Picnics & Permits

  • Picnics & Permits

The spacious parks of the Elmhurst Park District offer individuals and groups ideal sites for picnicking. Picnickers will enjoy the natural beauty of the parks as well as the conveniences and facilities provided in various picnic areas by the Park District.

Individual Sites

Many parks in the Elmhurst Park District have areas designated for small group picnics. These individual picnic areas can accommodate a family or group of up to eight people. Usually, these picnic areas feature one permanent picnic table on a concrete pad and a nearby grill. Reservations are not taken for these picnic areas - they are available on a first-come, first served basis.

Special Use Permits

Special use permits are required for requesting use of a special activity or large-scale events (i.e. craft fair, parade, run/walk, concerts, events with tents/structures, etc.) Applications must be approved by the executive director. A non-refundable usage fee will be charged per priority use as well as a refundable security deposit. A certificate of insurance naming the Park District as additional insured must be on file before a permit is issued. Call (630) 993-8900 for detailed information. Download the Special Use Permit form. Email application to registrationatepd.org (registration[at]epd[dot]org).

Large Group Picnics

Large group picnic areas are available at Berens Park, Salt Creek Park and Wilder Park. Large groups can be guaranteed exclusive use of designated picnic areas by making a request online or you can download and fill out the Picnic Permit Application. Email application to registrationatepd.org (registration[at]epd[dot]org).

It may not be possible to place every group in the area of their choice because of scheduling conflicts between picnickers, park users and neighboring residents. District staff will work with your group to find a suitable area.

School Picnics/Field Days

Elmhurst parks provide an excellent locale for school picnics, field days and special events. School Permits are available at no charge for those school groups residing within Elmhurst. The fee for non-resident schools is $50. Authorized name, signature and designation of both the applicant and a school official are necessary when completing the application. Applicable site plans and/or details should be included. A certificate of insurance naming the Elmhurst Park District as a “Certificate Holder” and “Additional Insured” must be attached. Completed forms may be emailed to registrationatepd.org (registration[at]epd[dot]org).

Picnic Permits and Fees

Each year, requests for large group picnic permits for resident groups are accepted beginning the first business day in January. Applications will be accepted until 8 am on the third Monday in January and processed by random draw. Once this procedure is completed, resident requests will be processed daily in the order received. Requests can be made online or you can download and fill out the Picnic Permit Application. Email application to registrationatepd.org (registration[at]epd[dot]org).

Requests from non-resident groups will be accepted and processed beginning the first business day in February. Reservations are only available for large group picnics scheduled from mid-May until the end of October.

Picnic Area Fees Resident Non-Resident
Weekend/Holiday Shelters $111 $170
Weekday Shelters $45 $160
Weekend/Holiday Picnic Areas $89 $150
Weekday Picnic Area Free $140
Elmhurst Schools - Weekday Free N/A
Non-Resident School Groups - Weekday N/A $50


All permits will require a $100 refundable deposit regardless of residence status. Refunds will be issued 5-7 business days after rental. Permit fees are charged for reserved picnics on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Non-resident groups are charged the regular fee throughout the week and non-resident school groups will be charged $50 for each picnic site.

To receive the resident rate for the permit, the person applying for the permit must be an EPD resident and must be present at the picnic site. Non-resident groups are charged a slightly higher fee. A separate fee will be charged for the picnic shelter at Butterfield and Salt Creek Parks. Refunds will not be issued for cancellation, inclement weather, etc.

Picnic Area Capacity

The Park District has established a picnic area carrying capacity for each group picnic area. This carrying capacity (see charts) is the approximate maximum number of picnickers which an area is able to accommodate and the appropriate number of tables, grills, and barrels that are placed in each picnic area. Each large group picnic site is located within walking distance to water and restrooms.

