Sometimes, after a busy week, it is so refreshing to get lost in the woods. This is something that I have struggled with since having children. I used to take the dog and go hiking now and then, but I haven’t been brave enough to go hiking with the kids, especially by myself. When I heard about Wahoo Woods, a 50-acre green space for kids, I knew we had to get out and try it.
It was a little longer of a drive for us to get to Dundee, but it was worth it! I told the kids we were going to a special park and when we arrived, E said “This isn’t a park! There aren’t any swings or slides.” He was quickly convinced that this kind of park, one with wide open spaces, lots of sticks and mud was just as much fun! I watched as my littles grabbed bones from the Curiosity Shed, colored on rocks, balanced on logs and invented creativity around every corner. It was positively wonderful.
The Library Springs and Wahoo Woods share a parking lot with the library. We parked toward the back of the lot and immediately saw that there were logs for the kids to balance on. I let the kids lead the way while they explored a stick teepee and even discovered a tire swing. We went on a Friday morning and there was only one other family on the paths. We loved having it (almost) to ourselves!
After checking out the Wahoo Woods portion of the area, we found a trailhead and went at it. The kids found walking sticks and loved hiking while looking for wildlife and rocks. We loved listening to the wind whistle through the leaves and the birds sing in the distance.
This type of unstructured play is essential with today’s packed schedules. After several weeks of constant activity, this was just the dose of nature our family needed. When we left, E said “Mama, I really like this place. Can we bring Daddy back to play?” Yessir! We’ll be back, kiddo! When I first heard about Wahoo Woods, I assumed it would be like our beloved Bison’s Bluff nature playground. (You can read all about Bison’s Bluff here.) But, while they are both wonderful, they are very, very different. You’ll have to try them both!
Tips & Tricks:
- Bring a backpack and enjoy a snack at one of the benches on the hike.
- I suggest an Ergo carrier for any of your younger children. I let H walk a bit but she got tired quickly and I carried her on my shoulders. I so wished that I had grabbed my carrier. A stroller would be a bit hard to navigate in some of the areas.
- Plan to visit the library before you hit up the woods. I planned on going after our hike but we were filthy so I decided we would check it out on our next trip.
- Take a picture of the map or reference mine below. I *might* have gotten a little turned around and was glad to know that you can’t really get lost. Although, you can lose your keys. (Not that I would know.)
555 Barrington Avenue, East Dundee, IL (Behind Dundee Library)
Ages: 3-8 (BUT…my 22 month old loved it…and, so did I!)
No pets are allowed in Wahoo Woods, but dogs are permitted in the Library Springs hiking paths.