $32 for a family of four. A great place to land if you do travel all the way to Chicago is Maggie Daley Park; Loralie tells you all about it here.

Where can you take a family of four for less than $30? Let us know in the comments section.


About Jennifer Johnson 52 Articles
Jennifer is mom to a teenage boy and a tween girl, and spends her time changing radio stations in her minivan while driving to band concerts, learning new texting lingo and keeping track of the latest trends in electronics and hairstyles. Jennifer spends any free time she can find trying to stay organized, testing out new recipes that everyone might eat, reading, crafting or trying to beat her own best score in SpellTower. She also serves as a managing editor at Little Lake County.

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