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Entries in go west guide (10)


The Go West Spring Break Survival Guide

It seems like nearly every school district in the Chicagoland area has its spring break starting next Monday, March 25. If you're not heading to the beach, Disneyworld, Mexico, or on the road to visit family ... well, we have some ideas for how your family can make your "staycation" an enjoyable one -- and inexpensive, too! 

Keep the kids active: If this chilly weather continues, that likely means making the most of the indoors. So check out the Go West Indoor Play Guide for a multitude of options. Nearly all of the professional gymnastics facilities offer a few open gyms a week. During the week of March 25, the gym at the Pottawatomie Community Center in St. Charles will offer its "Preschool Playtime" on Monday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (That's a cheap option; only $3 for up to two hours of play time.) My preschooler is a big fan of both Kids Town and Little Monkey Bizness in Wheaton.  

Photo by John-Morgan on Flickr.

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Winter Guide 2013: Mother-Son Events in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Last month I brought you a guide to Father/Daughter Dances in the western suburbs. Some park districts offer similar events for boys and their moms (or grandmas or aunts) -- although certainly not as many. Boo! That seems unfair. 

Well, here are the ones we could find this winter, along with a bit of info about the event in Batavia, usually held in the fall. Know of some we've missed? Please note it in the comments section!

Photo by slgckgc on Flickr.ST. CHARLES: The St. Charles Park District is hosting a "Mom/Son Date Night" this Friday, Feb. 8, from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Pottawatomie Community Center. The night will feature entertainment, dancing, game, food and more. A special memento of the evening is included. This event is aimed at boys ages 3 and older, along with their mothers. The cost is $12 per person for residents and $18 per person for non-residents. Click here for more info or call 630-513-6200.

GENEVA: The Geneva Park District is sponsoring a "Mom & Son Night" on Saturday, March 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Geneva High School. You'll be able to dance, enjoy snacks and activities in between songs as well as check out the entertainment by Side Swipe Extreme Martial Arts. The cost is $10 per person for residents, or $15 per person for non-residents. For more info, click here, call 630-232-4542 or download the recreation guide at genevaparks.org.

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Independence Day Celebrations Around Chicago's Western Suburbs

Independence Day is on a Wednesday this year, so I figured that holiday celebrations would be spread out over the weekend before and into July 4 itself. Turns out I was nearly totally wrong. You'll have to make some tough choices for how to spend July 4, but there are a couple of options the weekend ahead and weekend after, too.

Photo by Amani Hasan on Flickr.AURORA: The city of Aurora features an Independence Day parade on Wednesday, July 4, that will step off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Benton and River Streets. It will march east to Broadway, north to Galena, west to Hoyt, south to Downer and conclude heading west to Middle Avenue. The evening celebrations resolve around the Illinois Math & Science Academy at 1500 W. Sullivan Road. There will be local food vendors from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m., free inflatable rides for children from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and activities and games from the Aurora Historical Society from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Three different bands will perform: The Bradley Keven Green Band at 5:30 p.m., the American Legion Post 84 Band at 6:30 p.m. and the Captains of Industry at 8 p.m. The fireworks will get underway at 9:30 p.m. Check this site for a list of addresses where free shuttle buses will pick you up for delivery to the IMSA campus.

BATAVIA: The Batavia "Sky Concert" is scheduled for 9:30 p..m. Wednesday, July 4. The audience is invited to watch the show from Enstrom Park at the corner of Main and Millview streets, or from the Batavia High School athletic fields on West Main Street. The park opens at 5 pm. with food vendors; at 7 p.m. the band Automatic Fixx will perform.

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Summer Guide 2012: The GWYM Sand Pail List (AKA 64 Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer)

Photo by downing.amanda on Flickr.A lot of us will be staying close to home the majority, if not all, of the summer. But luckily there’s plenty of fun to be had in Chicago’s western suburbs, much of it inexpensive or even free! Thanks to all the Go West readers who made suggestions for this list.

The list below is available here to download so you can print it and hang it on your bulletin board for those days when you need some inspiration. Alternately, cut out the items, throw them in a container and pick one out when you are looking for something to do. (Some items take more planning, or are tied to specific days of the week, so you might want to remove those from your bucket).



  1. Dance and picnic outside while listening to a band play in a park. (Free)
  2. Cruise the Fox River on a paddlewheel riverboat, boarding at Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles.
  3. Sign up for the Passport to Adventure program. Visit local museums and collect stamps for your “passport.”
  4. Sign up for your library’s reading program. (Free)
  5. Head to a nearby suburb and check out a new park. Use the “Great Parks!” series for suggestions, or just drive around until you see one that looks intriguigng. (Free)

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Summer Guide 2012: Spraygrounds & Splash Parks in Chicago's Western Suburbs

If you're looking to cool off your kids, but don't want the commitment or expense of a public pool, there are a number of splash parks, spraygrounds and splash pads in Chicago's western suburbs.

Photo by Tara Burghart.Some of the below splash parks are in suburbs that aren't exactly west, but came recommended by readers! If you have more suggestions to add, please do so in the comments section. And finally, thank you to all the readers who helped compile this list via their answers to a Facebook posting; it's much more vibrant because of your contributions.

Otter Cove Splash Park

  • 3615 Campton Hills Road in St. Charles
  • Hours: Through Aug. 10, the splash park is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check the website for hours later in the season.
  • Admission:  $6 for non-residents ages 1 and up. Ages 1 and under, adults and those over 16 are free with a paid child's admission for the splash park only.
  • Notes: This is the cadillac of splash parks. It has three large splash pads, and one section that's a huge sandbox. This is part of the larger Otter Cove Aquatic Park -- which has several pools, a lazy river and slides -- but you can get admission just to visit the splash park if you like. Read Go West's review of the splash park here and of the entire complex here.

Phillips Park Splash Pad

  • 1000 Ray Moses Drive in Aurora
  • Hours: Open the same season as the nearby Phillips Park Aquatic Center
  • Admission: Free
  • Notes: This is a small splash pad located in front of the Phillips Park Visitors Center. Read a Go West review about the Phillips Park Zoo and park here

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