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Chicago is home to many, many parks and playgrounds – but not all of them were created equal. Certain spots just have more kid-appeal. Some have exciting water features. Other have great views. Some even have public fruit orchards (yes, seriously).

When you’re in search an afternoon of fun, these spots won’t disappoint.

Adams Playground Park

1919 N. Seminary Ave.

This is my pick for best all-around playground because it has something for everyone. During the summer months, the water playground is a popular destination for Northside kids. But the year-round attractions aren’t so shabby. The sandbox is huge and filled with communal toys (a real bonus when you leave your own sand toys at home). Little ones love the swings and (not-too-high) climbing equipment. Bigger kids will enjoy the basketball hoop (rubber balls provided). Other features include a field house (with bathrooms!) and shaded picnic area.

Kilbourn Park and Organic Greenhouse

3501 N. Kilbourn Ave.

Kilbourn Park has a nice playground area – but the real attraction is the organic greenhouse where kids can get their hands dirty and experience hands-on horticultural skills. Visitors will also love the public fruit tree orchard (how cool is that).

Senneca Park.

Located just off Chicago Avenue in the bustling Streerville neighborhood, this park has lots to offer both big and little kids with its’ two separate, age-appropriate play areas. But the real draw of this park is it’s location next to a busy fire station staffed by friendly fire fighters. On each visit, my kids hope and pray that they’ get to see an emergency vehicle in action.

Oz Park

2121 N. Burling

If your kids is obsessed with Dorothy and her buddies, put this park on your list of places to see. The playground area is older (think wood chips), but still fun. Take a walk throughout the park to get an up-close-and-personal view of fantastic statues of the Wizard of Oz character (Dorothy’s bright red shoes are real show stoppers). The gardens are also accessible and well-maintained. Come winter, Oz Park also has a small hill that is perfect for novice sledders.

Caitlin Murray Giles is a Chicago mom and freelance writer. She chronicles her adventures with the three little people in her life at Wee Windy City.

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