From its entrance, Lockwood Park appears deceptively small. The park actually takes up a sprawling 146 acres of woods, prairie, and parkland featuring winding trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Park your car, bring your picnic, and be prepared to spend the day.
A covered bridge beckons you over a bubbling stream. On the other side you’ll find playground, picnic shelters, and the Children’s Farm complete with Rockford’s only resident mountain goats. My kids especially like to see the pigs who come running from their pens whenever visitors arrive. In and around the barns are swans, ducks, lambs, bunnies, donkeys, a retired race horse, chickens . . . well, you get the idea.
Bet you didn’t know that Gertrude, the Giant Guernsey Cow who stands just inside Lockwood Park, is one of America’s largest fiberglass bovines. She’s 19 feet tall and 21 feet long. Her hefty rump points toward the BMX race track across Safford road; her horned head overlooks the playground. So, if you are one of those folks who likes roadside attractions . . . you gotta come see the cow.
There’s also a night sky observatory on the premises and garden plots that you can rent. But what Lockwood Park is best known for is its Equestrian Center. Riding lessons, hay rides, rodeo shows, and horse camps are favorite activities. All my children have participated in the annual summer week long Saddle Up summer camps where the kids are matched to a horse for a week. They groom, ride, and learn about “their” horse all week long, then show off their skills to friends and family on Friday. My daughters finished their camp last week and will be imagining and discussing their lives as future rodeo queens and/or veterinarians for months.
In the summer, Lockwood Park provides volunteer opportunities for kids 12+ who can do tasks from groundskeeping (if they’re volunteering for the first time) to caring for the horses (if they’ve gone through the volunteer certification program). Contact Lockwood Park for more information regarding their volunteer opportunities at 815-987-8809, or learn more through their website.