The Skokie Review about Emily Oaks Nature Center...

Artists capture the great outdoors — in Skokie​!

Letter excerpts from Pauline to the Aquatics staff:

My son has been taking swimming classes at Niles North High School for a little over 2 years. I’ll never forget the first day of class. He cried and was terrified of going into the swimming pool. Ironically, he always enjoyed going to the outdoor pools and playing in the water. Jerry was a tremendous help and stated that it was best to be proactive and bring him into the pool, despite him not wanting to go in. So I consented and Jerry (very kindly) managed to get Matthew into the pool. Yay! Success! He did not enjoy it at all but stayed in the pool for the duration of class (15 mins). He looked absolutely miserable when he emerged from the pool. 

As you can imagine, we both dreaded going back to swim class the next day. It was such a battle to get Matthew in the pool. Jerry, with his calm demeanor, held Matthew’s hand and led him into the pool. I couldn’t believe it! Yay! No fight or drama about getting into the pool. After the second day of class, Matthew exclaimed “Mommy, I had fun!” and had a big smile plastered across his face. I couldn’t have been happier regarding his positive experience. 

After that, there has been no turning back. We have faithfully registered for a swim class ever since. My son recently got promoted to level 5 and has come a long way from being a scared 5-year-old to becoming a confident swimmer. 

You have a great staff all around! Just want to let you know that we love swimming at Niles North! Thanks for offering swim lessons year round! 

Mike Fraus of Skokie comments about parks...

As a 25-year resident with two teen sons, I must take a moment to compliment the district for its ongoing effort to fund, allocate, engineer and do the maintenance that has allowed my family to enjoy the Skokie Park District's ever-present beautiful and practical park system through the years!

We live in an urban environment, but mark the seasons by our proximity to and the rhythm of Mother Nature in the parks. Just this morning, I drove by Lawler Park and again noticed the mature and well-designed berms and gardens that surround the inviting park signage.

There just isn't another district in Chicagoland that shows the same attention to detail.  Not one.

Through years of Little League, tennis and basketball play, bike riding, walking, and sitting for a rest or just a look -- it is comforting just knowing they are there.

What an asset to our community: Skokie's great parks for all to enjoy.

(From Yelp) Dee W. of Evanston says about the Exporitorium...

What a fabulous experience!  I attended a party at the Exploritorium and it was such a great experience with literally everything for everyone!

They had a fun section for the crawling babies that was padded to everything imaginable for toddlers from a climbing wall/tunnel to a water section where kids could go fishing and toddlers that couldn't stand or reach can sit and play.  They even had this section with lights to create your own design.

This was really great and with free parking, I look forward to going back again.

(From Yelp) Carole K. of Chicago says about the Skatium Ice Arena...

I couldn't figure out why we were going all the way to Skokie to go ice skating. After all, it's winter. We can skate at Millennium Park. We can skate at Wrigley. We can skate at any number of rinks around town. So why drive 25 minutes north?

Enter The Skatium. This Park District rink (actually rinks as there are at least 2 that I saw) does things the right way and is the perfect place to take the "wee ones" who may not like to skate outdoors when the temps are frigid...And the price is right, too. Affordable admission fee and $3 if you need to rent skates. We went for open skate, but there are many other choices –– check out their website. The skates that they rent are so much better than in the "old days." They have stiff uppers which help with the ankle bending and are sharply honed to help with the balance. There is a concession stand and plenty of free parking outside the venue.

If you are looking for an inexpensive yet fun (and warm) way to enjoy one of winter's sports, check out the Skatium. Worth every bit of the drive!

(From Yelp) Ali W. of Chicago says about Skokie Sports Park...

I came here using my for the driving range and I must say that I am very impressed...  It is nice to have a card that doesn't expire and I love how the golf balls are set up on a tee for you.  It definitely beats carrying around a bucket and I definitely find it to be affordable!

(From Yelp) Shauna B. of Chicago says about Adventure Golf...

Look, some people like tennis, some people like football, some people like soccer. I like mini-golf. I'm not ready to go pro; but I have spent the past couple of years making a very serious study of the area courses and I am here to say, in my educated opinion, that the Skokie Park District’s Adventure Mini Golf course is the BEST in Chicagoland.

