Originally published in 2017, story has been updated to reflect current dates and information.
If you’re looking for an exciting day of fun that every member of your family can enjoy, then head to Arlington Park on the designated Sundays for their fantastic Family Days at Arlington Park! If a lovely picnic on the lawn watching the horses race sounds like a perfect day for you, then read on for our top five tips for a fabulous day of fun.
1. Plan ahead
If you purchase your tickets ahead of time, you will save $2 per person (so it will cost $8 for adults and $4 for kids ages 4-17), and you will zip right through the admission line. Seating options are incredibly varied and more amenities cost more money. Seats on the grassy lawn or benches are free, but if you would like a picnic table (with or without an umbrella, prices range from $19-26) you should pay for it ahead of time since they go quickly.
2. Pack ahead
If you want to eat at the park, we suggest bringing your own food in. Patrons are able to bring in “homemade” food (not packaged or fast food) for $5 per cooler. Non-alcoholic drinks are also permissible (which is great since water is $4.75 per bottle). Strollers, blankets, and lawn chairs may also be brought in, which we highly suggest.
3. Dress for the weather
Since much of the seating area is uncovered (unless you pay for a covered grandstand seat or canopy table) come dressed for the weather. Dress in layers, bring jackets, hats, and sunscreen, and wear comfortable shoes as there is a substantial amount of walking. We recommend utilizing the Guest Drop-off area for your kids and coolers to cut down on walking. Then the driver can take advantage of the free shuttle that picks up from Ditka’s restaurant near the overflow lot. It might also be a good idea to dress your kids in bright colors since the walkways are very crowded and little ones can easily get separated.
4. Say Hi to the horses
After each race, you can patiently make your way down to the winner’s circle to greet the jockeys and give the horses a pat. Lucky kids might even be given a pair of the jockey’s goggles!
5. Visit on a Family Day
On the last Sunday of the month, from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., the park pulls out all the stops with a themed Family Day. Included in the cost of your child’s admission is a live children’s concert, roving magicians, crafts, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, and pint-sized amusement rides. This area can be accessed early for an additional $5, but we found that arriving right at 1:00 p.m. still provided small lines without the extra cost.
2019 Family Day Sunday Schedule
- May 26 – Underwater Utopia Family Day
- June 20– Renaissance Faire Family Day
- July 28 – Outer Space Family Day
- August 25 – Super Safari Quest Family Day
Whether horse racing is your thing or just something you’ve always wanted to experience, the excitement of a horse race is invigorating. As the horses round the track and the crowd begins to cheer, you can’t help but be swept up in the fervor. Use our simple tips to make your FAMtastic day at the park even better!
Do you have any tips to add to our list?