Beat the Heat and Save Some Green: Free Summer Fun for Kids in the Elgin Area

Beat the Heat and Save Some Green: Free Summer Fun for Kids in the Elgin Area
June 12, 2024 Elgin Area CVB

The sun is shining, the days are long, and the urge for adventure is calling! Luckily fun in the summer sun doesn’t have to break the bank. There’s a treasure trove of free activities waiting to be explored in the Elgin area. So, grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, and get ready to make some memories:

Fun in the Park 🛝🌳

Many of the Elgin area park districts are hosting events throughout the summer where you can get your fun on for free.

  • Dundee Township Park District is hosting a Family Fun Night at Huffman Park in West Dundee.
  • Dundee Township Park District is hosting a Community Event and Fireworks in Carpentersville. Plus there are several more fireworks planned for the summer.
  • Bartlett Park District will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a Party in the Park  featuring large backyard games, inflatables, a DJ, crafts, a foam party and more.

And speaking of parks:

  • Dundee Township Park District’s Wahoo Woods offers nature play areas which give children the chance to solve problems and construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration.
  • Hawthorne Hill Nature Center in Elgin also offers an interactive children’s play area as well as a pond where kids can learn to fish, or just appreciate the natural beauty.
  • Whether your kids are looking for indoor or outdoor fun, they’ll find it with a visit to the Bartlett Nature Center. Located in James “Pate” Philip State Park, the nature center itself a variety of reptiles and amphibians, as well as hands-on exhibits. Outside the nature center, visitors will find hiking trails and picnic tables.


Movie fun 🍿📽️

A few area towns are hosting free movies in the park events throughout the summer:

For a full lineup of Elgin’s Movies in the Park, click here.

South Elgin’s Movie in the Park events can be found here.

Library fun 📚

Many local libraries offer free summer reading programs:


And just some of the free library events this summer include:


Town fun ☀️🎉

Several free events are planned:


Animal fun


  • At Pollinatorpallooza, set for June 22, at Randall Oaks Zoo, kids can taste honey, play pollinator games, take home native wildflower seeds have fun with a pollinator parade.
  • The outdoor fenced areas of Lords Park Zoo, located in Lords Park on Elgin’s east side, are home to bison, elk and white tail deer, while during the summer the free zoo gives visitors the opportunity to view farm animals rented from local farms. Of note: this is not a petting zoo.

School fun 🎶🐕

  • District 300 will host its annual Juneteenth Summer Jam featuring games, an art display, music, food and more, in Carpenterville’s Carpenter Park.
  • Canines and comedy collide in the free smash hit Mutts Gone Nuts performance in the Blizzard Theatre at Elgin Community College.


And this list just scratches the surface! Don’t forget to check out all the events on the Explore Elgin Area site.

View the Online
Visitors Guide

Sign Up for the