Little McHenry County: Wonder Lake Water Ski Show

Little Lake County parents are active, mobile and always seeking adventure! Sometimes we even traverse outside of our fair county to find family entertainment beyond our borders. Due to popular reader demand, we introduce “Little McHenry County,” a monthly column dedicated to finding fun with our neighbors to the west, written by McHenry County Moms in the know. Explore and enjoy!

Little McHenry County is supported by the Raue Center for the Arts.

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Wonder Lake Water Ski Show: A Truly Wonderful Night!

McHenry County is well-known for being home to numerous lakes as well as the Fox River, which provide a plethora of watersport opportunities to residents; therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that we have an incredibly talented, competitive water ski team in our very own Wonder Lake, the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team. And, almost equally exciting, the team performs for FREE most Fridays during the summer months! (Of course, donations to the team are welcome.)

© S. Younge | Little Lake | 2016

The show is located at the beautiful Wonder Center (Center Beach), which is a private beach that opens up to the public for scheduled special events. My family was absolutely awed by the tricks, jumps, barefooting, stunts, and especially the pyramids that the skiers performed. My kids are still talking about it, this team is amazing! All of the show is set to upbeat and fun music, the team members wear bright and often sparkly costumes, and the energy pulses for the full hour plus that the show runs. The ski show that we attended was themed “Cirque du Wonder Lake” and included some cute short performances by local children to fill in the spaces while the boats and performers switched between acts. There was truly never a dull moment. And the sun setting throughout the performance made it that much more special.

© S. Younge | Little Lake | 2016

Plenty of lawn space was available, and most people brought lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the show, as well as snacks and beverages. As the beach is set on a slope, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. There is a port-a-potty available as well for kids (and parents) who need a potty break. Parking is somewhat limited, so make sure you arrive a few minutes early to ensure you will have time to find a nearby spot and walk a short distance if necessary.

© S. Younge | Little Lake | 2016

The Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team is a non-profit organization that performs free water ski shows almost every Friday, Memorial Day through Labor Day. The shows begin at 7:00 p.m. at Center Beach in Wonder Lake, the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the show. The team formed in 1955 and has been performing shows since 1959.

Not only is the team close to home, they are excellent! The Wonder Lake Ski Show Team has finished in the top five spots at the National Tournament consistently and has won the National Ski Show Champion title several times over the past 20 years. As announced at the show which we attended, the team recently took first place in the Central Region Tournament by over 300 points, and will compete in a National Tournament in Janesville, WI, August 12th – 14th.

© S. Younge | Little Lake | 2016

The team consists of approximately 160 members of the local community, who range in age from 5 – 65 years old. You do not have to be a Wonder Lake resident to join the team, you just must know how to water ski on two skis. If you or someone you know is interested in joining, registration opens up in February each year, and admission is approved by the Board of Directors.

Wonder Lake
© S. Younge | Little Lake | 2016

The final home water ski show of the season will be held on Friday, August 19th, and believe me, you don’t want to miss this! Mark your calendar, head out to support this fantastic team and enjoy a night with your family that you won’t soon forget.  Warning…make sure you tell your children that this kind of talent takes a lot of practice! Don’t try this in the bathtub.

Home Show Addresses:
Wonder Center Property Owners Association Center Beach
Hancock Drive & East Lake Shore Drive | Wonder Lake


Little McHenry County is graciously supported by the Raue Center for Arts. The Raue Center for the Arts is McHenry County’s premiere theater destination, hosting unique events and performances which include theater, comedy, music and family productions in a charming and historic venue in downtown Crystal Lake. The Raue Center For The Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts.

Raue Center for the ArtsSupport the Raue Center for the Arts by attending one of their upcoming events:

See the full calendar of events on the Raue Website.

Disclosure: Raue Center for the Arts is a paid sponsor of Little McHenry County. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer. 


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About Shelby Younge 39 Articles
Shelby has lived in counties across the U.S. from New York to California. She has worked in catering, public relations, and as a sales executive for a marketing and travel company before giving up her mundane life of exotic food, party planning and international binge travel for the glamour of poopy diapers and being known by name at Costco. She calls Lakewood home with her three sons and a daughter ranging in age from nine to one, and is married to her college sweetheart. Shelby enjoys cooking, exercising, coaching, church-going, wining and dining with friends and spying on her kids under the guise of “volunteering” at school. You can find Shelby dancing through the aisles of the dollar store, sporting heels and nursing her baby in the Ergo, while looking for inspiration for the next family theme day. Or, she might be chauffeuring her kiddos to one of their 1,204 activities while belting out Kids Bop (but using the original lyrics) in her gluten-free cracker-filled family truckster.

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