Party Time at the Skokie Exploritorium

Exploritorium Logo

For the last two years, we have been invited to a birthday party at the Exploritorium in Skokie. It’s quite a drive for us, but we really can’t say no to an opportunity to hang out at the Exploritorium. We used to drive to Skokie frequently before my in-laws moved to Florida, but never have we stopped at the Exploritorium. Thank goodness for these birthday parties – it gives us a great reason to come out and play.

Exploritorium Tunnels

The Exploritorium is a large indoor playground that is part of the Skokie Park District.  There are multiple areas that are perfect for interactive play. You can play make-believe in a costumed dress-up area; run your fingers through a water play area; make music, climb a wall, play with trains, experience new heights in two-and-a half-story tubes and tunnels, and so much more. My son loves coming here – it’s just a bummer that we live so far and don’t make it out to Skokie more than once a year.

Exploritorium Slides

This place sort of reminds me of a mini children’s museum, complete with a water table, a train table, and a huge lite brite! It would be so easy to spend a few hours here – too bad the party time is only one hour.

Exploritorium Water Table

Exploritorium Water

Exploritorium Train Table

Exploritorium Gear Table

Exploritorium Lite Brite

When you book a party at the Exploratorium, you get one hour of play time, and another hour in the party room. You bring your own food and cake, which is really nice – but it doesn’t seem like you have a dedicated party helper. The play time alone makes it completely worth the drive to Skokie.

Open play hours are 9 am – 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday and 9am – 1pm on Saturday. They are closed on Thursday & Sunday. The cost for non-residents is $5 per person and they are located at 4701 Oakton Street in Skokie.

The New Little Beans Café is ALL Fun & Games #LBEvanston

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A new kids’ play space will be opening in Evanston on Friday and the northern suburbs are in for quite a treat! My family had an opportunity to take a sneak peek at the all new Little Beans Café in Evanston, and we were absolutely blown away.

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Located in a former grocery store building, this new play space offers the same great playspace as their Chicago location, the Little Beans Village (a play area for kids 0-6 years), plus SO MUCH MORE! The new Little Beans Café is such an amazing venue, and after 3 full hours of play, my son did not want to leave.

So what is the Little Beans Café?

Little Beans Café and Family Activity Center is an imaginative playspace, recreational center and café targeted to kids 0-12 years. They offer drop-in play for kids 0-6 years in the Little Beans Village, and for kids 5-12 years in the Big Beans play area. There’s also classes, events, camps, birthday parties and more. At the Little Beans Café, kids have the freedom to play, learn, imagine, and create in their custom interactive indoor playgrounds, while parents and caregivers can enjoy an upscale ambiance, delicious coffee, and a large selection of food.

Highlights of the Little Beans Café

Camp-themed imaginative play village.

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Little Beans Village |Photo by: Eva Ho Photography www.evaho.com

littlebeans-slide

Photo by: Eva Ho Photography www.evaho.com

littlebeans-train

littlebeans-infant-room

Infant Room

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Ninja Warrior-themed obstacle course.

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Ninja Warrior Course | Photo by: Eva Ho Photography www.evaho.com

Half court gym for games.

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A Karaoke room and lots more!

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Photo by: Eva Ho Photography www.evaho.com

Located at 430 Asbury Avenue, the new Evanston location is all set to open to the general public this Friday, February 13th. Drop-in play is $12 per child, with a discount available for siblings. Stop by and take advantage of this wonderful new playspace – your kids will love it!

Connect with Little Beans Café

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Schaumburg, IL: Yu Kids Island

Normally, if you told me that there was a fantastic place for kids to play located in what is probably the busiest shopping mall in the northwest suburbs I’d be like…thanks, but no thanks.  I’d rather do anything else than hang out at a crowded mall.  But, considering that I have a teenage daughter, it should be no surprise that I just can’t escape the shopping mall mecca that is Woodfield.  Thankfully, to hang out at Yu Kids Island, it’s totally worth it.

Yu-Kids-Island-Logo-Main

Yu Kids Island is an indoor playground for younger kids (less than 48” tall) that’s filled with brightly colored soft play structures that they can climb over, play on, and have a blast.  We’ve been there a handful of times now (purchased admission through a Groupon offer – be sure to check before you go, they tend to offer them often) and my toddler has loved it every single time.

