Today, the weather cooperated enough for me to take The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot to Pirate's Cove in Elk Grove Village. I was first introduced to Pirate's Cove by The Dad's sister-in-law, an EKG resident and fellow employee of the EKG park district, but hadn't been again since The Boy was just over 2. We met our friend Cara and her kids in the parking lot, and our huge group of 6 kids and 1 baby walked into the park together.
The kids had a great time; with a handful of automated rides and other kid-level amusements, all staffed by fresh-faced, madly-texting teenagers, the park is perfect for kids between 4- and 7-years-old (conveniently, the age of our group). Everyone rode the Safari train and played at the playground. The Girl, The Boy, Gracie and Kenley rode the kid-size carousel for an hour straight, and did the burlup-bag slide for another 1/2 an hour. The Boy lent John his Cons so that they could both do the climbing wall, and everyone waited in line for like 1/2 an hour to go on the hand-crank paddleboats (The Girl lasted about 30 seconds before she tried to hold onto the side of the pool, while still in the boat).
We left for about an hour and went across the street to Panera for lunch. That was an experience; 7 kids and 2 moms trying to have lunch at noon at a crowded lunch place next to an office park. We managed to all eat and use the facilities and even get cookies afterward. Then we returned to Pirate's Cove for a couple more hours of playing.
Cara had to take off around 3 to visit her eldest child at Girl Scout camp, so the kids and I left Pirate's Cove as well. We made a quick stop at Jewel in EKG before heading home to take The Boy to his swimming lesson at Independence Park.