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!
Quite possibly the most adorable playdate ever, My Secret Garden is a little girls’ dream come true! Bring your daughter’s dress-up fairy tales to life as you give her the chance to be whomever she chooses for an afternoon; from a princess to a rock star to a tea party attendant, (and many more options in between) as the choices seem endless. Literally pick amongst hundreds of costumes and gowns and let your daughter experience a lovely afternoon of make-believe while allowing her imagination to flourish.
Located in a charming Victorian Home built in 1882, along Algonquin’s revered historic main district, My Secret Garden is the perfect setting to transport guests to another world of fantasy. Dress-up tea parties for girls and ladies of all ages are the specialty here. Watch your daughter wade through a huge variety of dresses, shoes, and accessories to put together the perfect tea party ensemble. Jewelry, hats, parasols and various racks of gowns fill two rooms. Indecisiveness is not a problem at all; guests can change several times as each party or playdate gives the children at least 45 minutes of dress-up time. Most sessions of fancification are followed by a tea party, featuring adorably themed foods, which vary based on your chosen party package.
A designated playdate/party destination, reservations must be made in advance. Parties can be for as few as two party guests, therefore, as long as you plan in advance, you can easily reserve a time for your little princess to play with a friend and not even have to clean the house first. Score! Open dress-up days are also offered June through August and holidays, with advanced reservations.
A variety of options are available to customize your party needs as well as your budget. Different upgrades are available such as glittery make-up application, nail painting, character appearances, and story times.
One of the most popular new options for parties (with a minimum of six guests) is the “Snowflakes and Sparkles” theme in the new Frozen Room. This space is totally dedicated to the movie Frozen, from the food to the gowns to the frosty nails and stories. Upgrades to this package offer inclusions such as a visit from Queen Elsa and/or an Elsa coronation twist or braid in the girls’ hair.
“An Afternoon in Paris” is another darling theme party that older girls may enjoy. A Parisian Bistro setting with French delicacies and Eiffel Tower centerpieces add an air of sophistication to the soiree. C’est magnifique!
You can also satisfy your own inner child and join in on the dress-up fun, enjoying an afternoon of just playing and being a kid. If only all of the shoes fit us mamas, I might never leave! But honestly, what better Mother’s Day treat than to simply spend a couple of hours making your little girl happy and giving her some special attention?
Parenting research has promoted the benefits of imaginative play to enhance a child’s capacity for cognitive and social development, as well as teaching self-regulation and self-esteem. This is a wonderful opportunity for your little girl to learn, grow, and best of all have fun!
I will never forget the smile of wonder and delight on my daughter’s face the first time we walked into this magical fairyland. If you decide to visit this special and unique spot, I’m confident that you too will cherish this precious memory for years to come.
Have you visited My Secret Garden for an event? Tell us about your favorite activity or theme in the comments section.