Summer Fun Guide for Lake County Kids 2020

After months of quarantining, remote learning and siblings nearly at each other’s throats, summer is officially in session.

There are plenty of summer fun activities for Lake County Kids as we step into Restore Illinois: Phase 4. The reopenings are happening.


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#waukegan #waukeganharbor #waukeganbeach #photographer #photography #lakemichigan

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Explore the land of lakes nature settings, bask in the sun along the shore, discovering historical nuggets, filling your belly with world-class eats and playing with a few creatures just scratches the surface of what summer fun your kiddies can get into.

Lake County’s natural beauty and diverse attraction make it the perfect place as we ride this public health crisis together. Let’s Go! and take advantage of summer fun the land of lakes has to offer.

Beaches in Lake County



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Beach Babes 🏖☀️

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The land of lakes is home to over 200 lakes and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, which means the beaches are in abundance. Searching for an adventure in one of the Great Lakes? Illinois Beach State Park in Zion is your destination? Taking your little guppies for a more youngster-friendly environment? Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park Beach has lifeguards and a water playground. Take a dip and cool yourself off this summer along one of Lake County’s relaxing shores. So kick back and relax, and remember, life’s a social distancing beach!

Virtual Education and Entertainment in Lake County

The health and safety of our Lake County visitors and residents is our number one priority. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable to experience first hand until times are a little less daunting. While you can’t visit all of your favorite hotspots just yet, we encourage you to keep exploring, dreaming and making plans. Cherish this time with those that matter most and check out some of our virtual experiences.

  • Victory Garden Virtual Exhibit Presented by Brushwood (through 8/18) INFO»
  • Art in the Times of Quartine Virtual Exhibit by the Art Center of Highland Park (through August 1) INFO»
  • Virtual Family Fun Fridays at the Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center (through 8/7) INFO»
  • Virtual Ravinia Festival (Fridays) INFO»
  • Festival of the Arts at the Adler Center (Ongoing) INFO»
  • Virtual Wildlife Camp at Wildlife Discovery Center INFO»
  • Virtual Introduction to Illustrative Watercolor by David Adler Center INFO»

Lambs Farm in Libertyville


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Happy #CreatureFeatureFriday from Baby, the Farmyard’s 20-year-old Alpaca! 🦙💚

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Lambs Farm opened their doors for the season on July 7. The Libertyville farmyard features a petting area with sheep, goats, and a variety of attractions like miniature golf, an old-world carousel and more. Also, visit the Dogwood Pet Shop, Magnolia Café & Bakery and the Sugar Maple Country Store for delectable treats, unique items and adorable puppies and kittens. All the businesses at Lambs Farm benefit programs for people with developmental disabilities. The Libertyville grounds require guests to stay a minimum of six feet from customers at staff at all times, wear a facemask, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands. Visitors are required to make reservations before entering the grounds at, while you may also call 847-367-7606 for the Dogwood Garden & Pet Center. The Cedar Chest Thrift Shop reopens July 14. The Magnolia Café & Bakery is still open for curbside pickup and indoor dining on Friday and Saturday. Donations are accepted. Lambs Farm is open through October 25.

Miller’s Dog N Suds in Ingleside

The social distancing and curbside pickup go hand-and-hand with Miller’s Dog N Suds’ business model as we head into Phase 3. Miller’s Dog N Suds is the home of the Coney dog and their famous creamy root beer. The Ingleside drive-thru styled eatery is a four-generation, family-owned business that recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017. A little touch of the past is still relevant today because you can’t pass up a delicious hot dog. Miller’s Dog N Suds regularly hosts concerts and classic car nights as well. At one point, there were 600 locations of the restaurant. Currently, 14 Dog N Suds is still in operation with one other place in Lake County (Grayslake). Other items on the menu at the iconic restaurant include Texasburgers, corndogs, cheese dogs, chicken sandwich and their shake of the month. Miller’s Dog N Suds is open from May through October. Also, it’s a drive-in, so social distancing is practiced by default.

WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills

Bump, collide and compete against your friends in the unique bumper car sport WhirlyBall. Everyone’s favorite lacrosse/basketball/bumper car fusion game returns as the Vernon Hills facility opens its doors on Wednesday, July 15. The play place also has a little something for adults. Besides delectable eats, WhirlyBall has a vast selection of brews while the youngsters duke it out (or you join in on the fun).

