Mr. C. and I took the kids to Kiddieland yesterday. Located just outside of Chicago at North and 1st Avenues in Melrose Park, Kiddieland is a small amusement park designed for children under 54" tall. The rides and amusements remind me of those at traveling carnivals or street fairs. I had never been there before, but taking the kids brought many happy childhood memories of going to Great America with my dad. With ticket prices of $20.75 for adults and $17.75 for kids over 3, it isn't an everyday kind of outing, but it is nice to do once or twice per summer.
We had a great time. At The Boy's request, we first rode a little train that encircled the park. It gave us a visual overview of the park's attractions, and we were able to plan our day a bit. The northern half of the park had larger rides and attractions for slightly older/bigger kids (most had a minimum height requirement of 42" - The Boy missed it by an inch and was quite upset that he didn't get to ride the bumper cars), while the rides in the southern part of the park were geared to kids under 3' tall.
The Girl particularly liked the flying elephant ride (9 elephants spin in a circle and if you pull a bar back, it goes up in the air), the mini Roto-Whip (which was apparently Grandma T.'s favorite ride, too), a tiny racecar ride (12 small racecars in a circle), and a "drive the car" type ride where everyone had their own steering wheel and horn. She also liked the carousel and the sandpit at the Volcano Playcenter. We also went on the big Ferris Wheel, which The Girl liked, but freaked me out when we were stuck at the top and I had a sweaty deathgrip on her chubby calf.
The Boy really liked the old-fashioned cars, the mini Roto-Whip, the rocket ride, the sledding water tube (which freaked me and Mr. C. out because you're twisting and moving downward in a hot, lightless black tube filled with water), the pump-your-own-train-car in the Volcano Playcenter, and of course, the train.
A couple of other things to know if you go: the park does not allow outside food to be brought in, so you're on the hook for at least $20 for a family of four. They do allow you to leave the park and come back in again, so I might be tempted to pack a picnic lunch and eat it in the car (which has more to do with the grease factor of their offerings over cost). They have 2 free Pepsi-product fountain stands throughout the park, so you can always fill up a Styrofoam cup with ice and get a soft drink or water at the water fountain. And the restrooms are kid-friendly, of course, with changing rooms.