Yu Kids Island Indoor Playdround for Kids in Schaumburg, IL

The carousel-type structures are a huge hit with him because they move really slow.  He’s not a fan of regular carousels so these slow ones were perfect for him to enjoy.  I loved the fact that they are made with a soft plastic material and the ground underneath is also padded – making me less worried about serious accidents.

Yu Kids Island Indoor Playdround for Kids in Schaumburg, IL

My son also loved the toddler play area, located in the rear of the space.  It’s a sectioned-off area with a few soft toys, soft blocks, and bouncy balls.  He loves building with blocks – any blocks – and these soft ones are a ton of fun to knock over!

Yu Kids Island Indoor Playdround for Kids in Schaumburg, IL

By far, though, my son’s favorite part of Yu Kids Island are the two large loft areas with balloons and fans that blow the balloons all around.  He can – literally – play here for hours.

Yu Kids Island Indoor Playdround for Kids in Schaumburg, IL

Parents (even helicopter moms like me) will feel comfortable letting your child explore the environment and play.  But please supervise your children as the employees tend to turn a blind eye to the more aggressive kids.

**Helpful Tip:  Don’t forget your socks!  Socks are required for both parents and kids in the play area.  The good thing is, if you do happen to forget them, Yu Kids is located right next to Sears so you can quickly pick some up!

Yu Kids Island also has a small cafeteria area with snacks and drinks for purchase.  The back of the space has a small, private area for birthday parties, too.  Check the website for pricing details.

Overall, Yu Kids Island is the perfect respite from the cold, arctic winter weather in Chicago and a great way to spend a few hours with the kids…while the teenager shops her heart out at the mall.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, it was simply a family outing I wished to share.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Chicago with Kids: Jumps n Jiggles

Venue: Jumps n’ Jiggles

Website: http://www.elkgroveparks.org/JumpsNJiggles/

Location: 1000 Wellington Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL  60007.

Hours: Mon – Fri: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Admission: Children 1 and over: $3.50; Adults and Tots (0-12 mo) are FREE.  (Admission includes entrance to Jumps n’ Jiggles and unlimited rides in the carousel.)

Parking: Jumps n’ Jiggles is located in the Elk Grove Village park district building.  Parking is free and plentiful.

Jumps n Jiggles Elk Grove Village

About: Jumps n’ Jiggles is an indoor playground, featuring a maze of tunnels, a spiral slide, the Kiddy Hawk helicopter, the bouncing YoYo Ball, a Cobra Copter and the flying GyroCopter.  It is recommended for children under the age of 10.

Our Experience: I’m always looking for new play spaces to visit with my toddler.  I read about Jumps n’ Jiggles somewhere and thought it was worth checking out.  Honestly, I almost missed the building because I had no idea that it was located in the giant Elk Grove Village park district building and only figured it out when I saw the carousel behind one of the windows of the building.

The price for this attraction is really budget-friendly (at only $3.50 per child), but you should know that what you see in the picture above is basically it.  In front of the large play structure were some toddler toys and a slide, and the adjoining room holds the beautiful carousel.  I would only plan for an hour-long visit to Jumps n’ Jiggles, an adequate amount of time for the kids to burn some energy and ride the carousel to their heart’s content.

However, be aware that the platforms on the play structure for my 2.5-year-old and my friend’s 3-year-old to climb.  Looking back, I should’ve worn my yoga pants (instead of the jeans I had on) because in order for the kids to be able to go down any of the slides I had to pull them up all the platforms and followed them through all the tunnels.  And, trust me, the plastic on the platforms is hard, and I came home to discover a few bruises on my knees. Sad smile

Jumps n Jiggles Tunnels

Yep – I climbed through there too!

The kids did have a good time, though, since I was able to climb through the whole structure.  So, if you’re planning on visiting with small kids, be prepared to have some playtime of your own.

The carousel at the Elk Grove Park District was lovely.  The carousel (located in the pavillion) also has a bench for those kids that don’t like to ride the horses (like mine!).

Jumps n Jiggles Carousel

There are plenty of tables surrounding the carousel, so pack a lunch and watch the carousel spin round & round!  You can also book private parties here for up to 100 people!

Overall, the kids had a good time playing at Jumps n’ Jiggles.  It’s a great rainy day, low-cost activity.

Tip: Don’t forget to bring your socks!  Socks are required for play at Jumps n’ Jiggles.

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