After reading about Cheryl’s Park Crawl and our ridiculously long winter I have been itching to get out and try all the parks! When we first moved here my son was in just starting school and I only visited a handful regularly before his sister also started school. I know have two toddlers that are home full-time and ready to play and I am ready to explore and find some new parks!
Wednesdays are normally my run morning. In researching paved paths for another story I saw that Hastings Lake has a 2+ mile paved loop. I also had seen a friend posting pictures of the new playground and knew it would be a perfect incentive to keep the 3 year old in the stroller for the run.
Hastings Lake is owned and operated by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. The trails and playground are all recently built or upgraded and they are fabulous. The playground has a parking lot right in front of it and bathrooms – in a building with running water! There are play structures and lots of open space to run around.
You’ll see in the pictures that this playground is all turf. Now I love that, in the city most of our playgrounds were all or partial turf and I find it much neater. With two toddlers I don’t have to worry about anyone eating or throwing woodchips or getting dirty with the shredded tires. It’s also nicer for not yet or new walkers to be able to crawl around on it.
The turf is colored and laid out to resemble a river leading to a lake, complete with fallen logs, beaver hut, swimming beavers, lily pads, a frog and a turtle. Despite being adorable it also adds another layer of imaginative play that you may not find at other playgrounds.
There are plenty of swings, 4 regular, two bucket and two seat swings. The two play structures are a good size to provide lots of activities and room to play. The larger one rated for up to age 12 still starts low enough to the ground that if little ones escape to it you have some time to catch them before it gets dangerous.
I have heard from some parents that there is not enough for older kids. I was just there with my toddlers but plan to go back with my school age children. I think it would be perfect up to about age 10-11. There is a free standing rock for climbing that would be good older kids.
The whole park overlooks Hastings Lake and being a forest preserve there are multiple trails for hiking, biking and jogging including a large two mile loop.
This park will be in heavy rotation on our summer park list!
Hastings Lake Playground
21155 W. Gelden Road
Lake Villa, IL 60046Amenities: Two large play structures, swings, rock climbing, imaginative play, beaver hut, picnic area
Shade: minimal, but there are old growth trees surrounding it and covered picnic areas near by
Restrooms: Yes! Real restrooms with running water in a building just outside the park, as well as two water fountains
Good For: all ages, but especially good for toddlers through kindergarten
Hastings Lake Park is on our list for Toddler-Approved Playgrounds, find the perfect playground for your little one!