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Entries in summer (42)


Family Movies for Free (Well, Nearly) in St. Charles This Summer

A number of movie chains host series featuring free, or nearly free, children's movies in the summer. 

One of those is Classic Cinemas, which recently released the lineup for its "Wednesday Morning Movie Series." Each Wednesday morning from June 13 through Aug. 8, Classic Cinemas will show a family-friendly film (rated G or PG) with admission of $1 per person.

The show time is 10 a.m. but the doors open at 9 a.m. and you're encouraged to come early to meet costumed characters and participate in games and fun activities. 

Classic Cinemas will take reservations for groups of 15 or more (the series is popular with summer camps and daycare programs), and the group rate of $4.75 per person includes admission, a Kiddie Combo and reserved seating.

Classic Cinemas has theaters all over northern Illinois, including the Charlestowne 18 Theatre at Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles. Other Classic Cinemas participating include those in Carpentersville, Elk Grove Village, Fox Lake, Oak Park, Freeport, North Riverside, Naperville, Kankakee, Downers Grove, Woodstock and Elmhurst.

Without further ado, here's the lineup and a brief description from Classic Cinemas about the film:

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The Go West Summer Camp Guide: 2012 Edition

I'm very happy to debut the Go West Summer Camp Guide - 2012 Edition! 

This guide will be updated throughout the spring, so please check back regularly. This guide will have a permanent home under "Good Times" as well as in the left sidebar on the home page, next to the Indoor Play Guide, Go Guide, etc.

If you know of a camp or a Vacation Bible School that should be listed but is missing, please send the info (or even just a tip) to editor@gowestyoungmom.com. If your organization is interested in an expanded, featured listing, which includes premium placement, please also contact editor@gowestyoungmom.com.

Also, I hope you'll join me in thanking two organizations that are helping make the Go West Summer Camp Guide possible. 

Bright Horizons is the world's leading provider of employer-sponsored childcare, back-up care, early education and work/life solutions. It has a number of centers located around the Chicago area, including Elgin, Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Schaumburg, Oak Brook, Arlington Heights and many more. Bright Horizons also offers summer camps. "Our World Our Backyard" is designed for preschool-age children, in which preschool environments are transformed into distinctive summer spaces. "Camp Explorations X-treme Summer" is for school-aged children and includes a focus on fitness and technology. You can learn more about Bright Horizons' Summer Camps here.

Waubonsee Community College is a longtime sponsor of Go West Young Mom, and it offers summer camps at its campuses in Aurora, Plano and Sugar Grove, as well as West Aurora High School and the Kendall County Outdoor Education Center in Yorkville. The "Xcelerate Enrichment Camps" focus on such topics as LEGO Robotics, science, computers, movie making, fashion design, cooking, rock music and secret agents. Waubonsee also has camps just for preschoolers, too. You can learn more about Waubonsee's summer camp options here.

So thanks to the support of Bright Horizons and Waubonsee, I'm sure you'll find some wonderful camps to help make sure your children have a happy, safe, exciting and enriching summer.


Summer Camps in Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia

Summer Camps in the Greater Aurora Area, including Oswego and Montgomery

Summer Camps in the Greater Elgin Area

Summer Camps in the Wheaton and West Chicago Areas



Review: Otter Cove Aquatic Park in St. Charles

Last spring Go West Young Mom brought you a sneak peek of Otter Cove Aquatic Park in St. Charles. If you haven’t visited yet this summer, this review will help you decide if you want to squeeze in a trip to the area’s newest pool complex before Labor Day.

Looking out toward the activity pool and slides. Photo by Tara Burghart.NAME: Otter Cove Aquatic Park in St. Charles, part of the St. Charles Park District.

LOCATION: In James O. Been Community Park on the corner of Peck Roads and Campton Hills Roads in St. Charles, about 2 1/2 miles west of downtown St. Charles.

AMENITIES: A completely fenced-in, zero-depth-entry toddler pool; a zero-depth-entry “activity pool” for general use; a deep pool with diving boards, lap lanes and drop slides; a zero-depth-entry lazy river; a body slide and a raft slide; access to thee splash park; concession stand; family restrooms; lift chairs for swimmers with special needs.

HOURS: Through Aug. 14, the pool is open weekdays from noon to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For Aug. 15 through Aug. 23, the pool is open weekdays from noon to 6:30 p.m. and on weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. From Aug. 24 through Sept. 4, the pool is open weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and weekdays from noon to 6:30 p.m.  On Labor Day, it will be open from noon to 7 p.m. for the last day of the 2011 season. Click here for more info on hours.

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Weekend Spotlight: Dime Day at Swanson Pool in St. Charles

I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve seen a lot of pools these last two summers. One of my favorites is Swanson Pool in Pottawatomie Park along the Fox River in St. Charles.

I don't have a good photo of Swanson Pool, so this dime will have to do. Photo by mikedemers on Flickr.And this Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., you can check it out for just a dime.

Dime Day” is the part of the St. Charles Park District’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. It was also conceived as a way to mark the renovation of Swanson Pool, which first opened in 1938. It was constructed during the Great Depression with the help of a $367,000 grant from the Works Progress Administration.

Now I’m sure that “Dime Day” has the potential to be quite a zoo tomorrow.

But if you get a chance, try to make it to Swanson Pool this summer. I loved it last year, but this year it’s even better after massive renovations that turned the large “activity pool” into one with zero-depth entry. Family rest rooms were added, the concession stand was remodeled and another pool was returned to its original 1938 dimensions of 50 meters – a size rare to find nowadays. In the shallow end of the activity pool, you’ll find various water play features to keep the young kids happy, and out of the water, a sand play area. There are also a couple diving boards, a couple drop slides, two waterslides, lap lanes and a “lily pad” in which tweens and teens (and adventurous adults) can try to hop across the water holding onto a rope for support.

The renovations made it modern and up to date, but Swanson Pool still retains a sense of history and charm. While splashing in the pool, massive, beautiful old trees from Pottawatomie Park can be seen overhead, and the pool’s buildings are constructed of limestone from local quarries.

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Go West Preview: Let's Go to the Illinois State Fair!

I love State Fairs so much that I’ve thought about traveling around the country to compile a coffee table book about them. Still, I think I can be trusted when I say that the Illinois State Fair – in my hometown of Springfield – is a really good time, even if you’re not nutty for fairs like I am.

If you want to extend your trip a bit, check out our guide to a family-friendly Springfield getaway.


A clown at the 2010 State Fair. Photo by myoldpostcards on Flickr.The fair this year runs from Friday, Aug. 12 through Aug. 21, at the fairgrounds on the north side of Springfield. Once you plan what days you want to visit, my first suggestion is to take a detailed look at the schedule of events that day and also to surf around the State Fair’s website, especially the tabs called “Rides & Attractions” and “Concerts & Entertainment.” I think if you were a newbie at the Illinois State Fair, it would be easy to wander the grounds and determine after a couple of hours that there wasn’t much to do. Au contraire! There are all sorts of fun shows and exhibits to watch, but you have to be at the right place at the right time.

If you think your kids would enjoy the High Dive Show (it’s a fair classic) make sure to be in the Central Avenue area about 30 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. That way, you can browse a bit, maybe get a snack or drink before snagging a seat. If you’ll be disappointed to miss the sheep shearing contest, the baton twiling contest, or the ponytail contest, you can plan your day around getting to those locations in time to see all the action.

And don’t worry: This isn’t Disney World. It doesn’t take that long to get from one end of the fair to another, but planning ahead -- and enjoying the fair in zones before moving onto the next area -- will make for a happier family.

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