Lake Michigan, the world’s sixth largest freshwater lake, puts the “great” in Great Lakes. It’s salt-free and shark-free and enjoyment of it can also be, well, free. Living on its shores is one of the best parts of summer in Chicago. Don’t miss out on these fun ways to enjoy our natural treasure.
There are a few ways kids can learn about Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which has 15 miles of shoreline on the lake. The Beachcomber Junior Ranger worksheets encourage kids to explore the beach and take an hour or less to complete. Kids who finish get a junior ranger sticker. The regular Junior Ranger booklet takes longer to complete and has kids visit different spots in the park. When they’re done, they earn a Junior Ranger badge.
The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is open to the public during the summer. Inside, kids can explore interactive exhibits and check out turtles, fish and snakes. Outside, the Nature Play Zone gives them a chance to explore and return to an old-school style of unstructured nature play with activities like building forts out of driftwood. Visitors can try kayaking (they have kid-sized kayaks) and paddle boarding on Friday afternoons at 1 p.m. at West Beach Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Although she’d like to be taller and have more time to dive into good books, Shannan is awfully happy with her life as a recovering attorney living in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and teen daughter.
See more of Shannan 's stories here.
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