It’s the time of year when Mother Nature can’t decide what to do. Whether it’s snowing or raining, the end result is always the same in the early spring. MUD. And lots of it! But when spring fever hits you and your kids this year, don’t fear all playgrounds and parks. Check out this list of mud-free playgrounds and enjoy the fresh air without the muddy mess.
Lake County Parks with Complete Turf
Hastings Lake Playground
21155 W. Gelden Road, Lake Villa
Hastings Lake playground is pretty much the mecca of turfed playgrounds! The turf has the perfect cushioning, plus it’s designed to look like a river streaming into a lake with fallen logs, lily pads, and giant frogs to make it even more fun for kids.
There are two large play structures (one designed for bigger kids and the other for smaller), swings for big and little kids, rock climbing, a beaver hut, and a picnic area (and nice bathrooms!). We’ve gone with kids ranging in age from two years to 14 years, so we have direct proof that it appeals to all ages. In addition to the turfed play area, there is also a paved trail around the lake if your crew is interested in a hike. There is so much to do at Hastings Lake Park we spend hours there each time we go, and we’re guessing you will, too! See Melissa’s 2014 Review!
Kid’s Castle at Deerpath Park
299 Onwentsia Road, Vernon Hills
Completely renovated in 2016, the beloved Kid’s Castle playground at Deerpath Park in Vernon Hills is better than ever. Children can live their own fairy tale on this truly regal playground that features pour-in-place spongy rubber surfaces.
What is extra special about this playground is that it was a community labor of love with residents. Residents helped choose the design and completed the demolition, assembly and landscaping. You can see and feel the love and care.
Featured on our list of best parks for toddlers, Engle Junction is a good choice for little ones. Our writer Holly describes this park as “the holy grail of playgrounds” for parents of toddlers. The turf ground makes it easy for new walkers, and the whole park is entirely fenced in. While this park was initially developed for the Lindenhurst Park District’s preschool program, don’t be fooled into thinking you are not allowed to play there. The Engle Junction Playground is open and welcome for public use. Check out Holly’s 2014 Review
16400 W. Buckley Rd., Libertyville
When you step into the playground at Independence Grove, the first thing you will notice is how springy the ground is. The ground is covered with rubber wood chips making it completely mud-free. There are two different levels, a massive climbing wall, and an underground tunnel. This is a perfect park for a day after it rains. A little tip from a mom of three — it’s hard to keep an eye on your kids here because of the different levels and tunnels, so if you have more than one or two children with, you might want to bring along another helper to keep and eye on everyone.
Husky Playground has canopies to help protect kids from the elements, whether it be sun or rain. The ground is covered with a soft, turf surface and features many slides, climbers, and swings, making it a great choice for kids of all ages.
Nestled in the Gregg’s Landing subdivision, this park features recycled rubber mulch, so no soggy sneakers here! There’s a shaded shelter along with the playground equipment and viewing platform for a nearby pond. There is no parking lot, but there is limited street parking on the side street.
Located inside the Ravinia Woods subdivision and recently renovated, this fun little playground features artificial turf and poured-in-place rubber surfacing. The rubber surfacing makes it not only mud-free but ADA compliant for children of all abilities. Plus there’s a really cool webbed spinner that kids love. There is a parking lot but no restrooms. Read our review Ravinia Park by Kari A. for more information.
850 North Summit Avenue, Lake Forest
According to Chad,
With multiple slides, climbing nets, and bridges, West Park offers plenty of options for the active kids in your family. It also features a four-person seesaw and a rubber hammock that acts as a walking and balancing platform.
And not to be missed is the 50-foot zipline! Learn more in Chad’s West Park Playground Profile.
350 Northgate Parkway, Wheeling
Jenna enjoys the eco-friendly turf, and adventurous kids will love the zipline. Bathrooms and vending machines are nearby and the park features two main playground areas for older and younger children. Read all about it in Jenna’s Horizon Park Playground Profile.
Lake County Parks with Partial Turf
There are two playground structures at this neighborhood park. The grass-like turf is located underneath the swings as well as under the playground designed for smaller children (the playground for older children has standard woodchips). This park has been remodeled fairly recently and features several swings, slides, a gazebo, and even a rock climbing wall.
1800 North Sheridan Road, Waukegan
Featured in our list of Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County, this is definitely one you want to check out. With an outlook tower with 40-foot tube slides, spider climber, spinner, splash pad, and toddler play area, this is one park that will easily entertain kids of all ages.
The ground of the park is mostly woodchips, however there are a few areas with rubberized turf. When you climb the area to the upper hill, the ground appears to be covered in wood chips. However it is actually rubberized turf designed to just look like wood chips. The surface of the toddler play area is rubberized as well to help new walkers. Check out Loralie’s 2014 review.
Betty Russell Park
5300 Pinewood Rd., Gurnee
Featured as our number one pick for best playgrounds for toddlers, Betty Russell park is a great pick for a spring day or any day. Some of the ground is covered in spongy turf, while some of it has wood chips. The park has several play structures including a train car, swings, and sports fields which would appeal to a variety of ages.
Now that spring has sprung — or is thinking about it — be sure to check out these mud and mes-free parks and playgrounds. Where will you play on the next muddy day?