Location Area Capacity Tables Grills Barrels Restrooms Play Area
Wilder Park Area #5 - Yellow 50 17 1 2 Yes Yes
Wilder Park Area #6 - Blue 50 18 1 2 Yes Yes
Wilder Park Area #7 - Green 50 24 1 2 Yes Yes
Berens Park Area #4 - Red 35 19 0 2 Yes Yes
Salt Creek Park Area #1 - Red 50 20 2 2 Yes Yes
Salt Creek Park Shelter #3 - Green 150 39 2 5 Yes Yes
Butterfield Park Shelter #9 - Red 40 10 1 3 Yes Yes


Picnic Area Regulations

Applications for resident large picnic group permits will be accepted the first business day in January. Applications will be accepted until 8 a.m. on the third Monday in January and processed by random draw. Picnic shelters and picnic areas can be rented between 8:00 a.m.-Dusk seven days a week from May-October.

A completed application, signed waiver, rental fee, and deposit must be submitted prior to the requested rental date. In some cases, a Certificate of Insurance is required. 

Approved Permits must be picked up in person at Wagner Community Center, 615 N West Avenue, Elmhurst, IL, 60126.

All rules, regulations and directions of the Park District Park Ambassador or his/her representative must be followed. Permit holders are responsible for planning and supervising the event in accordance with park district ordinances. Failure to do so may result in withholding of deposit. The Park Ambassador/District staff has the authority to implement and enforce rules that are more stringent or supplement those listed here:

  1. The applicant submitting a request must be a minimum of 21 years of age. Permit holder is responsible for the conduct of the members of their group.
  2. The Park District does not grant refunds due to weather conditions or cancellations.
  3. Permit holders have priority over non-permitted groups. If a problem occurs, contact the Wagner Community Center at (630) 993-8900 or the Park Ambassador at (630) 675-4491.
  4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed to drive into the park. This includes unloading of supplies and any event setup that is required.
  5. Food trucks are not permitted in the parks.
  6. All bounce houses and inflatables are not permitted in the parks.
  7. Alcohol, tobacco use, and controlled substances are prohibited in all district parks.
  8. To prevent fires and damage to property, wood fires (campfires) and fire pits are prohibited on district property.
  9. Portable grills are permitted in the parks. Charcoal grills must be 22.5 inches or less in diameter and are only permitted in locations with coal bins. Coals must be completely extinguished and placed in the coal bins provided by the district. Gas grills must have a tank less than 20 pounds. Do not place grills onto picnic tables.
  10. Park code does not allow for amplified sound or other equipment to be brought into a park without specific written permission . If a Park District staff member determines the volume is at an unreasonable level or is offensive to others, event organizer(s) will be required to lower or discontinue the noise.
  11. Park District staff may order entertainment or any portion of event activities to end if it incites or has the potential for unruly or risky behavior.
  12. Photos and videos are periodically taken of people participating in Park District programs and activities. All persons registering for Park District programs/activities, or using Park District property thereby agrees that any photograph or videotape taken by the Park District may be used by the Park District for promotional purposes including its promotional videotapes, brochures, flyers and other publications without additional, prior notice or permission and without compensation to the participant.
  13. Any and all rules/regulations/laws/ordinances of federal, state, local and/or Elmhurst Park District will be followed.
  14. The permit holder is responsible for seeing that areas are left in a clean and orderly condition. Remove all trash from Park District property and/or place trash into the appropriate receptacles. Recycle bins are also provided. Patrons are responsible for removing any signs, streamers, banners, balloons, etc. Security deposit or portion thereof will be returned after inspection and determination by a Park District representative that the permitted area is in the same condition as it was prior to rental.
  15. Parks close at dusk.

Park Ambassador

The park ambassador will be on duty from April through October to assist residents within the parks, monitor park policies and oversee activity at the picnic areas. You may spot a park ambassador in uniform (bright red Park District shirt). For information about the program or to speak to a park ambassador regarding park issues, call (630) 675-4491 or email parkambassadoratepd.org (parkambassador[at]epd[dot]org).