What’s to Like About Rockford: Magic Waters Water Park

Magic Waters, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Magic Waters, Rockford, IL, Photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Okay, so it’s the hottest day of the year. Heat index 101, heat advisory in effect. What’s the family of four to do?

Go to the water park of course. It’s half price Wednesday, why not? $12 to get in. A few thousand of us lunatics lined up at 10am, July 17 to spend the day alternating between baking in the sun, dashing for our scraps of shade, and diving into heavily chlorinated water.

If you live any where near Rockford, you really need to take advantage of Magic Waters. Crammed onto 48 acres are attractions for daredevils to toddlers. I’m a lazy river fan, but my girls love Typhoon Terror (daddy takes them) a partially enclosed slide you ride with 2, 3, or 4, that spins you nearly upside down. On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being “Relax” and 5 being “Makes You Scream,” Typhoon Terror is rated 5.

Managed by the Rockford Park District, the Magic Waters park rates are inexpensive. The park even allows you to bring in one cooler per family, so you can save by not having to purchase the park food. Additional coolers can be brought in at $10 each. We usually splurge and rent a cabana which includes a refrigerator stocked with bottled water, a ceiling fan, eight free tubes (normally you have to rent these if you want unlimited laps in the lazy river), a private entrance into the lazy river, a satellite T.V., patio furniture with table, and a locker with key. It’s $100, but if you split the cost with another family, it’s well worth it.

My only, only caveat, is you must time your restroom breaks. Especially us girls, ’cause as is the case with most public venues, there are not enough ladies restrooms. Right after lunch, there were lines a block long. IMHO, another restroom at Magic Waters would be money well spent = fewer people peeing in the pools = less money spent on chlorine. It’s the business woman in me; always thinking of the “bottom” line.

Tiki Island at Magic Waters, Rockford, IL, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Tiki Island at Magic Waters, Where more adults stand under the dumping bucket than kids, Rockford, IL, photo by Karin Blaski, July 17, 2013

Restroom issue aside, we love Magic Waters. Even before we lived in Rockford, we made a summer weekend day trip to enjoy this award winning Water Park. The park is smoke and alcohol free. The season is June 8 through August 25 (closed August 19 – August 23). Hours 10am-6pm, except Mondays and Fridays when they stay open until 9pm.

What’s to Like About Rockford: The Sinnissippi Bike Path

The Sinnissippi Bike Path, Along the Rock River, Facing South

The Sinnissippi Bike Path, Along the Rock River, Facing South

The Sinnissippi Bike Path is more of a walking, jogging, running path than a biking path. Only two bikers zoomed by during the ninety minutes I was there taking pictures with my two daughters. Like most bikers, when I bike I like to take paths frequented with less foot traffic. But for those of us on our feet, the path is perfect.
"They said this was the walking path."

“They said this was the walking path.”

Nestled against the Rock River, the paved path is dotted with sculptures and park benches. The path includes entrances that meander around a lagoon with swan, through several gazebos with rose garden, and they bring you right up close to the new Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens. The grounds are mowed, litter free, and the path is well maintained. And this time of year, everything is green and blooming.
Heading south on the Sinnissippi Path, May 31, 2013.

Heading south on the Sinnissippi Path, May 31, 2013.

You never know who you’ll meet during your journey: parents getting their kids out of the house for a dose of vitamin D, every breed of leashed dog imaginable, geese exercising their goslings, and a fisherman or two. We watched this guy reel in a whopper, although since this particular fish came out of the Rock River, I probably would have put him back instead of frying him up.
Big Fish

Big Fish, yes! Big Meal? Not out of this river.

The Sinnissippi Bike Path is easy to get to, you can see it from North Second/Rt 251 and finding a place to park is a breeze. Parking is available near the YMCA and there are parking lots off of North Second Street. There is no charge to enjoy this lovely spot.
Who Knew Rockford Could Be So Pretty?

Who Knew Rockford Could Be So Pretty?

Photographs (C) Karin Blaski 5/31/2013

What’s to Like About Rockford: The Chicago Rockford International Airport


So I took one of my classes on a field trip last week for a behind the scenes look at the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

I’ve flown out of this airport for family vacations to Florida and an occasional trip to Vegas and I have to tell you there is no simpler way to travel. First, there’s free parking mere steps away from the terminal. Security is efficient, respectful, and dare I say, “nice”. And there’s only one baggage carousel on the way back to choose from. You’re definitely not getting lost at this airport. Did I mention the conveniently close free parking?

But during our tour I learned some fascinating history. Like the airport was once home to Camp Grant used in both WWI and WWII, the latter as a POW camp. This is the same Camp Grant that Colonel Potter refers to in several M*A*S*H* episodes.

When we came back from the field trip, one of my students who couldn’t attend, asked me if our tour guide told us about the “ghosts”?


Some say parts of the grounds are haunted. Well the writer in me had to follow up on that little tidbit and apparently over 1,000 soldiers died at Camp Grant during the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918. I guess the spirits like to mess with the guys in the firehouse. Or maybe it’s some spirited guys in the firehouse messing around. In either event, sounds like the BONES of a good story, no?

The Chicago Rockford International Airport: a historical gem in our own backyard. With free parking of course 🙂