Hurricane Harbor in Gurnee Opens to the General Public 


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Take a dip in the drink, recline, relax and experience all the thrills at Hurricane Harbor. The Gurnee waterpark opens for the general public in the last week of July. The H2O haven is equipped with numerous waterslides, the main swimming area called Monsoon Lagoon, a kid zone play area that utterly soaks attendees, an interactive surf area and so much more. Have a splashing good time this year.

Stargazing in Lake County

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds.” Staring fondly into the eyes of a constellation is a wondrous sight. While we stay at home to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we can keep our heads in the sky and experience the constellations hovering over Lake County. It’s a splendid opportunity while we wait out the effects of the novel coronavirus. Whether you in an Illinois State Park, a Lake County Forest Preserve or in Lake Michigan, on a clear night, you can “wish upon a star because it makes no difference who you are.”

Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest

After nearly two months of Facebook Live visits at the Lake Forest sanctuary, Wildlife Discovery reopened the outdoor habitats on the interpretive trail. There are a slew of critters to say hello to on their outdoor path like bobcats, owls, eagles, reptiles, their newest little buddy named Oliver the opossum and so many more.

Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee

Every time a bell rings, a prospective pilot gets their wings. Extreme Flight Simulations (figuratively) provides individuals with frequent flyer miles in the Gurnee facility’s airplane simulator. Take off, coast and land as this soaring simulator accurately reproduces the flight deck of the 737 NG. The aerodynamic attraction is open to the public, and no flight experience is needed. 

Skate Parks in Lake County


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Kick flip Fs noseslides with @_slozo_ #skateboarding #getbuck

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Say cowabunga as you land an ollie in one of Lake County’s skate park halfpipes: Warren Township Center Skate Park, Viking Park, Betty Russell Community Park and Churchill Hunt Park (Gurnee), Jewett Park Skate Park (Deerfield), Williams Park (Antioch), Daniel Barry Memorial Skate Park (Grayslake), Waukegan Skate Park and Sullivan Community Center.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

With the Land of Lincoln elevating to the next phase of Restore Illinois, Chicago Botanic Garden has upgraded to a gradual reopening. The Glencoe sanctuary currently permits visitors to view the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Gardens, the Dixon Prairie and McDonald Woods while maintaining social distancing in the outer perimeter. Gradually, more facilities will reopen in the upcoming weeks. All visitors must preregister for a specific date and time. There is no entry without a reservation.

Thunder on the Chain in Antioch


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Vroom vroom #DragBoat #BlarneyIsland #ThunderOnTheChain #NIDBA

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The Chain O’Lakes is far from placid on Thursday nights during the summer. Take the boat out or take the ferry from Port of BLarney to Blarney Island. Thunder on the Chain features the unique world of drag boat racing from June-September hosted by Blarney Island on Grass Lake. If you have the need for speed on a ‘school night,’ witness these fearless racers competing in nine different classes from the Northern Illinois Drag Boat Association as they sprint for the gold. Thunder on the Chain fields races through September 3.

Angling in Lake County


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Fall fishing is the best! What are your plans this week? Let us know below 👇 if you are going out! #skipperbuds

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Cast your hook, line and sinker as you try to nab a fresh fish. You have the OP-PERCH-TUNA-ty to exSALMON the waters and reel in the catch of the day. Lake County is named that for a reason, and the lakes are full of black crappie, bluegill, catfish, muskellunge, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye and other species.

Miniature Golf in Lake County


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Par-King’s “Par-King” for a day!

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Hit the links in Lake County…on a far smaller course. It’s all in the hips. Make your tee times for some of the most unusual, scenic, difficult and competitive outings at two of Lake County’s best miniature golf courses. Before you hit the big boy golf courses, work on the short game at these two locations:

  • Par-King Skill Golf in Lincolnshire INFO»
  • Kristof’s Entertainment Center in Round Lake Beach INFO»

Boundless Adventures in Bristol, WI


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Our 9 courses with over 100 obstacles and lots of ziplines offer the adventure of a lifetime!

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Just north over the Lake County border, is Boundless Adventures. If the gift is for an outdoorsy individual, a trip to this venue is a must-have. The Bristol, WI entity is the thrill-seekers’ haven and is highlighted by ziplining, obstacle courses, tree climbing and all sorts of challenging athletic expeditions for you.

