by David Galantowicz, Take 2 Blogger
With a slight breeze and the sun gently smiling overhead, what better way to spend a summer day than by enjoying the pageantry and wonder of Arlington International Racecourse. Our family goes there at least once a season to enjoy the outdoors and the excitement of seeing the decorated thoroughbreds race.
Having some experience has its advantages as we knew to be queued up just before the gates open so that we could secure a shaded spot with a picnic table near the restrooms and refreshment area. We set up camp and enjoyed the cooler full of goodies that the park encourages us to bring.
We attended on a Sunday, which is family day at the track. Our children, Jake(8) and Chelsea(4), enjoyed all of the peripheral activities taking place. There were several activities that kept the kids occupied from pony rides to petting zoos. Legoland also had an exhibit that day and
he kids were able to craft their own creations.
Racing time became family time as well as we walked over to the paddock to watch the horses. We each assessed the horses to our own criteria. Being analytical, I took into consideration the trainer’s previous winning percentage. My wife Esther chose her horse based on the horse’s winning history. My 8 year old son selected the horse with the silliest name. My 4 year old daughter chose the horse based on the on the one that looked “the coolest” or whichever one was wearing blue.
Before I went to Arlington for the first time, I perceived horse tracks to be places where old men in polyester sports coats and fedora’s would be smoking cigars. Nothing could be further than the truth. Arlington had numerous families with small children with vast areas that are available to patrons and are maintained immaculately.
On our recent visit, my son’s friend Griffin also came along. The two of them loved walking around the grounds eating their Dippin Dot’s, drinking their lemonade, and being in a fun, action filled environment. My daughter loved the horses and the pomp of them parading through the corridor to the track. All of the children got a thrill standing next to the gates by the finish line cheering their horse.
Esther and I did enjoy the gambling aspect of Arlington. We won a few races but ended up down for the day. However, we came ahead by enjoying a special family day at the racecourse.
by Jake, age 8
“Arlington was awesome! I loved seeing the horses race. My favorite part was picking the horses.I am going to help my mom and dad win so they can buy me my own horse.”
by Chelsea, age 4
“My favorite part was the horse race. The horses were cool. I liked the petting zoo and Legoland. It was fun to feed the animals out of my hand.
For more things to do in Chicago Northwest, check out our Play page!”