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.

Where I’m Headed

Little Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota Photo taken on: September 21st, 2012 by Steven Prorak

Little Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota
Photo taken on: September 21st, 2012 by Steven Prorak

Beautiful isn’t it? I can’t wait! It’s another road trip, but this time to the North Woods of Minnesota, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

My trip to the North Woods of Minnesota is last minute, and is coming right off the back of my road trip south to Myrtle Beach. So, unfortunately, no “What’s to Like About Rockford” post for the month of June, because basically, I haven’t spent much of June in Rockford. Just unpacking and repacking. By the way, what one takes to the beach is not the same as what one takes to the woods.

I’ll do two “Rockford” posts in July to make up for it though, I promise 🙂

And a post about road trips. I have a lot to say about road trips.

And maybe something cool will happen on my trip North. I’m always open to cool.

Photograph © Steven Prorak

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 🙂