What’s to Like About Rockford: Lockwood Park

Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

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.

Children's Farm, Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Children’s Farm, Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

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.

Why yes, that is a giant cow. Lockwood Park, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Why yes, that is a giant cow. Lockwood Park, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

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.

Willie, Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 26, 2013

Willie, Lockwood Park, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 26, 2013

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.

5 thoughts on “What’s to Like About Rockford: Lockwood Park

  1. Hasn’t every kid had their picture taken by Gerturde? I didn;t even know that was the cow’s name. We used to always take a picnic lunch and play on the playground there. Pony rides on the weekends too. Lockwood Park is great.

    • You’re right advantage9, the playground is a good one with lots of shade and places to sit. I wish I had a better picture of the cow showing it’s height in proportion to people. When kids stand next to her, their heads only come up to her belly 🙂

  2. You tell ’em KB! What could possibly be controversial about Lockwood Park? A disgruntled employee perhaps?

    I’m enjoying your Rockford series. Reminds me of some of the places I haven’t been to in a while that I need to revisit. Keep the posts coming.

    • I don’t know the circumstances SlimJim, and won’t hypothesize, but I wanted the commenter (and any future anonymous commenters) to know my reasons for not posting his/her comment.

      Thanks for the kind words about the blog. 🙂

  3. Dear Anon:

    Your recent comment on 8/7/13 on the post What’s to Like About Rockford: Lockwood Park was held in the moderation queue because you did not identify yourself with a name and you gave a false e-mail address. Due to an automatic spam filter all anonymous comments and fake e-mail addresses are thrown into the spam folder.

    I can retrieve your comment manually, but your comment presents some harsh accusations. Since I am not an investigative reporter, I cannot verify whether they are truthful. My blog is really not the place for these accusations and I am not comfortable displaying them.

    My post was regarding my own family’s experience and basic information regarding the park, where to get more information if people are interested. If you read the entire series, it’s based on an argument I’m having with my husband: he wants to move away from Rockford and the kids and I don’t, so each month I add to the list of things to like about Rockford to encourage him to want to stay. My blog is primarily light-hearted and family-oriented, not controversial. I am a children’s book author. My audience is parents of the kids who read my work, the kids themselves, my students, and other writers.

    So I am sorry, but I will not be displaying your comment. My blog. My turf. My rules.

    Thank you for your interest in Blog for the Morbidly Thoughtful,
    Sincerely,
    Karin Blaski

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