The village of Oswego, Illinois is about 50 miles from Chicago. Although it’s a small town of just over 30,000 people, it was ranked in the Top 100 Best Places to Live by CNNMoney.com in 2011. Whether you’re just passing through or it’s where you’ve laid down your roots, you don’t have to go far to find fun places to take toddlers in and around Oswego. From museums and indoor play places in the cold winter months to parks and pools in the summertime, Oswego and nearby towns have something fun for toddlers to do all year long. If you can’t find it in the village proper, head less than 15 minutes north to the bigger city of Aurora in search of toddler-approved fun.
Indoor Play Places
Bounce Town (bouncetownparty.com) in Oswego is a 20,000 square foot facility filled with hopping, climbing and jumping fun for little ones. The facility features inflatables, slides, mazes and obstacle courses. Toddlers will have a blast jumping in one of the many character-themed bounce houses where they’ll see cartoon friends like Dora, Sponge Bob and Superman on the outside of the inflatable. Toddlers will burn off plenty of energy at Airtastic (airtastic.com) in Aurora. This huge indoor play area has 10 inflatables and two smaller play areas for the little jumpers. Kids can shoot hoops in the basketball inflatable, slide down the big slides or just jump until they drop.
While your toddler might snooze at an art or history museum, he’ll be wide-eyed and having fun at SciTech Hands On Museum in Aurora (scitechmuseum.org). With over 200 science-based exhibits, kids can get their hands dirty while exploring the fascinating world of science. For the future firefighter, the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (auroraregionalfiremuseum.org) will be a hit. With more than 1,000 artifacts revolving around the world of fighting fires, kids will have a ball checking out the old fire axes, nozzles, helmets and fire alarm equipment. The museum has plenty of toy fire engines for kids to play with, too, as well as buttons to push, videos to watch and equipment to try on that will make your toddler feel like a real-life fireman.
Toddlers and parks go hand in hand, and the Oswegoland Park District has a total of 49 parks to choose from, many very kid-friendly. For example, Jaycee Park (oswegolandparkdistrict.org/Trails-Parks/Jaycee-Park.htm) has a playground with slides and climbing equipment, as well as a sandbox and lots of open area for kids to play. Prarieview Park (oswegolandparkdistrict.org/Trails-Parks/Prairieview-Park.htm) has a playground with a sandy area, a fishing pier, hopscotch and four square. Summerline Park (oswegolandparkdistrict.org/Trails-Parks/Summerlin-Park.htm) in Aurora also has a large playground with swings, slides, monkey bars and climbing areas.
Splashing, jumping and sliding into the water will have your toddler smiling from ear to ear, and there’s plenty of water fun around Oswego. The Fox Valley Parks District in Aurora operates two water parks in the city. Splash County Water Park (foxvalleyparkdistrict.org/?q=node/7) has a six lane pool with zero-depth entry, water slides, a lazy river and an enclosed area just for smaller kids with spray equipment and waterfalls. Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center (foxvalleyparkdistrict.org/?q=node/35) has water slides, a zero-depth entry pool, a plunge pool where the slides go in to and an area for little kids with a small slide, waterfalls and spray equipment. The Aquatic Park in Montgomery, IL, just 11 minutes from Oswego (oswegolandparkdistrict.org/Facilities/pool-Aquatic-Park.htm), features water slides, a zero-depth entry pool and a splash area for children with sprayers and play fountains.