Grayslake is known for its cute Downtown area, with locally-owned shops, eateries and its well-loved Farmers Market that’s open in the Spring through Fall seasons. But the centerpiece of Grayslake is it’s 66-acre Central Park located in the heart of town at 400 North Lake Street.
The park is home to the popular (and free) Grayslake Splash Park, along with 4 baseball fields, football and soccer fields, a 1+ mile bike path that loops the park, a bandshell for outdoor performances, preserved woodlands, Frisbee golf, horseshoes, shuffle board/bocce ball court, a fishing pier, three (3) picnic shelters and (two) 2 playgrounds. On this campus is also the Grayslake Middle School, Grayslake Area Public Library, the Daniel Barry Memorial Skate Park, and the Esper A. Petersen Foundation Family Aquatic Center, marking the area as a true hub of local activity.
While the playground near the spray park is always a busy and popular place, the playground at the Lake Street entrance on the west side of Central Park has recently received an impressive facelift. The updated playground was unveiled just in time for the 17th Annual Family Picnic & Fireworks on June 28, 2014. My family and I had a grand old time christening all the brand new equipment.
The central focus of the new playground is one large play structure with two outlook towers from which descend three different slides. There’s plenty of ways to climb up from stairs, ladders, and rock climbing walls.
My kids like crossing the zig-zag beam with rope supports (pictured below) to reach the cargo net climber on the other side. They pretend to play “American Ninja Warrior” and imagine the ground is a tank filled with alligators! They also like to take turns on the corkscrew spinner (also pictured below.) While the structure reads that it’s meant for children ages 5 and up, my 3-year old enjoyed it and I felt she was perfectly safe. The only thing she couldn’t do was she was still too short to reach the monkey bars or any of the other hanging apparatus on the structure.
Another interesting feature is what we call the globe spinner (pictured below.) It can fit one child standing inside with multiple others hanging or sitting on the cage. I like it so much better than those “mushroom cap” spinning seats you see elsewhere, which my kids seem to always manage flinging themselves off of.
Port-a-John’s are nearby and maintained by local sports organizations; however, a 5-minute walk down the paved bike path will lead you to the restroom facilities located near the Spray Park which is open seasonally or the restrooms at the Grayslake Area Public Library which are open during normal business hours.
Best place to park during the weekends is across the street in the Hillside Municipal Parking Lot across from Grayslake Central High School at the corner of N. Lake Street and Hillside Avenue. You can then cross at the lighted crosswalk to enter the park from the west and access the playground. During the week, it is a paid lot so to park for free use the parking lot across from the Aquatic Center and walk over. The spray park, restrooms, and another playground are located near the Aquatic Center lot, but to reach the new playground take the 5-minute walk west down the bike path.
The Central Park – West Side (Lake Street) Playground’s brand-spanking-new equipment is just one reason we have selected it as Tour Stop #2 of our Little Lake County Playground Tour 2014 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Event registration is NOW OPEN through Eventbrite. Register for FREE to attend.
Central Park – West Side Playground at Lake Street 400 North Lake Street, Grayslake (across from Grayslake Central High School)
Amenities: Climbing structure withe three (3) slides, swings including two (2) infant bucket swings, rock climbing wall, cargo net climber, globe spinner, benches, nearby picnic tables
Shade: Full to moderate, many mature trees
Restrooms: No. Port-a-john’s nearby with restrooms available on the other side of the park (approx. 5 min. walk)
Ground cover: Wood chips
Good for: All ages. Play structure specifies Kindergarten thru 5th grade.