It’s spring! And spring means it time to get outdoors and explore all the playgrounds in the area. One beautiful spot that I love to bring my kids is Heron Creek Forest Preserve in Lake Zurich. Heron Creek is part of the Lake County Forest Preserves, and they do not disappoint in providing a clean, well maintained outdoor space that the whole family can enjoy. As a bonus, the playground is right next to the parking lot, making it easy to pull the car up and hop out to play.
Immediately in front of the parking lot is a large sand pit, so we always make sure to bring our beach toys for digging. The sand pit is clean and has large diggers, but unfortunately, no shade. Heron Creek Forest Preserve is full of big open spaces, and can get very hot in the mid-day sun. Thankfully, the playground structures have built in sun shades to protect your children from the glaring sun and prevent the equipment from getting too hot. In addition, there is a shaded bench area in the middle of the playground for parents to escape the sun and keep an eye on the kids.
The upper playground is designed for children ages 2-5, and has many traditional tunnels, slides and lookouts. This area is particularly well shaded and great for little climbers. There are also plenty of traditional swings, bucket swings and an adaptive swing on the upper level.
The lower playground is large and designed for children ages 5-12, with long ramps, a net rope climbing area, one tall slide and very interesting red roller slide. The red slide was different from slides I see at most other parks and my boys were obsessed with it. My almost three year old boys were able to handle the lower playground without any trouble, although I did stay nearby in case they got in a jam trying to climb the higher structures. The playground was designed with lookouts so that the children can get a great view of the wide open preserve spaces. In addition, there are some spinning devices and a very small rock wall to climb.
At the preserve, there is a 2 mile crushed gravel loop that is good for bikes or jogging strollers. There is a large shaded picnic shelter and clean and updated outhouses, but not full restrooms facilities. It’s a tradition with my family to take a hike down the path about a quarter mile to a beautiful bridge. It’s just far enough to feel like an adventure for my kids, but not too far that we can’t make it back by foot. If you are up for a longer walk or ride, the loop is beautiful, but again, there is little shade, so I recommend avoiding it during the hot mid-day sun.
Heron Creek park is a favorite for my entire family. The older kids love the big playground, the younger kids love the sand pit and all the playgrounds. My husband and I enjoy hiking or riding along the beautiful path. If you go, make sure to pack sunscreen and a hat, because the sun always feels intense away from the playground. And be prepared to spend a few hours exploring the park and path, it’s a great place to spend a few hours.
Heron Creek Park Playground
22890 N. Old McHenry Road
Lake Zurich, IL 60047