I'd go far enough to say that it's one of the top five features of Chicago, period.

There are technically two courses here, the 9 hole Kids' Quest and the 18 hole Around the World theme course. Kid's Quest is appropriate for younger kids, complete with climbable obstacles on the holes. Around the World is fantastically laid-out and designed to be challenging for short game golfers of any level. The holes are decorated with large-scale models of the Egyptian pyramids, the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China, as well as other less expected locales such as the Arctic tundra and Easter Island.  There are holes with water or sand traps, and a couple of holes where the golfer must choose one of three early options, guessing at which will deposit the ball closest to (or directly in) the cup. My favorite is the Australian Coral Reef, a triple-level hole decorated with colorful fish in which the ball must drop in one of three conduits, then travel down a level and through another of two conduits before reaching the third and final green. Oh's enough to make me jump with giddy joy!

This is a '50s-style course--a holdover from the days when (I imagine) designers tried to top each others' courses for inventiveness. Par-King is legendary for their mechanical features; but I prefer the scope and sprawling ambition of Skokie.

Good lord, we all owe the genius behind this course our eternal admiration.

(From Yelp) Liz M. of Chicago says about Pooch Park...

My newest discovery…!

The pooches and I have been here three times now…This (dog) park is set-up perfectly! They have a doggie water fountain. Huge amount of land to run, catch balls and play. A separate fenced area for the ankle-biters and the puppies. An agility area with apparatus; a hanging tire to jump through, a raised plank bridge, a jumping fence, etc. Bags available for you-know-what. Double gates (so no one escapes) on both the south and north ends of the park. Plenty of parking. Friendly dogs and their owners.

What a great way to spend a couple of hours with your furry kids. Guaranteed dogs napping for hours when I get home!

(From Yelp) A.W. of Chicago says about the entire district...

I think this is one of the best park districts I have ever seen. They have great facilities –– from the usual pools to an ice skating rink. This place is really well-kept and the staff here is super-friendly. I've taken many classes here, and they have all been great! Great staff, great facilities, and great prices bring me here again and again for various classes. says about Scream Scene...

Upon arrival, I noticed that this setup was inside a park district building and immediately thought "okay, it's a community haunt, likely going to be low-level scares." Well kudos to the Scream Scene crew for teaching me not to judge a book by its façade!

This haunt boasts some solid scares and excellent surprises (honestly, some of the best startles I've had in a while). There's no introduction, you just enter the haunt as you would normally. Waiting in line in front of me was a family with very a small child who appeared utterly terrified, and not in good way. There were some intense scenes featured, which are not recommend for children under 10 (as stated by the haunt themselves). Every child varies, but parents, please exercise some discretion! Consider a 'haunted' hayride or 'haunted' pumpkin patch for the young'ns, not a full-out haunted house. That being said…..

Included were a creepy hospital room, a very disorienting red-and-white-striped clown hallway, and of course, the obligatory claustrophobic bags. Perhaps my favorite scene (and one that I'll remember for a long time) involved a corridor full of glowing orange masks. Due to the darkness, they were the only thing visible.....and several stealthy actors hid among them, wearing the exact same mask! An excellent opportunity for startle-scares, and they delivered! In one zone, a clown-type actor showed us where to go.....only for us to realize the narrow hallway was a dead-end. Alright, joke's on us, but now what? One girl at the back of the group (now at the front) was not a fan, and with the clown now tormenting us all, she was literally too scared to move. The rest of us just stood there, waiting for either a) the clown to point out the exit door or b) said cowering girl to move. Neither budged, until the clown temporarily broke character and said "c'mon c'mon, it's this way."

There's a chainsaw-wielding maniac at the end, who I felt did an exemplary job of chasing patrons out of the house. Yeah, you could just walk out and exit normally, but it's much more fun to RUN out, feeling like you're being pursued by the roar of the chainsaw. A good way to end a decent haunt. I enjoyed what the cast and crew of Scream Scene had to offer. For being a haunted house based in the local park district they provided some unique scary moments. Despite the short length, I'm glad I stopped by here on a tour of multiple haunts, and would recommend that those in the area do so as well.