Skate, sled, hike and explore the great outdoors
Lace up your skates. Dust off your sleds. Strap on your skis. No matter what your desire for winter fun, the St. Charles Park District encourages families to get outside and explore winter activities throughout your community.
And with two sledding hills, four ice rinks, 1,450 acres of public open space and 11 natural areas, plus 20 miles of trails, the district has you covered. According to the District’s most recent Comprehensive Master Plan, 74.2% of residents have access to a park resource within one mile of where they live.
“Being outside – even when the temperature dips – has so many physical and mental benefits,” said Mike Kies, Superintendent of Recreation. “Physical activity outdoors helps improve your metabolism, energy and immune system. Fresh air and sunshine also help provide higher levels of oxygen and give you a dose of vitamin D.”
Especially during the current pandemic, Kies stressed the importance of fulfilling your mental well-being. “Exploring and moving outdoors reduces stress, improves mood and enhances your creativity – to name a few benefits. Not to mention the importance of connecting with family and making memories.”
Skating & Sledding
Whether your children are skating newbies or want to practice their spins, you don’t have to go far to find a rink nearby. Located at Davis, Lincoln and Timber Trails parks, you and your family can skate anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. And don’t worry about pick-up hockey games interfering with your family time. Ice Hockey is only allowed at Langum Park. All rinks are free and lit at night.
Don’t let the winter fun stop there. Grab your saucers, toboggans, snowboards and tubes to slip and slide down the hills at Timber Trails and Langum parks, because when there’s snow, there’s sledding. The hills are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily but are not equipped with night lights.
To check on the current status of these winter locations, sign up for the District’s Rainout Line to receive notices on if they are open or closed. It’s important to note that Pottawatomie Park is not a sledding hill. Sledding and snowboarding are prohibited at this location.
Trails & Natural Areas
With 20-plus miles of trails to walk, bike or cross-country ski, make an afternoon to explore and take in the wintery landscape, listen and watch for the birds and other animals that don’t migrate or hibernate during the cold months. Many of these trails wind through community parks and natural areas and also join up with regional paths such as the Fox River Trail and Great Western Trail.
“Snow is a wonderful time to experience nature”, says Ecological Restoration Supervisor Ryan Solomon. A few ideas for family winter fun include making a bird feeder, going icicle hunting, studying animal tracks or enjoying a winter picnic.
For a unique family experience in a natural area, explore the diverse landscape of Hickory Knolls while reading the newly installed walk-and-read children’s story: “Hickory Knolls: A History of Our Home”. The story follows Harley the hawk and his friend Greta the grasshopper as they explore the land and meet many of their animal and insect friends along the way.
If you’re looking for an organized activity, give back to nature by volunteering in one of the park district’s natural areas. The tasks vary by location and season. Email Ryan Solomon to learn more at email@example.com.
Counting your steps or working on a fitness goal? Ten of the community parks include walking maps complete with mileage loops including River Bend Community, East Side Sports Complex, Mt. St. Mary, Delnor Woods, Fox Chase, Pottawatomie, Primrose Farm, James O. Breen, Hunt Club and Harvest Hills parks.
The park district encourages residents to continue following COVID-19 restrictions while outside including maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet; practicing good hygiene; and staying home if you’re not feeling well.
For more information about winter activities, visit www.stcparks.org