Online registration for Chicago summer day camps and kids' programs kicked off at 9 a.m. Monday with record registation numbers.
The site didn't crash this year, but there was plenty of traffic. By 12:30 p.m., the district registered 20,000 people. That's about 5,000 more than last year.
"There's 18,000 slots still available city-wide," said Michael Kelly, the general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. "If you didn't get your first choice, and many people on the north side don't, if you didn't get your first choice, go to your second choice. Often times there's a great program, very similar, only three or four blocks away from your house."
While there weren't any official site problems, Kelly noted the slowness of the site was "something we need to work on."
Still haven't signed up? To speed up the process, the Chicago Park District has some advice.
Creating an account in advance and setting up a wish list can save some time on the first day of registration. And because of the high traffic, the park district also recommends that online users be patient ahead of potentially long wait times.
If the screen shows the message "please wait," for example, patrons are encouraged to wait it out. Leaving the page or hitting refresh may cause them to lose their place in line, the district says.
If kids don't get into the program or location they want right away, they should consider two options: look at another location a few blocks away or on the way to work, or register in person on Saturday, April 14. Waiting lists are also available.
Contact your local park, visit the Chicago Park District website or call 312-742-PLAY for more information.