Karen King is a self-deprecation specialist who writes about her parenting misadventures on her blog: mom-mom-mom. The blog’s name was inspired by her son’s version of water boarding: repeating “mom” in the same tone until her ears bleed. You can also find her gabbing on Facebook.
Karen’s Family Travel Tip My biggest car travel tip: a cooler that doesn’t leak, chargers for all electronics and a box with random games, books and crafts that your kids forgot about. The “License Plate” and “Who Can be Quiet the Longest” games only kill about five minutes with my family.
Karen’s Favorite Family-Friendly Chicago Destinations Like my family, our summer excursions are a little off-beat! I am too impatient and short to deal with crowds so we try to seek out alternatives to the tourist traps.

  • Air and Water Rehearsal Show at Ohio Street Beach (400 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL) – We play hooky from work on the Friday before Chicago’s Air and Water show and are treated to the amazing feats and deafening sounds of the daredevils above. The Ohio Street Beach is a hidden gem near cheap parking and away from all the crowds (and people who WANT to be seen in their swim suits). The sand is clean and the skyline views are incredible. Bring a cooler and beach chairs.
  • The Willowbrook Wildlife Center (525 S. Park Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, IL) – This incredible nature center helps care and rehabilitate injured wildlife in their ICU. Those that can’t be released are cared for on their 50-acre property. The animals can be found inside the visitor center along with a nursery and kitchen where their food is prepared. Outside, the animal trail winds around cages of well-cared-for animals that are treated with dignity and are a big source of inspiration. Check out the Center’s wish list of supplies that are always needed like Puppy Chow and Cheerios. There’s also a spot for picnic lunches.
  • Harvard Milk Days (Harvard, IL) – My husband grew up in Harvard, the Milk Center of the World and home to Harmilda, the famous fiberglass cow in the middle of town. Taking place the first weekend of June, Milk Days is one of the longest running festivals in Illinois — 71 years in fact!  Highlights include a two+ hour parade (we have prime spots each year on the Milky Way), carnival, Kiddy Parade, bed races, petting zoo and catching up with the most friendly, genuine people in the world. A true slice of Americana.


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