As the unique, whimsical park nestled in the busyness of Chicago, Maggie Daley Park’s breathtaking backdrop includes a view of the harbor and the beautiful architecture that makes up the Chicago scenery. It’s something that you wouldn’t expect to find if you weren’t purposefully looking for it; a hidden treasure of the city.
Occupying three acres of the Maggie Daley Park is the Play Garden. If you have kids, this is the general area that you will likely spend most of your trip, as it encompasses hours of potential fun and entertainment. What I like about The Play Garden is that signs are clearly labeled according to the activity level that would best suit certain age groups for those areas. The Play Garden areas are best suited for kids under 12, and include a splash pad style area when the weather is warm, as well as four main sections labeled as “The Sea”, “The Harbor”, “The Enchanted Forest”, and “The Slide Crater”.
The Sea is home to a large, metal play ship where kids can be a captain and pretend to steer the wheel on the ship, as well as plenty of ladders, nets, and talking tubes for kids to interact with. If you walk a few steps off of the ship, there is a lighthouse with a slide attached, where the kids can climb up, take in the view via scopes, and exit down the metal slide.
The Harbor is meant to resemble a boat harbor, and includes a boardwalk that leads to a marina inspired area with three kid-sized boats that kids can climb in and move around. These boats are made to simulate the feeling of being on an actual boat.
The Enchanted Forest is a great spot for imagination to come into play! There is a maze of mirrors, split logs to walk and climb on, and plenty of trees (some are actually upside down!) and plants to observe along the way.
The Slide Crater can be accessed by climbing up the mini rock climbing wall, up the hillsides, or by the Tower Bridge. There are many different types of slides! Children under 5 can also enjoy this area, but I would recommend joining them down the slide, as some of the slides are high up with quick drops.
The rock climbing wall caters to both beginner and advanced climbers. There is a cost to climb, as the rock wall exhibit provides equipment and is staffed with instructors for your safety as needed. Prices differ depending on which of the three climbing types (bouldering, top rope, lead-harnessed) and ranges from $7-29, with group pricing also available.
Maggie Daley Park also offers a picnic area, tennis courts, and a skating ribbon – weather permitting, between late November until March. They also have a Fieldhouse, which offers programs such as day camp, play school, and fitness classes. Washrooms, lockers, skate/climbing wall rental are available for your convenience in the Fieldhouse.
The environment of the Maggie Daley Park adapts to the steadily changing Chicago seasons and has something unique to offer during each season. I would recommend Maggie Daley Park as a “must see” when visiting Chicago, especially with children.
Featured Image via Architecture.org. All other photos attributed to author.