Stay up Late! Nighttime Activities for Kids in Lake County

LateNight

Just because the sun goes down, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop for your littles! Summer time nights are when the real magic of summer happens. From late night swims and outdoor concerts to nature after dark programs, Lake County offers a lot to keep your summer nights just as fun as the days. So get out your bug spray, skip that early bedtime and go have some fun this summer.

McHenry Drive in movie theater. ©G. O'Keefe | Little Lake County.com
McHenry Drive in movie theater.©G. O’Keefe | Little Lake County.com

Outdoor Movie

Catch a movie in the park in Lake County this summer.  Starting in June many towns, pools and lakes play movies after dark. Most of the movies are free.  Plan on getting to the events around 7:00 p.m. so you can find a spot to put your blanket and lather on some bug spray.  Check out Melissa’s list of where you can catch these movies.  Another favorite for catching an outdoor movie this summer is the McHenry Outdoor Theater.  They have showtimes most nights and are usually new releases. In the fall they play classic movies. Check out Shelby’s review.

Eating Ice Cream at Dairy Dream
Eating ice cream at Dairy Dream ©T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com

Late Night Ice Cream

Go out for ice cream after dinner (or why not have ice cream for dinner instead?). Most ice cream places around here are open until 10:00 p.m. so you can go whenever you want. My favorite is Tastee- Freez in Grayslake, but check out our listing of the fan favorites in the area.

Many pools like Barefoot Bay have special night swims during the summer. Photo credit to https://www.facebook.com/BarefootBayAquatics
Photo credit to Barefoot Bay on Facebook

Night Swims

Get your splash on after the sun goes down. During select nights some pools stay open late allowing water lovers to splash in the dark. For example, the Antioch Aqua Center keeps the pool open until 9:30 p.m. most Wednesdays. In addition, some pools such as the Hidden Creek Aqua Park  and Mitchell Pool have events at night where you can watch movies while in the pool.

Enjoy an outdoor concert this summer such as this one on the Waukegan Lakefront. Photo credit to https://www.facebook.com/WAUKSummerSAT/timeline.
Enjoy an outdoor concert this summer such as this one on the Waukegan Lakefront.. Photo Credit Summer Saturday Concert Series on Facebook

Twilight Concerts

Enjoy sweet summer nights with some music and a sunset. There are many places in Lake County to listen to one of these evening concerts. Many of them are free and all you have to do is bring your blanket and some food. Check out your town to see when their summer concert’s are : Antioch, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Gurnee, Hawthorn Woods,Lake Bluff, Lake Forest,  Lindenhurst,Mundelein,  Wauconda,  Waukegan, Vernon Hills, and Zion.

Other options for twilight concerts include shows at Ravinia  which has concerts available on a variety of times and days. Ravinia charges per person; however, many classical concerts this year are not charging admission for kids.

My personal favorite summer concert venue is Independence Grove. Independence Grove has concerts every Tuesday and each car is charged only $6. I have gone every week this summer (and really want to try their alcoholic snowcones!)

Cruise Nights are fun for the whole family. Check out one like Motors on Milwaukee in Vernon Hills. Photo credit to the Village of Vernon Hills.
Cruise Nights are fun for the whole family. Check out one like Motors on Milwaukee in Vernon Hills. Photo credit to the Village of Vernon Hills.

Summer Cruise Nights

At Summer Cruise Nights, enjoy walking around and admiring a grand array of fun cars. These are events the whole family will enjoy from your 80-year-old grandfather to your teenage brother to your two year old. Most car nights are free but have food and drinks available for purchase. Check out when your town hosts one:Barrington, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Mundelein, Wauconda, Vernon Hills .

You can go Stargazing at home, the park, or even attend a stargazing event at the Volo Bog. Photo credit to the Lake County Astronomical Society facebook page.
You can go stargazing at home, the park or even attend a stargazing event at the Volo Bog. Photo credit to the Lake County Astronomical Society facebook page.

Stargazing

Summer nights are perfect times to scope out some stars. This can be done from your own backyard. Grab a telescope and binoculars and talk with the kids about stars. My son now knows all about the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper thanks to this!  Want to learn more?  The Volo Bog has free astronomy nights at 9:30 p.m. the third Friday of every month where you can view and learn more about stars. Also check out your local library, the Lake County Astronomical Society hosts a monthly stargazing night at different libraries, some even rent out how powered scopes!

Many towns like Grayslake have farmers markets in the evening. Photo credit to https://www.facebook.com/GrayslakeFarmersMarket/timeline
Many towns like Grayslake have farmers markets in the evening. Photo credit Grayslake Farmers Market

Farmers Markets

More and more farmers markets are staying open later giving more time for working families to attend. Some markets like as Hawthorn Woods and Highwood are open until as late as 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. .  Check out our listing to see which other ones are open late.

Great America is open until 10:00pm most nights. © T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2015
Great America is open until 10:00pm most nights. © T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2015

 

Great America

Great America is the perfect place to go in the evening with the whole family. They are open until 10:00 p.m. most nights and have a firework show every Friday night. The best part is they will hopefully fall asleep during the car ride home.  Check out our kid’s guide to Great America!

Story time at Cook Library on a weekday night. Photo Credit to Cook Library Facebook Page.
Story time at Cook Library on a weekday night. Photo Credit to Cook Library Facebook Page.

Pajama Story Time

Bedtime stories in bed are over rated. Check one out at a library or bookstore near you.  Places like Cook Library  and Deer Park Barnes & Noble host them regularly and you’re welcome to drop in for some stories in your pajamas.

For what will you be skipping bedtime this summer?? 

 

 

Dance academy of Libertyville
About Tracy Rubel 83 Articles
Tracy dreams of someday being considered a “cool” mom and she can still remember the days when she had time to put on makeup in the morning. She is a young, single, stay-at-home mom to an awesome little boy named Jayden. She recently graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has lived in various parts of Lake County her whole life. Every day, she and her son set off in her Jeep, rocking a pair of oversized sunglasses, in search of a new and exciting adventure to go on. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading, dancing, yoga, shopping, and pinning kid’s activities on Pinterest. She truly believes that if she was given enough Starbucks that she could rule the world.

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