Best Of Chicago

Best Parent Gathering Places In Chicago

January 17, 2014 7:00 AM

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Whether you’re a new parent or just moved to the Chicago area, you might be having a hard time meeting other parents. Luckily, there are plenty of venues where you can meet other parents, including the local public library and support groups. If you’re not sure where to go, consider checking out the following five venues so you can meet other parents. For an additional list, consider checking out this article.

(Credit: mochallergies.org)

(Credit: mochallergies.org)

Mothers Of Children Having Allergies (MOCHA)
Highland Park Hospital
777 Park Ave. W.
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 432-8000
www.mochallergies.org

Does your kiddo have an allergy? While trying to navigate new food restrictions and issues with healthcare can be challenging, Mothers of Children Having Allergies (MOCHA) is an allergy support network that can help. According to co-founder Anne Thompson, the group addresses topics that are important to the food allergy community, such as the types of accommodations a restaurant can make. The group has had medical professionals speak to the group about allergy-related topics as well, and also has time during the meetings so parents can mingle and get to know each other. “It’s nice to get input on how someone else is doing it instead of reinventing the wheel every time,” Thompson said of the support the group can offer for parents of children with allergies. The group meets on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Highland Park Hospital; Thompson also emphasized that fathers are welcome to attend the meetings.

One of Chicago’s Excellent Parks
Chicago Park District
(312) 742-7529
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

One of the best ways to meet other parents is to head to a program at your local park district. While you’re waiting for your child’s program to finish for the day, you can easily break the ice with other parents by asking “How does your child like the class?” To that end, you should consider registering your child for any number of programs available through the Chicago Park District. The organization offers a number of programs for children of all ages at its 580 parks in the city. You can choose from art classes, musical lessons, theatre, sports and a number of other activities that will help your child learn new skills. For a more active way to meet other parents, you can join in at the Mom, Pop & Tot classes, which include gymnastics and yoga.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 747-4300
www.chipublib.org

Your local branch of the Chicago Public Library is another great way to meet other parents, especially those in your child’s age group. What should you look for? Consider seeing if your local branch offers a storytime geared for your child’s age. Not only will you and your child get to listen to a great new story and complete a craft project, but you’ll also be able to meet other parents in the neighborhood. You’ll need to register in advance of the storytime program, so plan ahead.

Related: Best Childbirth And New Parent Classes In Chicago

Chicago Playpen
908 E. 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 268-2899
www.playpenchicago.com

Meet other parents in the area by spending time at Chicago Playpen with your child. Located between the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods of Chicago, the venue encourages children to use their imagination while playing and features a colorful play area your child is sure to enjoy exploring. You can also meet other parents by attending classes at Chicago Playpen with your child, which include cooking classes that incorporate fresh ingredients and kid-friendly recipes. Zumbini classes are also offered. Open play times are available; for more information, check out Chicago Playpen’s website. Classes have a separate fee, and pre-registration for classes is required.

Mom & Baby Time With Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
At Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd.
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 832-6600
www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org

Being a new mom can be a strange mix of exhilaration, wonder, stress, doubt and dirty diapers. If you’re a new mom, consider meeting other new moms in the area at Mom & Baby Time with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital at Kohl Children’s Museum. The group is led by a nurse representative from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, so you can feel free to discuss any issues or concerns you may have in a supportive environment. While regular admission fees to the museum still apply, the meetup is free and registration is not required. The meetup takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Monday.

Related: Best Chicago Parenting Groups In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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