So, back when I was a little kid, during the summers, ALL of my Granny’s grandchildren would pile into her car and we would head west on the Eisenhower expressway to Oakbrook Center – which as a kid felt SO FAR AWAY. We always had the pleasure of hanging out in that car while she and whichever child had driven her to the mall darted into stores PAYING BILLS IN PERSON! People – I can’t deal with not having the ability to set it and forget it these days. ESPECIALLY with bills. Oakbrook Center invited my family out for a look at all of their holiday fun, and we weren’t disappointed!
That’s not why I’m writing though. Oakbrook Center has definitely changed with my perspective shift. I’m now a mother, and I see this space as one of marvel for ME. However, for the holidays they have transformed it into an area for holiday fun for the family, and we took advantage today! Yes. I’m actually writing a post about something that we did the SAME week because it was just that amazing. Take a look for yourself. It was a balmy 47 degrees, and perfect for getting out on the ice.
Before I get into what we did, I DO have to talk about this little guy who made fast friends with our kids. I’ve already asked his mother if it was okay that I share him with my readers, and she was fine with it. First of all, he’s three. He skates better than I ever could if I had three years worth of training. Just trust me on this. One of the things that I commented on was the fact that this was how the world needed to be. You step on a ice rink, and everyone is instant friends. No questions asked. It was a marvelous afternoon for sure.
There was something calming about seeing the kids drift lazily across the ice, back and forth, back and forth. They even called out to folks walking alongside the rink to come and join them. Best hype people ever!
When we arrived, we headed to Santa to take our family photo and he was such a jolly old man! What I did love about the experience the most, was the fact that the photographer and Santa engaged the children so that they could get the best photos possible. Lots of questions and silly statements to get the littles to make sure that they were looking in the camera and giving their best poses.
Reservations aren’t required, but you know, the closer it gets to Christmas, the longer you may have to wait in line for your portraits. Packages start at $39.99 and you can check everything out at www.celebrateyourholiday.com You can even save $5 on your packages by reserving your spot with Santa, Monday-Wednesday until December 9th. After you’ve chosen the package you want, you can head to www.SantasNaughtyAndNiceBook.com to add your child to Santa’s Book. If they need a little extra help in getting on the nice list, you can even put in things they can do to sway the big guy.
Afterwards, we headed to The District, Oakbrook Center’s new indoor food court, and had a blast trying all of the new spots. We were treated to our choice of DMK Burger Bar, Cilantro Taco|Grill, Stan’s Donuts, Freshii and a couple of other spots like Porkchop and Pizza Five.
We had the parmesan fries with truffle cream dipping sauce, from DMK Burger Bar, and they were SO GOOD! We also shared a bison burger with goat cheese, pickled onions and blueberry bbq sauce as well. The burger was liked by Mr. Houseful and myself, but may have been a bit too gourmet for the kids. That also may have been the way that I ordered it, so we’ll give it another go the next time we go back. The best portion of that meal to them was the super thick vanilla shake that they enjoyed with spoons instead of straws.
From Cilantro Taco|Grill we had five tacos – which come standard with cilantro and onions, but I opted for cheese on everything. We tried the pastor, adasda, carnitas, lengua, and cesina. Immediately I loved the carnitas, cesina and lengua, but the pastor and asada were perfectly cooked and seasoned as well. I also got a side of the tamarindo agua fresca and my life has forever been changed.
Of course, after you eat, you’ll want to head over and have as much fun on the ice as we did. The Ice Skating Rink is open now until February 28, 2018. The hours are Monday – Saturday 10 – 9 pm and Sunday from 10 – 6 pm. Admission for adults is $9, children 12 and under are $7 and skate rentals come to $5. If you need a bit of help getting into your skates, there’s also someone there to help you! Skates should be snug on your ankles so you don’t roll them. Don’t ask me how I know that. It was a painful realization.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll be back before the season is over. This time, I may join the kids on the ice, AND we’ll remember our mittens. Oakbrook Center is definitely a spot that we can go to snag our holiday gifts and take a load off – all in the same day. And that my friends, is what the holiday season is about. Spending time with family, and making sure that your smile is the biggest it can be.