Have a picnic, make a splash or play ball: Check out things to do at 25 Springfield parks

With schools in recess and summer approaching, there's no better time to check out one of Springfield's many public parks.

Washington and Lincoln parks get a lot of well-deserved attention but there also are lesser-known and mostly smaller parks for families to enjoy the outdoors.

Mother Nature will heat things up beginning Monday with temperatures in the upper 90s, making parks with pools and splash pads popular destinations.

"Over time, that heat will begin to build and increase Monday-Wednesday," said James Auten, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln.

In alphabetical order, here are 25 parks and amenities offered across the city.

Barker Park

Location: 2008 Barnard Drive, adjacent to the University of Illinois Springfield

Size: 26 acres

Amenities: Plenty of open space for events or play, along with a new playground and lots of space to walk

Fun fact: Land for the park was donated by the Paul Barker Trust following his death in 2004.

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Cadigan Park

Location: 2300 Colony West Drive, sandwiched between White Oaks Mall and Colony West Swim Club

Size: 4.3 acres

Amenities: A playground plus a pair of horseshoe courts, with plenty of room for soccer practice or playing in the grassy area.

Fun fact: Named after former Springfield Park District President Patrick Cadigan in 1996, the park had originally been named Colony West Park after the subdivision where it is located.

Children play on the merry-go-round at Comer Cox Park on Saturday.

Carpenter Park

Location: 1 Carpenter Park Trail, south of The Rail Golf Course, directly east of Gurgens Park, north of the Sangamon River

Size: 434 acres

Amenities: Hiking trails and space for afternoon picnics.

Fun fact: For a time, it was the only virgin woodland within Springfield.

Centennial Park

Location: 5529 Bunker Hill Road, parallel with Interstate 72; west of Hope Church

Size: 190 acres

Amenities: A playground, space for picnics and even bocce ball courts accompany a skate park, one of a select few in the park district.

Fun fact: Named for the 100th anniversary of the park district, it was unnamed when it opened in 1997.

Comer Cox Park

Location: Along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, west of Chamberlain Park, east of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois

Size: 6 acres

Amenities: Plenty of space for sports, with a pair of basketball and tennis courts each, along with a pair of playgrounds and a walking path; a good place to cool off with a splash pad.

Fun fact: Named for a former director of the Springfield Urban League.

Malaya Johnson, 4, of Springfield plays at the splash pad at Comer Cox Park on Saturday.

Dreamland Park

Location: Along Taylor Avenue opposite Eisenhower Park; east of Southeast High School and south of Springfield Ball Charter School.

Size: 10 acres

Amenities: Plenty of room for fishing and hiking through a native prairie area; space for picnics and other family fun.

Fun fact: Named for an area frequented by African-Americans at the turn of the 20th century that included baseball fields and carnival attractions.

Duncan Park

Location: 200 N. MacArthur Blvd., north of Madison Street and Jefferson Avenue, west of Memorial Hospital

Size: 26 acres

Amenities: Home to plenty of sporting activities, with pickleball courts and a disc golf course; also contains a shell for the city's band.

Fun fact: Originally named for Stephen Douglas; renamed in 2020 after Col. Otis Duncan, the highest-ranking Black officer to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.

Eisenhower Park

Location: 2351 E. Cornell Ave., south of Southeast High School, directly opposite Dreamland Park

Size: 21.3 acres, including swimming pool

Amenities: Great space to play ball, with three fields along with concessions and bathrooms; also home to the city's lone year-round public swimming pool.

Fun fact: Yes, the park is named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Enos Park

Location: Along Enterprise Avenue in between Seventh and Eighth streets; north of HSHS St. John's Hospital

Size: 3.5 acres

Amenities: Continually upgraded playground along with lots of space to walk through a tree-lined area

Fun fact: A contract signed by the park's namesake and donor, Susan P. Enos, requires the name to never change for as long as it exists.

