Best family activities to do in Rockford

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ROCKFORD, ILL. (WTVO) — Sunday was National Children’s Day, and parents in Rockford had a wide range of activities to choose from if they were looking to spend the day with their little ones.

Find below a list of the top five things to do with kids in Rockford, according to TripAdvisor.

  • Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road: With construction beginning in 1978, the Anderson Japanese Gardens have given Rockfordians an escape into nature for nearly 45 years. The placement of each rock and the alignment of each tree has been carefully thought out by Hoichi Kurisu, a renowned master craftsman and designer. It has a long-standing reputation as one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in the country. In their review of the gardens, TripAdvisor user DIG said, “My wife and I spent several enjoyable hours walking around the gardens enjoying the plantings, bridges and waterfalls. It was relaxing and peaceful. The staff were on hand to take pictures of us and tell interesting things about the gardens.
  • Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St: Built with children in mind, the Discovery Center Museum is a hands-on experience with over 300 interactive exhibits spread across the 23,000 buildings. All exhibits relate to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as other areas such as the human body, electricity, space travel, and many more. The museum received TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award in 2020. Ms. Schmid said in this review that it was a “very hands-on museum, full of things to do for several hours. Kids and 1-13 year olds would have plenty to do here for hours.
  • Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St: Illinois’ third-largest conservatory, Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, offers residents 11,000 square feet of plant display space. Visitors can view various water features and sculptures against a backdrop of tropical plants, in addition to special exhibits held throughout the year. It is also the location of “Food Truck Tuesdays”, where residents can pick up a delicious meal from local food trucks. Previa1994 said in a review that “a visit to the impressive Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is well worth the effort, even if one misses going inside the Conservatory. Lots of nice spots to take pictures and neat paths to take a leisurely stroll.”
  • Midway Village and Museum Center, 6799 Guilford Road: For those looking to learn more about Midwestern life in the early 1900s, Midway Village & Museum is the place to do it. Spread over 13 acres, the grounds include 26 structures that create the village and heritage gardens, all representing a rural community at the turn of the 20th century. Performers in authentic clothing lead the tours and portray life back then. It’s also a great place to learn about the history of the Rockford area. In their review, Maitreyi L said, “Events at Midway are always fun and educational at the same time. Everything is well planned and enjoyable for all age groups. Midway is a wonderful place to visit.
  • Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St: Another breath of the past, the Burpee Museum of Natural History dates back a little further than the 20th century. Like, 66 million years later. Opened in 1942, Burpee strives to remain an active contributor to both scientific research and science education. The museum offers lots of hands-on programs to make kids feel like scientists, like a rock and mineral camp, dinosaur labs where kids can work with specimens, and a chance for little ones to work with animals alive to learn more about zoology and behavioral science. Burpee also features the most complete and best-preserved juvenile T. rex ever discovered. Cindy S said in a review that “we were totally surprised by the quality and depth of exhibits at this museum. Their knowledge and work with dinosaurs makes them a step above other museums of this type. Kids will love the first and third floors. If you are pressed for time, skip the second floor although the rock and floor information is informative for adults.”
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