As the weather starts to heat up ( at last), and school sessions come to an end, our minds start wondering what we can do for Summer fun with the family. Of course we can go to crowded beaches or pools, on days when the air is hot and sticky, but real family activity is what we yearn for. Baseball games are fun ( but kind of expensive) unless you take in a minor league game ( we now have a Cubs team in Kane County), but amusement parks are one of our favorites- Most of the Kiddie-land types are gone and while Great America is one of the best parks in the country, the little ones do not get their monies worth and grandma and grandpa are most likely not going on any of the rides. So let us be thankful that Santa’s Village IS BACK! Yes, the same location in East Dundee has reopened ( last season was the first) and is now called Santa’s Village Azoosment Park. This is a park geared for the younger kids with over 18 rides, including a new “Wildcat Roller Coaster” a bumper car roller coaster, lots of shows, again for the family, plenty of eats, FREE parking and an admission price that is “family Friendly” including some discounts- check out www.santasvillagedundee.com. Don’t forget the zoo and the birthday party specials and from time to time, your favorite December visitor will make an appearance.
As you are heading out west to East Dundee, you might just want to go a little further pardner and if you head out to Union Illinois, you will find Donley’s “Wild West Town”, a family owned business that has been entertaining families since 1974. Here you can return to the “thrilling days of yesteryear”, where men were kids and kids were as well. Just think- see a cowboy show, visit a petting zoo, enjoy a roller coaster ride, or drive the hand cars, take a pony ride, go panning for gold or enjoy a wild west train ride plus much more, all for $16 per person and kids under two, just come along for the ride and fun.There is also an on premise restaurant/saloon to whet your whistle or “grub down” and plenty of free parking. They are open all summer , everyday and weekends only from August 24th through October 27th. For more info and to watch videos, visit www.wildwesttown.com
Closer to the city, in fact, on Lake Michigan at Navy Pier, for the 12th year, Cirque Shanghai takes its residence at the Pepsi Skyline stage right next to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre ( which by the way has some summer family entertainment as well with their annual family musical. Visit www.chicagoshakes.org. Cirque Shanghai is a true spectacle for audiences of all ages and there is no language barrier as what we see is what we get- dynamic performers who are leaders in their crafts- juggling,balancing as well as many other feats. Back from last year , te exciting “Wheel of Destiny” where FIVE motorcycles are driven at break-neck speeds in a metal globe. I can tell you that all of my grandkids were in awe over this act, In fact, Cooper, who was five at the time, did not blink during the entire event- mind blowing, to say the least. This year, the Chinese Dragon Drums will be a part of the 75 minutes of pure magnetic fun and there is even more. They will be at navy Pier through Labor Day ( Sept 4th) with several shows per day ( Wednesday and Saturday 8 p.m. shows end to the flurry of the Navy Pier fireworks making the day even more memorable. For more info, visit www.navypier.com/cirqueshanghai. Take a look at some of the other Summer Fun at the Pier while you are there.
Of course there are art fairs and park festivals all over the city and the suburbs. These are just some of the special ones that as a parent/grandparent, I am suggesting as affordable fun for the entire family. I hope you will take some time to let me know about your experiences. have a wonderful summer in our beautiful city!