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Monday, March 18, 2019 03:39 pm

The outdoors

Washington Park and Springfield’s other great green spaces

Washington Park is Springfield’s largest and most active park.
Photo by David Hine

 

Boating and fishing

Lake Springfield
217-757-8660 x1011
cwlp.com
Public boat launches are available from a variety of locations. Try your hand at fishing from the shoreline or from your boat in a private cove.

Lake Springfield Marina
17 Waters Edge Blvd.
217-483-3625
lakespringfieldmarina.com
Full service marina with slip rental by day, week, month or season. Rent a pontoon boat, personal watercraft or canoe, kayak or paddle boat for cruising or fishing on Lake Springfield. Rent a party barge (seats 25-30) for your family or company outing.

Biking and hiking

Bunn to Lost Bridge Trail
This 1.5 mile trail is an extension of the Lost Bridge Trail from Rochester. Street crossings on Dirksen Pkwy. and Taylor Ave.
Trail heads at IDOT Building (2300 Dirksen Pkway. parking lot) and Abundant Faith Christian Center (2525 Taylor Ave. parking lot).

Interurban Trail
This bicycle and pedestrian trail is 8.3 miles long. It begins at the corner of Wabash Ave. and MacArthur Blvd. and proceeds in a southerly direction following the abandoned Interurban Railroad right-of-way to the town of Chatham. The asphalt surface trail is open year-round for biking, skating, jogging and hiking.
Trail heads at Wabash Ave. and Park St. (parking lot), Hazel Dell and West Grand, Woodside Rd. and Pedigo Ln. (parking lot).

Lost Bridge Trail
This trail stretches nearly five miles, from Springfield’s east side to the town of Rochester, and is built on the Old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line.
Trail head at Illinois Dept. of Transportation (2300 Dirksen Pkwy.) parking lot.

Sangamon Valley Trail
This 11.5-mile trail is a mostly shaded route from the southwest Centennial Park north to Stuart Park and extending further north to Irwin Bridge Rd. It includes scenic bridges which puts hikers and cyclists at eye level with the tree tops.
Trail heads at Centennial Park (5751 Bunker Hill Rd., parking lot), Stuart Park (1800 Winch Ln, parking lot) and a lot off Cantral Creek Rd., about half a mile west of Brown Rd. and a mile from the Irwin Bridge Rd. endpoint.

Wabash Trail
The paved trail extends three miles along Springfield’s southwest side, beginning at Robbins Rd. and continuing all the way to Park St. Great for rollerblading, hiking and biking. Also connects to the Interurban Trail via a connecting sidewalk.
Trail heads at BJ Grand Salon (3055 Robbins Rd.) and Wabash Ave. and Park Ave.

For more information on bike and hike trails call 217-544-1751 or visit springfieldparks.org/parks/biketrails.

Golf courses

Bergen Park Golf Course
200 Eastdale Ave.
217-753-6211
springfieldparkdistrictgolf.org/bergen.html
Established in 1930, Bergen Golf Course was built on fertile farm ground which to this day provides a lush terrain.  The course features eight par fours and one par three. The course has no bunkers or water hazards which makes it playable for golfers of all abilities.
Brookhills Golf Club
5350 Old Jacksonville Rd.
217-787-8495
facebook.com/brookhillsgolfcourse/
Designed by Leon Howard, this course features a 9-hole golf course, driving range and pro shop. Relax in the Club House following a round of golf.

Bunn Park Golf Course
2500 S. 11th St.
217-522-2633springfieldparkdistrictgolf.org/bunn.html
A regulation 18-hole facility, this tree-lined course has narrow fairways and challenging holes.  Water comes into play on several holes throughout the course.

Lincoln Greens Golf Course
700 E. Lake Shore Dr.
217-786-4111
springfieldparkdistrictgolf.org/lincoln-greens.html
A challenging 18-hole course situated on 240 acres on the shores of Lake Springfield.

Long Bridge Golf Course
1055 Camp Sangamo Rd.
217-744-8311
longbridgegc.com
This 9-hole course overlooks the Sangamon River Valley. Besides a round of great golf, enjoy live entertainment at the clubhouse every Friday evening.

Pasfield Park Golf Course
1700 W. Lawrence Ave.
217-753-6226
springfieldparkdistrictgolf.org/pasfield.html
A historic 9-hole public golf course located in the heart of Springfield. Its narrow fairways, undulating hills and small greens will challenge your game.

Piper Glen Golf Club
7112 Piper Glen Drive
217-483-6537
piperglen.com
Cited as a 4.5 star facility by Golf Digest and listed as a top central Illinois course by Illinois Magazine. The course provides dramatic elevation changes, prairie grass plantings and large undulating greens.

