The best of both world for kids: a playground and a splash pad! Today the kiddos and I ventured out to Waukegan Sports Park Splash Pad and Playground—a huge facility with tons of fields for soccer, football, baseball, and softball. We thought we were just going to a splash pad but discovered there’s also a playground!
But first, some tricks on getting there. Probably due to an outdated navigation system in my van, I was unable to enter the exact address in, so I put in a dummy address. Unfortunately, part of Beach Road is split, due to Waukegan National Airport. We ended up on the wrong half of Beach Road. Look at a map before you go! The park is just WEST of the airport.
When you turn into the sports park, you’ll want to drive almost to the end of the path. Once you get to a point where you would need to circle around a building, look to your left. You should see the colorful splash pad and playground.
There is a lot of parking; however, if you go at night or on a weekend, it may be crowded. (We went both on a weekday morning and a scorchingly hot weekday afternoon, and it wasn’t crowded at all.) Note: on weekends and during special events, there is a $5 parking fee.
Because you turn on the sprinklers yourself, you can go to the splash pad whenever the park is open (there is a gate at the entrance of the sports park itself). Although there isn’t a set open and close time, the gate usually opens around 5:00 a.m. and can close as late at 10:00 p.m. if there is a game. (Otherwise, it closes at 4:00 p.m.)
If you plan to have the kids do both the playground and the splash pad (even if you don’t plan to, they will want to do both), pack good playground climbing shoes, a swimsuit, flip flops, a towel, and possibly a change of clothes. Oh, and of course a snack. Definitely attempt to do the playground first; otherwise the kids can end up muddy and covered in wood chips.
The playground had a lot to do: slides, various climbing walls, swings (regular and infant), and a zip line. My kids were busy for quite a while. I will warn you: there is not a lot of shade. There is a small strip where the restrooms are, but I believe it’s at a premium on hot, sunny days. Speaking of restrooms, there are some available; however, they’re only open during games. If you see a groundskeeper, you can ask if they would unlock them, if needed.
After working up a sweat on the playground, walk over to the splash pad. If the water’s not already on, there are two switches the kids can hit to turn the sprinklers on. Although it wasn’t super extensive, water shoots up from the ground, from the sides of various poles, and off the top of the poles. I even got my feet wet without having to wear a swimsuit.
As we were leaving, I noticed a pop (soda to some of you) vending machine in front of fields 3 and 4. There was also a concession booth that I assume is open during games near the Championship Field. I would suggest bringing snacks (if you have kids, you already know that!), though, as we ended up hanging out here a lot longer than I had planned.
We had a blast at Waukegan Sports Park. Enjoy this hidden treasure!
Waukegan Sports Park
3391 W. Beach Rd (off Greenbay), Waukegan
What do you like best about Waukegan Sports Park?
This is a great park near my house. You can’t get to it on weekends when there are sporting events unless you want to pay a parking fee to get in. Sometimes the Park District locks the gate and you can’t get in at all. You never know when it will be open.
The year it first opened (3+ years ago) we were so excited and enjoyed one very hot visit but it was eary due to virtually no one being there. After multiple frustrating lock gate trips I called the park district to get hours and info and got horrible angry. I was told when it’s open your welcome to use it but they don’t have times or unlock the bathroom. It was primarily designed to be used as a rental facility and the play/spray ground as a park for people there for those events. We’ve never gone back w the exception of soccer games. I do “understand” as parks in Waukegan can really take a beating and this place has amazing sports facilities and features.
When and if they het time the later phases with the 2nd play area by the road for public use it will be awsome!
Update. We finally went back again it had been years and reading this review gave me courage. We had a great time. Multiple TOTS where there playing at the splash pad.
Note just bring clothes to get wet… or plan to have restraint or revolt 🙂