Tucked away down a hill from one of the busiest intersections in Antioch is Pedersen Park. The quiet, sprawling waterfront park and playground sits under massive old cottonwood tress on a long peninsula surrounded by wetlands and channels. The 8.6-acre, open green space, walking path, and panoramic views of the Chain O’ Lakes marsh make Pedersen Park a unique playground to visit with kids that’s enjoyable for all ages.
The playground at Pedersen Park features a tot slide, big-kid slide, lots of climbing bars, two traditional swings and two bucket swings. While the equipment is fairly standard, the beautiful setting and open space in which to run around and play makes the park a great destination for both kids of all ages and adults.
In addition to the playground, the park also has soccer nets and a picnic pavilion with one grill and tables. The park is a great destination for gatherings. The only drawback is that there isn’t a regular bathroom facility, just a porta potty. Pedersen Park is a great place to watch a sunset, too. Grab dinner or ice cream in town and head to the park to enjoy the show. The shaded park is also a good place to beat the heat in the summer. The shade from old trees keeps the ground cool, and there is often a nice breeze coming in off of the water.
The stand-out features of Pedersen Park are the view and water access. From the entrance off of Route 173 you have a seemingly endless vista over marshes, channels, and Lake Marie in the distance. Once in the park, there are minimally-maintained walking trails along the channel, and a few little access points where kids can look into the water or fish. My kids love these paths because they allow them to feel like they’re actually forging the trail ahead and exploring on their own. The grassy trails here are the perfect place to let nature-loving kids explore. The paths are mowed, but not well-traveled or marked. Your family will have a real sense of wandering here, as opposed to the paved trails we usually see in most forest preserves. If you plan to visit the shoreline or walk the perimeter of the park, I would suggest wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy and that offer a little protection. This isn’t the place for flip flops!
If you’re a kayaking family, you can drop into the channels on the north side of the parking lot. There isn’t a ramp, but the well worn shore here is the perfect place to ease the kayak into the water. You’re free to meander in and out of the cattails and channels, and if you’re up for a long paddle, you can make your way out to the Chain’s main bodies of water.
Pedersen Park680 Il. Route 173, Antioch | (847) 395-2160
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