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Aurora Parks and Recreation

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Finding a tranquil retreat for rest and recreation in Aurora is as easy as stepping out your front door. There are hundreds of acres of parks, mile after mile of bike and hiking trails, dozens of recreational facilities and programs all in one great city. The most popular recreation spot is the mammoth Phillips Park, which covers more than 300 acres on Aurora’s southeast side. At the park, you’ll explore the magnificent Sunken Gardens that have undergone extensive renovations and tour the Aquatic Center. Come delight in the charming animals — elk, deer, foxes, otters, goats, pot-bellied pigs and llamas — at the Phillips Park Zoo. Probe Mastodon Lake, highly popular with local anglers. Trek the Mastodon Trail or discover the Mastodon Island exhibits at your own pace. Be sure to revel in the beauty of the waterfall or reflect on the World War I cannons and numerous veteran monuments. Kids can run, flip, and spin at the playground, while you entertain family and friends at a picnic pavilion. You can challenge yourself and friends on the 18-hole golf course or use the sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe courts and fishing piers in the summer or the ice skating pond and sledding hill when the snow flies. All this and more is right here waiting for you in Aurora.

The Aurora Department of Parks and Recreation operates several clean, fun and safe parks throughout the city. Located on 28 acres, Garfield Park has two Little League fields, horseshoe courts, a roller hockey rink, a playground, a basketball court, tennis courts, a winter ice skating rink with lights and warming house, and a picnic pavilion and open grassy recreational areas. Also popular is McCarty Park with its romantic gazebo, gardens, benches and shaded areas. Solfisburg Park, whose lighted ball fields see plenty of action, and Wilder Park, with pleasant gardens, a Vietnam Memorial and Aurora Police Memorial. For the little ones, three Totland Parks located throughout the city feature the latest park amenities and safe, fun playground equipment to fuel their imaginations.

If you enjoy mature woodland with an assortment of native shrubs and a wet soil valley, then spend an afternoon absorbed in the splendor of the large oak trees that reside on the 40 acres of the Aurora West Forest Preserve.

Other worthwhile retreats that let you and your family get back to nature include the Fox Valley Park District’s Red Oak Nature Center nestled on the east bank of the Fox River. Surrounded by 40 acres of woods, you’ll enjoy natural history exhibits, several walking trails and the intriguing “Devil’s Cave.”

When it’s time to get wet and wild, be sure to take the family to the Aurora Department of Parks and Recreation’s Splash Country Aquatic Center or the Fox Valley Park District’s Blackberry Farm’s Splash Country Deluxe. These unique water adventure parks have thrilling tube slides, a meandering lazy river, bright pools and fun sand activity areas. Once in the water, your family may not want to leave. When they do, take them for thrills of another kind at the Ultimate Sports Dome, where they can safely race go-karts, take swings in the batting cage, or challenge each other in miniature golf while Mom and Dad “grip it and rip it” at the indoor driving range. If they just can’t get enough, there’s more miniature golf at Smuggler’s Cove, which has a fun, nautical adventure theme.

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