Following a Yellow Brick Road

Hello Friends,

This is another family adventure from our weekend. With such a beautiful late summer day on Saturday, we had to get out. Wife Googled parks in the city and found “Oz Park ” in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Who knew?

The main draw was statues of the main Oz characters. Obviuosly, here the girls are sitting on Dorothy’s pedestal. Arranged around two sides of the park, these statues help set a playful tone.

Nick Chopper, a.k.a the Tin Woodman guards the northeast entrance of the park.

Just inside that entrance stands the scarecrow. He is near the “quiet area”, his gentle nature an appropriate reflection of this calm patch. Filled with flowers and decorative plants, it stands apart from the playground and greenspace of the park.

The Cowardly Lion stands at the southeast corner of the park. He has the bonus of being app-enabled and can call you and talk with you. More importantly, he defends the pickle ball court. And yes, the people who play there too.

The playground at Oz Park is amazing. Shade is abundant and kids climb all over multiple ornate wooden structures. There’s tennis courts, pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, open space, the playground- really something for everyone.

We broke for lunch and headed down the street to Chicago Halal. Not much more than counter tops, this place has some kind of magic to their food prep. The gyro meat was cut small and had a delicious searing on the edges.

The girls ate well on their cheeseburgers too. So overall, our family dug Chicago Halal. I know that’s a weak review, but maybe some of you foodies out there can drop them a visit and do a proper one.

So here’s a weird thing about the afternoon: the lack bathrooms. Despite the beauty and playground amenities, Oz Park does not have any bathroom facilities. Chicago Halal also lacks bathrooms facilities. We tried to pitstop at a Starbucks near the park, but no, no toilet. What?!? Bit of a downer on a our day, but we salvaged it. You know who had a bathroom? Same people who have old-school soft serve. Oh yeah, Dairy Queen.

If you haven’t been to Oz Park yet, just follow Webster east, about to Halsted. Visit with the friends from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, or maybe get in on some wooden paddle and wiffle ball action. Lincoln Park holds plenty of restaurants, both new and fresh as well as tried and true. So food is easy to find around Oz Park. Just be sure you plan your adventure ahead, so you don’t make your own yellow brick road.

Back to Our Park

The Cricket and I were in our neighborhood today and had some time to burn before our bi-weekly construction meeting. April is month ten of our nine-month renovation. So we are not yet in our home – our time in the neighborhood was merely a visit. But what better place to visit on a beautiful Chicago day than the park!

Our home park is Kilbourn Park (for you locals or vistors). And while it is not as big as McKinley Park, the area where we are currently staying, it is ours. Cricket is getting more familiar with the playground and should be able to enjoy playing there this summer.

And again, while it may not be the biggest park, it has the important stuff. Slides, which I like, and swings, which the girls love. Kilbourn Park also has baseball diamonds, soccer cage, basketball courts, tennis courts, a fieldhouse – the works. One of the coolest features is the greenhouse and community garden. I think it might be the only park in the city with a greenhouse.

Just one more thing to miss about home. Especially on a sunny, mid-seventies Chicago Spring day like today. And the construction meeting? It went well. We’re behind but there’s progress. So we visit for now and look forward to being home soon.