According to education experts, outdoor playtime is essential to your child’s growth and development. Parks that feature age-appropriate play structures, walking paths, and a diverse collection of outdoor amenities help facilitate a wide range of childhood developmental stages. Thankfully, there’s an awesome outdoor destination near you in Illinois, from convenient neighborhood green spaces to spectacular state preserves. Use this list to find six parks near Westmont.

Veterans Memorial Park

Image via Flickr by Joe K Gage Licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

Located on South Linden Avenue, Veterans Memorial Park serves as a civic reminder to Westmont’s residence. Its playground facilities are set up for age-appropriate use, inducing one for toddlers and preschoolers and another for school-aged children. The blue and yellow Nordic ship is every little one’s favorite climbing structure at this suburban playground. This 10-acre neighborhood park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and features the following amenities:

  • Picnic shelter with grill
  • Three-season indoor restrooms
  • Lighted and paved walking path
  • Two baseball fields
  • One sand volleyball court
  • Zipline (ages 5 to 10)

James Pate Philip State Park

James Pate Philip State Park is on West Stearns Road in Bartlett, just 30 miles from Westmont. Bring the kids after school and walk, bike, or cross-country ski on the park’s 4.4-mile-long trail, through a tall-grass prairie, wetlands, and forests. Stop by the nature center for a Little Tots nature class, or the whole family can attend a special event like Earth Day in April or Winterfest in February.

Managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this 501-acre park is also home to an array of wildlife. So grab your camera and head out. It’s the ideal destination for the nature lovers in the family to spot native species like white-tailed deer, beavers, yellow-headed blackbirds, snapping turtles, sandhill cranes, and warblers.

Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area

One of the area’s most scenic parks is the Silver Springs Wildlife Area. This remarkable Illinois state park sits on 1,350 natural acres off Fox Road in Yorkville, 40 miles west of Westmont. Founders established the park in the 1960s and named it after the natural spring that lies within its boundaries. The sparkling pool of clear bubbling water looks silver on sunny days. Lush watercress beds surround the pool, and even in winter, it never freezes.

This park is also home to majestic oak trees, prairie grasslands, and Fox River. The panoramic natural beauty of this picturesque area features several small manmade lakes plus native wildflowers, songbirds, and waterfowl. This wildlife area is open every day from 7 a.m. to sunset. It’s a terrific place to go for loads of outdoor activities, including archery, boating, camping, canoeing, horseback riding, and dove hunting. In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. The park is also a great place to walk your dog, hike, or go geocaching.

Diane Main Park

The Diane Main Park is another awesome local park. Situated on West 59th Street, it has everything an outstanding neighborhood green space should, including baseball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, fishing ponds, and clean, modern restrooms. The Park District renamed what was once called Twin Lake Park in honor of resident Diane Main.

There’s plenty of open grass in this 137-acre park for a family game of Frisbee, and you’ll find ducks on the water almost year-round. It’s a welcoming urban oasis when you only have a minute to indulge the kiddos in nature. Bring your leashed dog and take a walk over the footbridge and around the pond. Don’t forget your camera if you’re visiting near sunset and capture some Instagram-worthy pictures.

Hidden Lake Forest Preserve

Hidden Lake Forest Preserve is a 390-acre hidden gem in Downers Grove. It’s an awesome place to spend a sunny Illinois afternoon. Get outside and enjoy the weather away from city life. Relax, breathe the fresh air, and collect your thoughts as you stroll along the peaceful trails with the family and the dog in tow. It’s not as big as some of the area’s other wilderness preserves, making it the perfect spot for a quick outing with little ones. 

Everyone will enjoy Hidden Lake’s natural scenery. The water from the river and lake is calming and peaceful. There are two lakes and a river. One is located in a densely wooded area, giving it an isolated feeling. This part of the preserve sits across the fence from the Morton Arboretum. Located off Route 53 and Butterfield Road, it’s the place to go jogging, kayaking, fishing, hiking, or picknicking.

The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is one of the best local examples of a public garden and outdoor museum. It’s home to more than 100 types of rare and endangered trees, making it a must-see for any Westmont nature lover. The arboretum also offers exhibitions, classes, and special events for all ages. For a century, the grounds have provided residents with a center to learn about the Morton family and see the lush, green landscapes that make this pick such an unforgettable treasure. 

You can explore the grounds, discover the library, and sign up for a fun-filled family program, like summer camps. Arboretum staff designed these educational experiences to provide our next generation of young conservationists with a foundation in environmental science. The founder even dedicated a separate space for a 4-acre children’s garden.

Thanks to the Arboretum’s informative plant clinics, parents can get expert gardening tips. You can also join the “Leafing Through the Pages” book club. Members meet on the second Thursday of every month to discuss topics like natural history, ecology, and gardening. The Morton Arboretum’s visitor’s center is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its regular exhibits include the following:

  • The Gateway to Tree Science
  • Collections and Creations
  • Vanishing Acts (digital exhibit)
  • Illumination: Tree Lights
  • Google Cultural Institute

That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Westmont’s list of six awesome parks close to home. The state of Illinois has so many outstanding nature preserves, we may have missed one or two. Does your family have a favorite park we missed? Drop us a line and let us know! We’ll add your go-to local spot to our growing list.