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Families across the Chicagoland area are looking to fill their calendar with winter fun for all ages. With lots of places still closed due to covid, there are only so many fun places for the whole family, safe, and still open!
Hoping to include a few winter classics in their schedules, the western suburbs’ residents (and the rest of Chicagoland!) have more options than they know. Here is our guide to the best places for families in the western suburbs.
With many of the other local zoos closed, Cosley Zoo has remained open through the winter to bring you the classic delights of strolling through a zoo all bundled up and seeing what animals like the cold weather too. With precautions in place, Cosley Zoo is ready for visitors all winter; just make sure to reserve your tickets online first! They’re open various times throughout the week, and the pricing is listed as follows on their website:
“Wheaton Park District Residents: Free! with a Wheaton Park District Universal Resident ID*
Nonresident Adults (ages 18-54): $8 + processing fee
Nonresident Adults (ages 55 and over): $7 + processing fee
Cosley Zoo Members: Free! (Please show your Cosley Zoo membership card and a photo ID.)
All Children (birth to age 17): Free!”
Brookfield Zoo is also hosting a virtual event every weekday at 11 am where kids can log on, ask questions, and see some animals they wouldn’t have gotten to see this year. They are doing this event through February and expect to have a large turn out so make sure you stop by the link and visit while you can!
A great option for covid safe fun is the local libraries that are sometimes forgotten amenities to living in Chicagoland. With most suburbs having a public library, if you feel like adding a few new library cards to your roster, you can rent pretty much whatever you want. And with covid friendly regulations, many places will let you download books online or come in and pick them up. With the right book in everyone’s hand, your family can have a much needed relaxing night in.
Luckily, one of the best winter activities is still open for the season: ice skating. Many people have fond memories of learning to skate when they were a kid, and if you don’t, there is still plenty of time to make them. Many indoor skating rinks are closed, but there are a few open and are accessible for public skating as long as you bundle up and wear a mask! Here are some skating rinks around the suburbs that are still open for family fun–
Addison Ice Arena
475 S Grace Street
Addison, IL 60101
Admission fee $8 for ages 12 and up, $6 for 3-11
Masks required, no spectators allowed
$4 skate rental
Rocket Ice Skating Rink
180 Canterbury Lane
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Admission fee is $7
$3 skate rental
Requires online reservation
All Seasons Ice Rink
31W330 N Aurora Road
Naperville, IL 60563
Requires online reservation
Admission fee $10
$4 skate rental
For a full list of ice skating rinks open in the western suburbs, click here.
Parents and kids alike still wish for snow days, and the perfect remedy for that is taking the day and visiting one of the local sledding hills located in the western suburbs. An easy and safe play date for your family, you can spread out, mask up and get your sled on. Keep a list of all the best spots, and make sure to hit them all up on a particularly snowy day. Here are some of the best sledding hills around-
Slower Hills for Younger Children
259 S. Russell Ave.
Aurora IL 60506
Waubonsie Lake Park
9S080 Kautz Road
Aurora, IL 60504
Advanced Sledding Hills
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 5th Ave
Aurora IL 60504
(needs at least 4” of snow to operate, very steep hill)
See the full list of sledding hills in the western suburbs here.
Not so surprisingly, there are tons of free events this winter around the western suburbs for all families. With everyone trying to live normally, these events are fun and safe for everyone.
Winter Lights in Oak Brook
“Enjoy a 1/2 mile walk through the beautifully lit Central Park! Discover dancing trees, inspirational signs, colorful rainbow arches, cascading snowflakes, and musical hearts throughout this scenic walk. This walk is FREE to the community.” Make ticket reservations in advance to avoid crowds; masks are mandatory at all times. The show is running through February.
Event details & tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/winter-lights-at-central-park-tickets-131133585083
Night of Lights in Wheaton
Wheaton’s Night of Lights has been extended through February 10th to keep spreading the seasonal cheer with their fabulous light displays. It takes “place in Adams Park in downtown Wheaton from November 20th through February 10th. Lights will be on from dusk to 10:00 pm.”
Event details: https://www.downtownwheaton.com/events/