*Updated July 2021
Have you heard about Wahoo Woods, the newest nature play space to hit the scene? We absolutely loved visiting Bison’s Bluff in Schaumburg last month, so we were equally excited about this one. While the nature play space is different from Bison’s Bluff, it’s still a great space to connect with nature. The community should be proud of this one!
Why a nature play space? According to the Dundee Township Open Space:
Unlike static, traditional playgrounds, nature play areas give children the chance to solve problems and construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration. Natural play spaces are designated patches of land devoid of any fancy playground equipment. Instead, kids are outfitted with dirt, sand, water, logs and sticks & encouraged to use their imagination to improvise free form fun.
An article published in the Minnesota Star Tribune by Amy Goetzman adds that “a growing body of evidence finds that children of all ages who play outside and play with natural, found materials — such as water, rocks and dirt — have better physical and mental health, greater social resilience, and more creativity than their couch-surfing counterparts. In 2005, Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder” detailed a growing body of research tying rising rates of obesity, depression, and attention-deficit disorder to children’s limited access to nature. Newer studies out of Britain, Switzerland and Finland throw even more weight behind Louv’s argument.”
Getting Started at Wahoo Woods
Parking is super easy since Wahoo Woods is behind Fox River Valley Public Library and they share the same parking lot.
The trails from Wahoo Woods connects to the Library Springs’ trails. While most of the paths are not paved, they were pretty easy to distinguish. Beautiful!
My favorite ones were the grass covered trails.
No doubt the two swings towards the back of the woods will be the highlight of their visit. Choose from a tire swing with a large swinging radius or the adorable log swing.
Balance on it all
Who can resist walking on tree stumps? Or hopping boulder to boulder? Plenty of space and opportunity to do so right here! Kids will love climbing the top of the rocks.
Kids can create forts
Unlike other forest preserves, kids are encouraged to use their imagination to create cool things like forts or forest tee-pees with branches.
Without a doubt, this “rainbow” tree is one of the coolest climbing trees that we’ve seen!
After exploring Wahoo Woods, follow the paths and find beauty all around you.
Other things to do at Wahoo Woods
Check out the Curiosity Shed, create nature art, climb on hay bales, climb trees, and more.
Hike the Library Springs Trail
Last winter, we were finally able to hike the Library Springs trail. It was an easy and pretty hike through a mostly wooded area.
READ MORE: Looking for more nature play areas? Kids will love Lincoln Marsh and Red Oak Nature Center.
TIPS TO ENJOY WAHOO WOODS
- Plan your trip with a visit to the library located across the parking lot. Pre-COVID they have a great kids section with wooden blocks, a train table, a dollhouse, puzzles, and more!
- Check out the Dundee Library’s website for programs that include time at Wahoo Woods.
- It may be a little muddy if you come after it’s rained, so just dress the kids appropriately.
- There are a couple picnic tables by the library parking lot if you’d like to pack a lunch.
- Use this map to plan your walk.
OTHER THINGS TO DO NEARBY WAHOO WOODS:
- Have fun riding coasters and seeing animals at Santa’s Village.
- Grab burgers or custard at Van’s Custard.
- Explore Downtown Dundee with the cute shops.
- Grab candy at Around the Corner Candy.
- Love arcade games? Spend a few hours at Underground Retrocade. Purchase a day pass meaning you can come and go as you please!
- Amazing wood-fired pizza awaits at Woodfire Pizza.
Final Thoughts of Wahoo Woods
What a great way for families and kids to connect with nature! Although many of the elements weren’t available when we visited, we will be sure to come back again.
Location: 555 Barrington Avenue, East Dundee
Hours: Dusk til Dawn
Parking: Shares a parking lot with the Dundee Library
Stroller-friendly? May be hard to navigate the trails with a regular stroller.
Food: No food available for purchase, but there are a couple tables available. Bring food and have a little picnic!
Crowded: We visited on a Wednesday morning and it was not busy at all.
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