Calumet ParkEast Side
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This 198-acre park occupies the bend in Lake Michigan where the state of Illinois meets the state of Indiana (a nearby monument marks the exact spot). Besides the beach that comes with this favored location, this vast park also has three major-league-size baseball fields, three Little League fields, seven softball fields, three soccer fields, two football fields, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a jogging track. The dignified-looking fieldhouse has facilities for gymnastics, basketball, and bocce/labocci ball, as well as a woodshop and one of only two upholstery shops in the park district system. In the basement of the fieldhouse is the Lakeshore Model Railroad, an elaborate train set-up that runs 7-9:45 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday and 12:30-4 p.m. on Saturday. The track runs through mountainous landscapes and also through a 1940s-era model of Chicago's East Side. "To me, this is one of the treasures of the city," park supervisor John Durnik said of the 50-year-old model railroad. "As part of their 50th anniversary project, they remodeled everything, updated it. They say they have more track than even the Museum of Science and Industry." Upstairs is the East Side Historical Museum, open from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday. Curated entirely by high school students and volunteers, it includes aerial drawings of the area, photographs of ships and street scenes, a history of the Calumet River, military uniforms worn by Southeast Siders and headlines from the Daily Calumet.