One of the projects I am starting in 2013 is to try to visit all of the 140 or so parks in my hometown. Some parks are very small with just a walking path and some playground equipment. Others include a number of different ball fields and yet others are somewhat large and include a number of different activities.
River Woods Park is the one of the three parks within easy walking distance of my house. There is no parking lot for this particular park but you can park on one of the subdivision streets and enter the park either between houses or off an entrance on Naper Boulevard near Washington.
This particular park consist only of a walking path on or near the banks of the DuPage River. Many years ago part of this area had a large picnic grounds with an 18 hole mini golf course. The grounds are no overgrown, but I have included one picture of one of the uncovered mini golf holes.
Two former stone quarries flank the west branch of the DuPage River as it runs through Naperville. One has been developed into Centennial Beach. The other forms a small lake, which in better weather is where you can rent paddleboats. In this winter-time photo you can see the empty docks.
I have taken several of the Self-Guided Historic Walking Tours that were put together by the Naperville Hertiage Society and Naper Settlement. The walking tours are interesting, have some great local sites and some really cool facts. This is a free activity and you can pick up a copy of one or three of the walking tour pamphlets from the Naper Settlement Library or you could download your own copy. Though the walks might be a little long for some children you can stop and start wherever you want, though the information is short and great for most adults. You might consider doing a little more background on general history to help your little ones get more excitied about the architecture, or life in the midwest. I would tie the downtown walking tour with a trip to Naper Settlement to help the children visual and interact with the local history.
Naperville has had its River Walk since its 150th birthday back in 1982. The original River Walk was a section which headed a little west of downtown Naperville. For the 175th birthday in 2007 the River Walk extended a little more east and south of downtown. But there is more to the river then just the walk. The DuPage River actually has an east and west branch which come close to each other at the intersection of Washington and Naper Blvd. These are some pictures near that intersection.
The center of the food court at Westfield Fox Valley Mall is now occupied by a two tiered carousel, which, fortunately for the nearby diners, doesn't seem to get much business...
The "anchor" stores at Fox Valley are Marshal Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, Sears and J.C. Penneys.
NYC had its 'Gates' project, that filled Central Park with orange gates. In Naperville we have our version of Christo's "Running Fence" -- the usual orange snow fence. This one, near the Millenium Carillon did not see much business this winter!
You will find this sculpture/fountain next to The Promenade cafe. It is titled "Symbiotic Sojourn" and is supposed to represent the recycling of waste materials and the risk to the earth if we don't. A bit heavy handed as civic sculpture!!!
... has very little taste. This is the Millenium Carillon, which was
1. not finished in time and
2. cost lots of money.
It is visible from many parts of the downtown area -- it's biggest plus is that is dwarfs the cellular towers that have sprung up in the area.
It is located a short walk from the Riverwalk.
We visited two homes that were important to our family - the home where my great-grandmother was born in 1881, and the home that my grandmother grew up in (she was born in a hospital).
These two groupings are rather charming -- the project is sponsored by the Naperville United Way as part of its fundraising for the works done by its affiliated service agencies.
This wall is part of an extensive mural on Chicago Ave. near several restaurants. The mural depicts local landmarks and themes.
Here we have a modern version of an old covered bridge that serves to take pedestrians from one side of the riverwalk to the other. This picture was taken from near the "Dandelion Fountain"