Remember the movie with Tom Hanks, Gina Davis, and Rosie McDonnel, "A League of Our Own"???? Well, it was about the Rockford Peaches All Women Baseball Team. There is a wonderful museum that you can visit with the history of this famous Baseball Team.....yup, the Rockford Peaches.
Extremely Well Done! Great science exploration museum for kids. They learn while they are trying to play with the various science stations. Great playground area outside in nice weather too! This is a MUST for families. Can't say enough!
Rockford isn't exactly the cultural center of North America, but it isn't it's Siberia either. Among the cultural attractions Rockford has to offer are the Japanese gardens really on Japanese and one art deco garden.
Inexpensive, well maintained and serene, the gardens were designed by the Japanese with their ideas of self contemplation and tranquility. The gardens, especially the newer garden are not in keeping with Zen traditions ( feeding the koi and angelic sculptures prominently displayed) but they are tranquil and relaxing, with built in audio and visual sedatives liek running water and raked gravel gardens. They have a traditional Japanese tea room, a large nmber of Koi (who have been trained to beg for food) and a main hall that is reminiscient of contemporary Japanese style. It really does remind you of modern Japanese baths!
The gardens are beautiful, relaxing, and meditaive. The natural sound sof running or falling water, birds, and wind make for an experience as alien to Rockford as it is common to Japan. Don't miss the Anderson Gadens if you visit Rockford. $6 for adults.
The Er;lander Home Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of Swedish immigration and culture to the Rockford area. They have displays of dolls, furniture, photographs etc. They are open T W Th & F from 1-4 and Sundays from 2-4 so your window of opportunity here is quite small. Their webpage features upcoming local events of a Swedish nature, the biggest of which is Midsommarfest.
All unexpected gems end up taken with a cell phone camera and Carlysle was just such a find. They brew their own beer on premises and have an assortment of 12-15 different brews, with some seasonality. They also serve food like bratwurst and hot pretzels, though I didn't eat. The pub isn't that large, can accomodate maybe 60 people comfortably, more if they squeeze. Sadly, they don't bottle their beer for carry-out, but do offer 'grinders" half gallon jugs at $14 for the first, refillable for $9. This is a true local place. Their beers are served in some local restaurants, but they best, of course, fresh out of the tap. While you're sampling beer, your wife can be in the chocolaterie next door!
Magic Waters is located just outside Rockford, Illinois off I-90/39. Fun for every age, the park features a wave pool, childrens pool, body slides, tube slides, "splash blaster" castaway adventure island, lazy river, food, and plenty of space to just relax and enjoy! Bring the whole family or perhaps just come yourself and relax with a fine book.
I did not download some of the fantastic pictures I have of the theme park, as they show many faces whom may not appreciate being on the internet.
This is one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the world, and its here in Rockford, Illinois.
There is a formal Japanese garden in the style of the Kamakura period, 1185 to 1333 A.D. and
the Guest House, Teahouse, and machiai are 16th century Sukiya style architecture. "The gardens are designed to allow guests to reflect upon the tranquil beauty of nature, to leave the stresses of everyday life, to commune with nature and thus with one's self". (quote from John Anderson)
Also featured is Carl Milles Angel Sculptures, a must to see.
Lucia, the festival of light, is celebrated on December 13th. In Rockford it is the first Saturday of December.
In the early hours of the morning a young woman, dressed in white and wearing a crown of blazing candles, brings light into the dark winter at homes,, serving steaming coffee with ginger biscuits and saffronbread.
There are Lucia processions everywhere and every village elects its own Lucia. The 'Lucia Queen' leads the processions mostly consisting of a group of young girls and boys singing traditional carols. Lucia's day symbolically opens the Christmas celebrations in Scandinavia, bringing hope and light during the darkest months of the year.
In Rockford we celebrate Lucia with a presentation of Lucia at First Lutheran Church. Her court accompanies her and the traditional Swedish songs of Lucia are sung for the audience. In the church we also have a marknad, sell some Swedish Christmas foods and a Kafe Stuga. Our Erlander Home museum is open for tours on that day also.
There are many bountiful areas to fish in and near Rockford. Pierce Lake, Olson Lake, Rock River, Kishwaukee River, Baumann Park in Cherry Valley are to name a few. There are even more places to fish & swim within a 2 hour driving distance.
We recently visited the Discovery Center Museum in downtown Rockford. Although downtown Rockford is pretty shabby, this museum was a nice respite from that. It is a wonderfully designed children's museum which holds the attention of parents too. It features two levels of science experiment exhibits that are interactive. Topics included Human Body, Air Movement, Money Management (sounds boring but was really cool), crafts, a construction site, sports, a pretend UPS shipping center. There was an entire outdoor section that we did not get to visit because it was pouring down rain. There is a planetarium but we opted not to go to that due to our 3 year old's attentian span. The cost was only $5.00 for adults and $4.00 for children. Definitely worth a visit if you're in Rockford, but not worth a long trip.
My family recently spent two days at Magic Waters, a water park in Cherry Valley, Illinois, just 1 mile from Rockford. It is just off the interstate. Candlewood Suites in Rockford offered a package where you pay $115 a night and you get two free tickets to the water park. It has waterslides for everyone of all ages. An awesome wave pool, tube slides, body slides and a little kids section. We spent most of our time in the lazy river. The price was only $13.00 through the hotel (we bought extra tickets) and at the door it is $18.00. There is enough to do there for 2 days, 3 days was pushing it and we decided not to go a third.