“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
For the Wizard Of Oz lovers, Oz Park is a must on your Lincoln Park bucket list. This park is not your typical park, but rather one dedicated to keeping our favorite children's story alive for both adults and kids.
In 1976, the park was named Oz Park in honor of Lyman Frank Baum–the author of the Wizard of Oz, who settled in Chicago in 1981, only a few miles west of the park. It is 13.32 acres with one walking/biking trail, which is 0.61 miles long, and includes basketball courts, tennis courts, a baseball field, and soccer field. Over the years, the park advisory council has raised more than $16,600 to support and preserve it.
In the early '90s, the Lincoln Park Council had the artist John Keary create a Tin Man sculpture (installed in 1995), later followed by the Cowardly Lion (2001), Scarecrow (2005), and finally, Dorothy with her dog, Toto, in 2007. Each statue sits on a circular "Yellow Brick Road" to further honor the Wizard of Oz.
There are other elements of Wizard of Oz incorporated into the park as well such as the Emerald Garden and Dorothy Playlot. The Emerald Garden came to life in 1994 and 11 years later, the Scarecrow sculpture was added to protect the seventeen-bed perennial garden. Dorothy's Playlot, with contains swings and climbing equipment, is named after not only the Wizard of Oz's character but also the retired gym teacher Dorothy Melamerson, who donated a lot of money to the park.
Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, it is open year-round from 6 AM to 11 PM every day. In the summer, Oz Park shows free outdoor movies and in the fall, there is an annual pumpkin patch.