The Tempel Lipizzans in Old Mill Creek

View one of Lake County’s most precious treasures at Tempel Farms. Trade neighs during a meet-and-greet inside the dancing stallions’ humble abode. On this behind-the-scenes tour, attendees will learn about the Lipizzan history, view the methods of classical riding and receive a full tour of the farm. The journey will end in the Old Mill Creek farm’s arena with a daily training session and a Q&A with the trainers. Tickets can only be purchased before the event. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Trails in Lake County

No matter the season, we enjoy the fruits of what Mother Nature gave us in Lake County: The tall trees, the winding trails, the serene bodies of waters, the creatures and critters and the picturesque plant life. Lake County provides outdoor escapes from the shelter in place with an up close and personal live-action Claude Monet portraits like Des Plaines River Trail, Greenbelt Forest Preserve, Millennium Trail and Greenway, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and many more.

Butterflies & Blooms (through September 20) and the Modern Railroad Garden (August 9-October 11) at Chicago Botanic Garden


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#flowers #botanicalgardens #butterfly #nature #macrophotography #bloom

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Witness the majesty and beauty of the Swallowtail, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Skipperling and as many as 500 other colorful butterflies and blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden. The Butterflies & Blooms exhibition highlights species that are native to Africa, Asia, North America and South America. The butterflies are housed in a 2,800-square-foot mesh enclosure on the Regenstein Learning Campus. Visitors can view the cocooned caterpillars make their transformation into butterflies through a window located inside the pupa emergence room. The exhibit is open daily through September 20 (weather permitting). But wait! There’s more! Chicago Bo is also highlighted by the 7,500-foot Model Railroad Garden. The choo choo world features rains running on 1,600 feet of track. The garden-scale trains are 1/29th the size of life-size trains. Train and garden enthusiasts, young and old, return year after year for the delightful sights and sounds of the miniature trains traversing high and low through tunnels, across bridges, and around buildings. All are intricately handcrafted with natural materials, including twigs, bark, leaves, acorns, and pebbles. More than 5,000 tiny trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowering plants of close to 300 varieties re-create the topographical landscape of America. Vignettes of small people and animals give the exhibit a storybook feel, while sound effects and a working geyser capture visitors’ imaginations. The train garden is open through October 11. Face coverings are required for anyone ages two years and older, and six-foot social distancing is encouraged.

Chalk Art Contest at Lake Zurich


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Artists in LZ

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“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton. While you’re spending more time at home to ride out the pandemic, now is the time to explore your inner art masonry…with chalk. Lake Zurich calls all creators to design their own chalk masterpiece throughout the summer. Take a picture of your driveway chalk sketch and post to the Lake County village’s Facebook page. This weekend’s theme through June 20 is Disney Week, while starting June 21 and running through June 27 is favorite fare or restaurant. Two Lake Zurich residents will win a small prize and judged anonymously. The Chalk Art Contest (only open to Lake Zurich dwellers) runs through August 8.

Opening Soon and Upcoming Events on the Summer Fun Guide for Lake County Kids


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Community Pool

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  • Waukegan History Museum Timed Entry(Aug. 1) INFO»
  • Drive-in Movie Night in Highland Park “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” (Aug. 6) INFO»
  • Movie in the Park “Star Wars” The Rise of Skywalker” in Grayslake (Aug. 12) INFO»
  • Wildlife Science Camp at WIldlife Discovery Center INFO»
  • August Adventure Camp at Chicago Botanic Garden (Aug. 10-14) INFO»
  • Chain O’Lakes Youth Fishing and Family Day in Fox Lake (Aug. 16) INFO»
  • Zion Park District Concerts at the Bandshell (Throughout August) INFO»
  • Antioch Kid’s Flea Market (Aug. 30) INFO»
  • National Museum of the American Sailor (Sept. 8) INFO»
  • Richardson Adventure Farm Reopens (Sept. 12) INFO»
  • Volo Auto Museum (TBA) INFO»
  • 60 to Escape in Gurnee (TBA) INFO»
  • Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County in Libertyville (TBA) INFO»
  • Launch Trampoline Park in Gurnee (TBA) INFO»

For more summer fun for Lake County kids, click here. To learn more about things to do in Lake County continue here.




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