Unfortunately, summer is halfway over. But that also means you and your family still have about six weeks left to check out the amazing public pools, splash pads, beaches and aquatic parks in the far western ‘burbs.
To perhaps inspire you to try a new a spot, we present the first annual ‘Go West Pooley Awards.’ But we’d love to hear from you: What’s your favorite water hole, and what makes it great?
Best Tot Slide: The shipwreck-themed slide at Wing Park Family Aquatic Center in Elgin. The slide features coconut trees that spray water; there’s even a piece at the end that bobs a bit, like you’re walking the plank!
Best Place to Get a Burger: Aquatic Park in Montgomery, part of the Oswegoland Park District. The concession stand at this pool is called the Backyard Grill and it lives up to its name. Burgers and hotdogs are actually grilled to order!
Best Waterfall: The one located on the “island” at the Turtle Splash Water Park in West Chicago.
Best Water Play Area: Aurora’s Splash Country Water Park has an enclosed area with something similar to what you’d find on a playground, except it has waterfalls, spray guns, sprinklers and more. And the water pressure is .. well, let’s say it’s a lot more powerful than letting your kids play with your backyard hose!
Best Place for Feeling Like You’re in a John Mellencamp Song: Harold Hall Quarry Beach in Batavia. I love the quarry and I like Mellencamp, so this is a compliment. What a unique spot.
Best Twilight Swim: Swanson Pool, in St. Charles’ Pottawatomie Park, has a weekday twilight swim that lasts from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Aug. 14. It costs just $3 per person, whether you’re a resident or not. The pool is nearly 75 years old, but it underwent a beautiful renovation this year. There’s something about being in this historic setting, floating in the twilight with my daughter, that’s been one of my favorite summer experiences two years in a row.