Two thumbs up for indoor bathrooms! Woo hoo! You know we all have that one thing that makes a park special. Don’t tell me you don’t. For me, it’s indoor plumbing – at a playground! Seriously, take a drive down North Main Street in Wauconda and check out Cook Park.
Regardless of what your thing is, Cook Park is a winner. In addition to real bathrooms, Cook Park has a HUGE play structure for big kids and a not-so-huge structure for the littles of Lake County. Now that my youngest is 9, I can tell whether a play structure will work for him based on how long he plays before attempting to circumnavigate the set. I can happily report, he played for at least 30 minutes before attempting to climb to the top of the tower or cross the outer bars of the boardwalk. And that’s saying something!
Cook Park, Wauconda
While big kids would probably love a rousing game of “Woodchips,” the kids were playing Zombie Tag the day of our visit. The viewing towers and bridges were perfect for warding off surprise zombie attacks, and the four huge slides made for easy getaways. Because the younger park-goers were happily playing “Frozen” on the smaller set, I was able to watch the apocalypse from a distance without having to follow my child around, constantly hissing at him to “Watch out for little kids!” Somehow the zombies still won, though, and most of the players had their brains sucked out.
So, for sure, Cook Park will keep a child in single digits entertained. But what about tweens – or even — *gasp* TEENS who find themselves trapped at the park because mom promised to take them to the mall afterward and – finally – get that new pair of shoes she’s been talking about since April (hypothetically)? The other park amenities I look for as my kids have gotten older are soccer fields or baseball diamonds. Cook Park has both. Since my teen and tween enjoy games involving more strategy than Zombie Tag (as if), I always sometimes often try to remember to keep some bats and balls in the car so they can practice their sport while my little guy plays.
The playground also boasts several large swings, which were even big enough for mom. The ground was mulch-covered, so for sure not the place to wear flip-flops or go barefoot, but there was plenty of grassy space to lay out a blanket and camp with your stroller, throw out some toddler toys, nurse a wee one – or whatever. Other amenities include a bocce ball court, shuffleboard court, 1-mile walking path, canoe-kayak launch area, nature boardwalk, horseshoe pits, accessible fishing pier, sand volleyball court, and a skate park.
Cook Park has a large covered gazebo with plenty of picnic tables for families to spread out and enjoy a meal together. Cowering from the summer sun is way more pleasant when you aren’t sitting on another family. And it’s convenient to have a little space when my tween gives me attitude, and the mom-speak I was using with the absolutely adorable 3-year-old girls in matching hats and sundresses sitting nearby turns into the slightly deranged voice of a prison warden . . . ‘Cause that’s when I sound a little crazy — just saying.
In general, it seems to me that a family could easily spend a few hours relaxing at Cook Park without anyone getting bored, or complaining about someone else touching them, or wanting to play video games — even if the zombies do suck their brains out.
600 North Main Street, Wauconda
Maintained by the Wauconda Park District