Rockford Illinois is a true paradise when it comes to family-friendly activities. It offers great outdoor fun during the sweltering summer season. The city is famous for its scenic views, nature centers, botanical gardens, hiking trails, and more. If you’re looking for the perfect way to spend time outdoors with your family, we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are some fun summer activities in Rockford Illinois for families.

Read on and learn more.

Magic Waters Waterpark

The Magic Waters offers a mix of thrill and paradise for kids and adults alike. You’ll find 11 heart-pounding water slides and world-class attractions to keep you entertained. Adults can take their thrill on the 75 foot double dare drop slide while young children can play in the little lagoon. Other notable features for kids are the dark tunnel tube (Abyss) and Paradise Pipelines. While there, you can take a dip in a large wave pool with more than 700,000 gallons of water. It’s in the middle of the pack and mimics the ocean-sized waves.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

This is a 12-acre landscape that comprises of waterfalls, streams, koi-filled ponds, beautifully trained pines, and winding pathways. Anderson Japanese Gardens is a popular tourist destination that suits people of all ages. Every Thursday, children can create crafts and enjoy special story time at Anderson’s pavilion. On Saturdays, there are wildlife education activities and crafts to keep your kids entertained. Besides that, there are dozens of performances that appeal to all age groups. This is also a great opportunity to learn about Japanese culture. Keep in mind, garden tours are offered twice a day and are tailored to meet your requirements.

Rock Cut State Park

If you’re a nature enthusiast, Rock Cut State Cut has you covered. The park covers over 3100 acres which comprise of 23 miles of bike trails, 40 miles of hiking trails, 14 miles of equestrian, two lakes, and Puri Crest children playground. It’s worth mentioning there are plenty of birds and animals for wildlife lovers. Olsen Beach is suitable for adults and kids above 3 years. At the concession stand, you’ll find snacks and beach toys for your kids.

Adults can enjoy activities like mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, swimming, and more. While there, the kids will get entertained at the playground. There are a lot of fun activities for kids including a 2-level play structure, pull-up bar, Maze game built-in, swing set, two slides, and a water fountain. This playground is shielded with trees to protect the kids from the hot sun.

Severson Dells Nature Center

There are a number of activities to inspire your kid’s love for nature. Kids between the ages of 12-16 can enjoy the blazing paddles. This is basically an outdoor adventure that helps kids to learn paddling techniques and about local plants and animals. Also, you can engage your child’s creativity by discovering the factual elements nature has to offer. The young ones (kids between 4-6 years) are not left behind. They can explore every part of Severson Dells and get their hands dirty. Most of these activities are aimed at getting the kids out of the screens and explore nature. Adults can go on guided walks, so be prepared to be awed by the beauty of Rockford Illinois.

Volcano Falls Adventure Park

This is a family-friendly mini golf course built around a towering volcano. It features a variety of hole-types to ensure both kids and adults have fun. There are two separate courses each with 18 holes for any skill level. But what is even more interesting is that guests can enjoy laser maze and laser tag. Without a doubt, you’ll find something outrageously fun to do that you’ll never want to leave.

Forest City Queen Riverboat

How about enjoying some time in the water during the summer? Well, Forest City has a lot to offer. With a guided tour, you can get a better view of Rockford by learning about the prehistoric buildings and parks along the river. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about marine life. The boat has been in service since 1979 and offers tours throughout the summer season.

UPDATE: Forest City Queen is CLOSED for the 2019 season, due to budget cuts approved by the Rockford Park District’s executive leadership team and the board of commissioners.

Rockford Speedway

If you’re looking for family fun during the weekend, Rockford Speedway should be your best bet. To ensure the entire family is involved, there are always some events to attract the young ones. There are monster trucks, racing action, fireworks, and other affordable family fun. Some of the major events to watch out include National Short Truck Championships, Original Trailer Race of Destruction, Night of Champions, and the Bracket Nationals. Kids under the age of 11 are allowed in for free.

Rockford City Market

This is an open-air market that showcases local fruits & vegetables, animal products, and baked foods. Guests stop to listen to local music as they enjoy their favorite cuisines. Every Friday evening, you’ll find lots of kid activities. One famous game is using PVC pipes to get a ball into a bucket. Other fun activities include hula hoops and bubbles. Of course, there are plenty of vendors selling kid-friendly snacks like hot dogs.

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

This botanic garden has a hidden treasure for both kids and adults. The 155-acres are filled with rare trees and there is beauty in every season. During summer, you can smell the beauty of fragrant magnolia trees. And at any given time, you’ll find thousands of visitors looking to have some good time. However, it’s best if you visit the garden during summer when the trails are cleared for cross country skiers and walkers. There is 1.8 mile of paved path and unpaved woody trails waiting for you. Kids will have a good time navigating the maze in the children’s garden. Recently, a new water feature was unveiled for kids to climb on.

No Joke Mixed Martial Arts

Alright—we’ve tried our best to stay humble, but we’d be mistaken if we didn’t mention some of the fun summer activities right here at “Rockford’s leader in fitness and fun!” This year, we are celebrating our 15th Annual Summer Camp with new themes and fun activities. We have been hard at work planning for this year’s 10 action-packed, week-long camps. Check out this page for more information.

Last but not least, we can’t end a summer without No Joke’s Annual Summer Picnic. We are known for our yearly Black Belt Ceremony, potluck, water games, and even an all-out food fight!

If you’re looking for a remarkable way to spend your summer, Rockford Illinois has you covered. Whether you’re in the company of teens or kids, there are plenty of activities for the entire family. Start planning for your visit now!