Is a family vacation long overdue? This summer, consider spending your days in the Aurora Area for a dose of nature, entertainment centers and waterparks. From kayaking on the majestic Fox River, to conquering the wave pool at a waterpark, to learning the behind-the-scenes of environmental preservation, here are the top things to do with your family in the Aurora Area, of Illinois.
Spend your day in the great Outback by making a splash in Yorkville. Raging Waves is the largest waterpark in the state with 40 acres of Aussie-themed water activities. Both children and adults will have fun choosing from kiddie pools, water slides (19 of them), a wave pool, cabanas and a lazy river. Expect to find quirky water stations such as Koala Kove (slides), Crocodile Mile (family-friendly raft ride) and The Great Barrier Reef (a giant 25,000-foot wave pool). While there, check out the newest attraction, WONAMBI, where your family can tackle a pool with powerful twists and turns.
Splash Country Waterpark is another popular way to take a refreshing dip during the warm days. Located in Aurora, the waterpark is a more laid-back outing with an 1,100-foot lazy river and zero-depth pools (great for small children). Activity centers in the park consist of spray guns, an artificial waterfall and volleyball courts.
Looking for the spot where all the locals go? Check out Phillips Park Aquatic Center, where a large zero-depth pool makes a perfect outing for families. The leisure pool is surrounded by beach chairs and umbrellas, with extra amenities such as a zoo, sunken gardens, playground and a mastodon gallery. For a more beach-like experience, head over to Hall Quarry Beach where you can dig your toes in the sand and explore two islands. The 60,000-square-foot swimming area will make anybody feel like they’re on an authentic beach, where children can test their sandcastle-building skills, as well.
Explore the great outdoors by embarking on a journey through some of the Aurora Area’s bike trails. Bike along with your kids in the Aurora Area’s section of the 43-mile Fox River Trail through a landscape of rolling hills, meadows, lakes and parks filled with a wealth of wildlife. Families are encouraged to look for bald eagles, herons and foxes. The trail passes by dozens of restaurants and cafes, making it easy to take a lunch break anytime with your family.
An alternative biking pathway is the Virgil Gilman Trail, a much briefer route through the area. The 11.2-mile trail goes through wetlands and fields, with wildflower and sycamore trees. Hundreds of species of birds dwell here during the warmer seasons, such as woodpeckers, cardinals and blackbirds.
Why explore the area by foot when you can do it by water? Several local outfitters in the Aurora Area rent out kayaks and equipment, helping make your family adventure on the Fox River an exciting and hassle-free one. Rocktown Adventures will go as far to offer lessons and guided trips for fishing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, while Yak Shack assists families (with older kids) and is along Yorkville’s Bicentannial Riverfront Park.
Kayakers looking to kill two birds with one stone and go fishing during a paddle trip can check out Freeman’s Sports for rods and a temporary license to fish. Another way to get an adrenaline rush with your family and older kids is to tackle the rapids at Marge Cline Whitewater Course. With the assistance of a certified guide, you and your family can experience the thrill you get from conquering these rough waters.
Go back in time to your pioneer roots at Blackberry Farm in Aurora. Hop aboard a hay wagon or take a pedal tractor out for a ride. The farm is a living-history museum with a wide array of fun stations, such as a blacksmith’s shop for learning the art of metal making or the Discovery Barn, with baby livestock animals like piglets and goats. Your family will get a glimpse of what life looked like back in the day by exploring a one-room schoolhouse and venturing inside a pioneer cabin to see replicas of living quarters. Don’t miss treating your kids to a horse-drawn carriage ride around the premise.
Red Oak Nature Center is 40 acres of pristine wilderness for your family to hike through and visit educational centers such as the Wildlife Room, River Cave, Bee Room, and an observation deck for viewing the variety of birds living in these woods. Along the hiking route, you will see signs describing the local flora and fauna, and where to look for them.
In Batavia, Funway Entertainment Center lets you compete with your kids at go-kart racing. The center is a mecca for high-speed kid-friendly sports and bumper cars, along with miniature golf and laser tag. Swing by the arcade room and win a round or two to remind your kids exactly who’s the boss. If you’re in the Sugar Grove area, Family Fun Center is an alternative spot to go-kart race with your kids.
Back in Batavia, Fermilab is the only U.S. Dept. of Energy facility open to the public. Located on more than 6,800 acres, Fermilab brings together science and nature. Guided tours educate about the important science achievements being made at Fermilab and the grounds include bike paths, nature trails, wetlands and fishing ponds. The American Bison herd is a family favorite.
Finally, another way to check out the local nature site is at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, surrounded by towering oak trees and the Fox River. This tranquil location is the perfect site to plan a family picnic and go on a scenic stroll around the park.
These are just some of the ideas of things you can do in the Aurora area with your family this summer. Check out more activities and attractions on our website here, and consider an architecture tour of the area.