Thursday, August 16, 2012

Places to Go--Waukegan Public Library

One morning, Bitty Girl and I were up in Waukegan, waiting for a friend to finish some business at the County Courthouse.  Things were taking a little longer than we had anticipated, and we found ourselves wandering around looking for a place to be.  Realizing that the city library was just next door, we thought we'd head over and spend time reading books. 

We struck gold.

  The children's library is downstairs, but don't let that turn you off.  THIS is what we found:

 Can you believe it?  This place is a free children's museum!  There were six zones in this side of the library!  (The entire children's section is triple this size.  Rows upon rows of books just waiting to be loved.)

The librarian told us that the theme changes every year.  This year, it is All About Bugs.  As you enter, you are greeted by an enormous display of sunflowers and a giant bee.  I'm telling you, it's worthy of Fifth Avenue.  The activities surround you at this point, with sections to the right, left and behind you.  

Behind where you now stand, there is a stage complete with a green screen and props.  There is a TV where and sitting area where you can watch your own performance.  They said kids put on informal plays there and everything.  Awesome.  Right next to that is the arts and crafts table, big enough to fit 16 kids easy, and supplies, including paper, crayons, smocks, paint, etc.  To be honest, we whizzed right past this part, so I can't even remember everything it offered.

Immediately to the right of the main display is a sweet little section for the wee ones.  It's sort of like a playpen enclosed by benches for moms.  It has a padded floor toy and other items, but the great thing is that you can keep an eye on your littlest treasure while the bigger one runs off into the Imaginatorium (my title, not theirs!).  It includes a play kitchen, a wall-mounted calculator, building block table, and Bitty Girl's favorite, this amazing marble rolling machine.  Laying your hand on different pads set marbles in corresponding areas into motion, with a motorized return system to keep the fun rolling.  Very cool. 

Left of Mr. Bee's display was Bitty Girl's favorite area.  Here she lost herself in books, puzzles, and a large scale beehive climbing toy.  There was also a computer ready for her artistic masterpiece, a bug table manipulated by magnets, and a wall mounted CD player that she could control.  So great for such an independent little toddler.  :)

 In the main section of the library, we found a little puppet theater and about a dozen puppets.  She had a lot of fun getting them on and trying to make them move.  We each put on a few performances for each other, and then headed back to the Bugs.  She had so much fun that when it was time to go, this is what I got:

So, the SnippySnaps rating for the Wauconda Public Library:

Parking was either in the garage next door or metered on the street, which earns a 4 in my book, as I am not used to paying for the library.  I didn't check if they give tokens, though, so maybe they deserve a 5-star after all.  Location is great, right next to courthouse, but still all the way up in Wauconda: 4 stars.  The value rating is a no-brainer 5 stars, and our overall experience earned 5 stars.  We can't wait to go up and see the new theme this winter!

Hooray for the Library!!

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