The Oaks Golf Course
851 Dave Stockton Dr.
217-528-6600
theoaksgolfcourse.com/
Opened in 1926, the 18-hole course features over 6,000 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70.

The Rail Golf Club
1400 S. Club House Dr., Sherman
217-525-0365
railgolf.com
A sprawling 240-acre dairy farm turned into The Rail, rated four stars by Golf Digest and continually voted as one of the best places to play golf in central Illinois.
Springfield’s parks

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary
2315 E. Clear Lake Ave.
217-544-2473
illinoisaudubon.org.
This is the perfect place to take a quick nature walk without driving out of town. Just off one of Springfield’s busiest streets, Clear Lake Avenue, the sanctuary is a hidden jewel that’s accessible in minutes. Once a mid-19th-century farm, it’s now a wooded haven for birds and is owned by the Illinois Audubon Society. One trail takes 15 minutes to complete; a longer trail takes 45 minutes. The visitor center offers information about the trees, plants and birds commonly encountered. Visitors can also tour the restored 1850s Margery Adams farmhouse.

Carpenter Park Nature Preserve
IL 124 and I-55
217-544-1751
springfieldparks.org
This lovely park has 434 acres, lined on one side by the shores of the Sangamon River and The Rail golf course on the other. It is located in the north side of town, west of Business Route 55 (Peoria Road). A winding park road leads to a clearing with a parking lot, historic stone shelter, a picnic area and a map. The park is primarily used for hiking and nature observation. Part of the park is an Illinois Nature Preserve.

Centennial Park
Bunker Hill Road and Lenhart Road
217-544-1751
springfieldparks.org
Part of southwest Springfield, this 190-acre park features skateboard facilities, bocce ball courts and a 100 ft. sledding hill, in addition to a playground and outdoor picnic areas.

Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center
2301 E. Lake Shore Dr.
217-529-1111
lincolnmemorialgarden.org
A woodland and prairie garden with over five miles of trails lead you on a journey through the Illinois landscape Lincoln would have known. Depending on the season you visit, you could discover springtime dogwoods in full bloom, colorful prairie wildflowers of summer, burnished autumn leaves, or snow-covered maple trees bursting with sap. Located on the shores of Lake Springfield and designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen the garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Be sure to visit the Garden’s Nature Center and Split Rail Gift Shop.
Lincoln Park
1601 N. 5th St.
217-753-2800
springfieldparks.org/parks/lincoln/
Lincoln Park, located on the north side of Springfield, is an 88-acre site added to the park district in 1905. Its design and many features date back to its original development, including a historic lagoon and pavilion. The park includes disc-golf courses, tennis courts, shuffleboard and a horseshoe park, plus the Nelson Recreation Center with an outdoor swimming pool and two indoor ice rinks.

Southwind Park and Erin’s Pavilion
4965 S. 2nd St.
217-585-2941
springfieldparks.org
Every inch of this 80-acre park is ADA accessible, serving as a national model for inclusion for all people. Stroll 2.5 miles of urban trails and enjoy the sensory gardens, playground and fishing piers.  The park also has eco-friendly wetlands, a wind turbine, solar panels and a geothermal system.

Washington Park
South Grand Ave. and MacArthur Blvd.
217-544-1751
springfieldparks.org/parks/washington/
Washington Park is a 150-acre site just a couple miles from downtown Springfield. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is Springfield’s largest and most active park. The Washington Park Botanical Garden, at the far west side of the park, features a glass-domed conservatory, gallery and greenhouses. The park is also home to Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, the sixth largest in the world. Washington Park is also home to two fishing ponds stocked with catfish and trout, picnic shelters, playgrounds, public tennis courts, nature trails and bike and jogging paths.

Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
1740 W. Fayette Ave.
217-546-3853
The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is an icon in Washington Park. It was a gift of Senator Thomas Rees, publisher of the Illinois State Register from 1881 until his death in 1933. Rees attributed his great interest in bells to visiting carillons in Belgium and The Netherlands. He left specific instructions in his will regarding the number of bells and the location of the carillon.
A carillonneur plays the bells manually using a keyboard. To more fully appreciate the carillon, take in a carillon concert. From May 1 through Sept. 30 concerts are on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. From October through April, the concerts are on Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 and 4 p.m. The world-renowned International Carillon Festival is held annually in June.
Take a carillon tour to see the bells up close, learn how the carillon is played and enjoy a spectacular view of Washington Park and surrounding landmarks. Tours are offered May 1-Sept. 30 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-15.

Springfield offers many other welcoming parks, nature spots, gardens and prairie wilderness. All Springfield parks are open dawn to dusk. For more information about Springfield’s city-operated parks and golf courses, visit springfieldparks.org/parks.

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