Don’t think cold and snow yet: You can still swing, slide and climb your way through fall. Especially now that there’s a brand new park and playground to explore. The Chicago Park District has just opened Park 574 in the near West Community area, just five minutes from Garfield Park Conservatory. The destination park has a rolling landscape and lots (we mean lots) of bells and whistles.

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The Lay of the Land
Park 574 sits on the previously vacant 2.27-acre site adjacent to the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) Rockwell Gardens development. The new park was part of a land exchange with the CHA in 2008. It’s a stomping ground for neighborhood kids and has lures you don’t find at the average park (a zip line, a 22-foot-long slide), making it worth the trip if you are coming from other parts of town.

Features like stepping-tone stools are great for the preschool crowd. There are also plenty of challenging pieces of play equipment, including multiple climbing features, pommel horses and rings. The topography itself stands out — kids can pad safely across rubberized soft surfacing that goes on an incline. Trot to the top for sweeping views of the playscape below before whizzing down the mega-slide. The slide is wide enough for grownups to tackle and, we admit, it’s tempting.

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Around the Playground
Once you’ve gotten your monkey business taken care of, explore the park’s one-mile walking trail that has multiple fitness equipment stations along the way. There’s also a natural stone spray feature and a large open lawn area that can be used for concerts, picnics and other park activities.

If you’re looking for year ’round activities, drop by nearby Skinner Park for after-school programs, a gymnasium, open basketball and badminton nights, and an indoor swimming pool where you can take lessons.

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Will you drop by this new park? What other local parks do you love? Let us know in the Comments!

Park 574
Open daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
2540 W. Jackson Blvd.
Garfield Park
312-746-5560
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

— Kelly Aiglon