One of Route 66′s newest attractions is introducing visitors of all ages to the history and fun of this legendary roadway! The Burr Ridge Park District, helmed by Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Pacanowski, has created an immersive new play landscape themed after some of the top attractions found along Historic Route 66.
Located at Harvester Park in Burr Ridge, just a stone’s throw from historic Old Route 66 and conveniently close to I-55, County Line Road and Illinois Rt. 83 Kingery Highway, this amazingly detailed park amenity is already a hit with parents, guardians and Mother Road travelers alike. Simulating a trip along The Mother Road, park goers are treated to an interactive cross-country journey across several pieces of children’s play equipment - all immaculately designed to look like popular roadside stops.
Your journey starts along a tiny version of The First Hundred Miles, where kids can scale ‘The Tower’ - a multi-tiered jungle gym that’s festooned with faux steel girders and radio towers, looking like a certain iconic Chicago structure located near the start of Route 66. The tower, which is one of the park’s most detailed show pieces, allows kids to climb into the ‘sewer system’ of the building (in reality, the lowest tier of the jungle gym) where they can spin simulated water valves and activate mock oversized electrical switches. The next two levels feature slides decorated with local interstate signs. One modest sized slide is perfect for any younger kids, while the second slide provides a more thrilling experience at nearly triple the length and double the height.
This level of care and detail can be found all across the whole park, incorporating classic playground amenities and perfectly pairing them with fun and campy Route 66 theming. Traveling from the Illinois section to the Missouri section, you’ll be greeted with boulders representing the iconic Meramec Caverns. As you continue along the rubber playground flooring designed to look like a two lane blacktop, you’ll find 60 foot long zipline, representing the modern interstate, and a rusted Chevy tow-truck with cartoon eyes - inspired loosely by an iconic Route 66 animated film character.
In the Oklahoma section of the park you’ll find a climbing tunnels that pays tribute to the classic Blue Whale roadside attraction, while in the nearby Texas section you’ll see two spray-painted cars half buried in the ground - a clever homage to Amarillo’s classic public art installation, a fixture of the modern Route 66 road trip.
Next, in the New Mexico section, kids can bounce on top a re-creation of The Blue Hole, a popular stop on the Mother Road that featured a clear blue pool of water, with extensive underwater caves. In the Arizona area, children can take a spin on a Wigwam Motel-inspired rope structure. The Route comes to an end in California, where a pier-themed area allows you to surf on the turf with a springy balance board. At the end of the Route, you’ll find a giant three dimensional Route 66 photo-op sign!
This multi-generational play area is sure to be hugely popular with travelers of all ages - allowing even the youngest road trip enthusiasts to get their kicks on Route 66!
Harvester Park Playground
15W400 Harvester Drive
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Open to the public dawn to dusk