While winter brings dreams of outdoor concerts at RiverEdge Park and making a splash at Raging Waves, you can find plenty of fun things to do when it snows. We turned to our local park districts and attractions for guidance on how to embrace the cold weather and enjoy outdoor adventure in the Aurora Area. Here's a quick guide to get you going.
Every kid's favorite wintertime activity, sledding is widely available at parks throughout the Aurora Area. Fox Valley Park District parks Lincoln Park and McCullough Park offer gentler, scenic rides suitable for small children and beginners, while Waubonsie Lake Park is an intermediate, semi-steep hill. Thrill-seekers love the big hill on 5th Avenue in Aurora, Illinois at Oakhurst Forest Preserve — the hill at this Kane County Forest Preserve site offers some of the steepest sledding in the region.
Bring your favorite saucer, bobsled, or snow tube to Oswegoland Park District properties Prairie Point Community Park, Northampton Park, Chesterfield Park, Ogden Falls Park, Deerbrook Park, and Community Park at Grande Park.
Walking tours of the Farnsworth House
This winter, enjoy exterior tours of the Farnsworth House, an icon of American design located right here in the Aurora Area. A snowy, tree-lined wintertime hike along the Fox River takes you to the house, where you can take in scenic views of Mies van der Rohe's elegant design from all angles. Perfect for photographers, birdwatchers, fans of architecture & design, and anyone just looking for a pleasing wintertime stroll in a magnificent natural setting. Learn more at farnsworthhouse.org, or find listings every Friday & Saturday on our events calendar.
Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Fresh powder means two more great options for outdoor adventure on our trails and in our parks — no lift ticket required. Enjoy scenic wood-lined paths on the Fox River Trail and Virgil Gilman Trail, both recently highlighted by the Chicago Tribune as must-visit "rails-to-trails" outdoor paths for recreation. Waubonsie Lake Trail is a network of paths on Aurora's east side that offer mild grades and a great exercise. And Stuart Sports Complex offers ample room for cross-country skiing with nearly 400 acres of flat fields to carve.
No gear? No problem. Red Oak Nature Center offers snowshoe rentals for just $5 (poles included). This expansive Fox Valley Park District property offers incredible Fox River views and an immersive experience with the region's natural areas.
The Oswegoland Park District highlights three locations for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, including:
Waa Kee Sha Park, offering the mildest terrain for novice snowshoers and skiiers in a dense woodland forest.
Fox Bend Golf Course, where you can gain a new perspective on the gently rolling hills, bridges, and bunkers of the Oswegoland's prized public golf property. Rentals are occasionally offered here, call ahead at 630.554.1010.
Saw Wee Kee Park, where three seasons out of the year the steep grades and finely grooved tracks are favored terrain for trail-running and mountain-biking. Technical challenges abound for expert skiiers and snow-shoers seeking a rewarding path along the Fox River.
While exercising caution, you can skate on just about any body of water in the Aurora Area that's been frozen through long enough. We'd like to highlight one unique feature of the region for ice skating here, however, an attraction that once made it to the cover of the Saturday Evening Post back in the 1950's — the Batavia Depot Pond.
This man-made feature collects Fox River water in a pond near the Batavia Depot Museum in downtown Batavia, Illinois. While rentals are not available at the Depot Pond, you can bring your own and use the stairs near the Peg Bond Center pavilion in order to get on the ice. Safe skating conditions are of the highest priority — the Riverwalk flag is commonly used to determine whether conditions are good for skating, but you are also encouraged to call ahead and contact the Batavia Park District at 630.879.5235 to find out whether the pond is open for use.
Plan a getaway
Fuel up for your outdoor adventure with destination dining in the Aurora Area, and rest easy with friendly and affordable lodging at Aurora Area hotels.
Get the Aurora Area Go Guide, available in print and online, to find out more about what to see & do and where to stay in the communities of the Aurora Area of Illinois.