Jul 14, 2022 - Things to Do

New park caters to grownup kids

Woman on a weight lifting machine in the park
Monica flexes her muscles on a weight machine in Lake Shore Park's new adult wellness area. Photo courtesy of Phoebe Kunin

A seven-year dream came true last month at Lake Shore Park near the MCA — the opening of a playground for grownups.

Flashback: Phyllis Mitzen was on a Sister City delegation to Shanghai in 2015 when she noticed a cool downtown park.

  • "It was teeming with people who were exercising and eager to show us how to use each piece," Mitzen, who leads downtown neighbors organization Skyline Village, tells Axios. "I came back determined to bring this idea to our Chicago Park District."
  • She then joined the Park District Advisory Council and began working with Ald. Brian Hopkins, who gave her the mantra: "People don't outgrow playgrounds. Playgrounds outgrow people."
People on an exercise machine in a park
Park rules require kids to be accompanied by adults. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

What's happening: The park features several pre-weighted universal lifting machines, a swinging elliptical-ish machine and tai chi wheels.

  • Mitzen says that she hopes "this type of equipment will show up in parks all over the city. It is a wonderful example of how much we can learn and benefit from international exchanges!"
Sign in a park
The park comes with several rules for equipment, including the yellow tai chi wheels (left). Photo: Monica Eng/Axios
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