Fairview Park

Location: 1901 N. 19th St., west of the eponymous elementary school, south of the Illinois State Fairgrounds

Size: 9 acres

Amenities: Another great baseball spot, with three fields plus space for announcers; also a good place for horseshoes, with two courts

Fun fact: The space was carved out of an 80-acre lot set aside for the community in the 1950s.

Gehrmann Park

Location: 1000 N. Second St., east of Memorial Hospital

Size: 3 acres, the smallest park in the Springfield Park District

Amenities: Plenty of new playground equipment, along with lots of spots for an afternoon picnic.

Fun fact: The park's namesake, Chicago meatpacker Felix Gehrmann, never lived in Springfield; it was owned by his uncle as the family homestead.

Gietl Park

Location: 1900 Stanhope Road, between Wilcox Elementary School and Veterans' Memorial Pool;

Size: 11.7 acres

Amenities: Popular spot for baseball and soccer, with three ballfields plus a storage building and a soccer field used by local high schools for practice; also home to Veterans Memorial Pool, which once was part of a private club.

Fun fact: The park is thought to be bigger than it actually is due to the land being similar to that of Wilcox's property.

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Gurgens Park

Location: Along Bissell Drive, across from Carpenter Park; north of the Sangamon River

Size: 270 acres

Amenities: Mostly used by local groups for protecting native plants.

Fun fact: Only separated from Carpenter Park by a railroad track that runs through the two plots.

Hobbs Park

Location: 2851 Fox Bridge Road, across from Bunn Park; east of Southern View

Size: 7.2 acres

Amenities: Almost entirely made up of baseball diamonds, with three fields plus concessions and a small playground.

Fun fact: Named for a local business leader who had supported the local Khoury League team.

Iles Park

Location: 2000 S. Sixth St., south of downtown

Size: 10.5 acres

Amenities: A newly refurbished playground along with a big picnic area perfect for large groups; also home to the district's second skate park.

Fun fact: Heirs of Elijah Iles donated the land for the park.

Indian Hills Park

Location: 2536 Miami Trail, east of the Illinois State Fairgrounds

Size: 9 acres

Amenities: A good spot for tennis, with two courts along with plenty of shade to stay out of the heat.

Fun fact: Named for the Indian Hills subdivision where it is located.

Jaycee Park

Location: 2400 E. Monroe St., across from Washington Middle School; west of Bergen Golf Course

Size: 13 acres

Amenities: A ballfield in three corners of the park, along with ample space for other sports like football and soccer.

Fun fact: The eponymous Jaycees developed an improvement plan in order to make the park as nice as it could be.

Jefferson Park

Location: 300 North Oxford Road, south of Jefferson Street, east of Veterans Parkway

Size: 20 acres

Amenities: Lots of open space to play, with baseball fields and a refurbished playground dotting the property.

Fun fact: Named after a nearby subdivision.

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Kennedy Park

Location: 3484 North Lightfoot, east of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, southwest of Sherman

Size: 27 acres

Amenities: A great place for sports, with three baseball fields, two soccer fields and places to play cricket and rugby.

Fun fact: Land for the park is leased from the Springfield Airport Authority; the park district and airport share responsibility for park operations.

Kiwanis Park

Location: 2930 Stanton St., north of Stevenson Drive, west of Interstates 55 and 72

Size: 10 acres

Amenities: One can play to their heart's content day and night out here, with lighted baseball and soccer fields.

Fun fact: The Downtown Kiwanis club provided $20,000 to the park district to get the project underway back in the 1970s.

Lake Victoria Park

Location: 3055 Normandy Road, across from Kiwanis Park; north of Stevenson Drive

Size: 9 acres

Amenities: Not as much as others, but a good place for a relaxing afternoon by the water, with plenty of space to walk around.

Fun fact: Named for a nearby subdivision and the retention lake at the park.

Lanphier Park

Location: 1415 North Grand Ave. E., adjacent to Robin Roberts Stadium and Memorial Stadium; east of Lanphier High School

Size: N/A

Amenities: A great spot for tennis and hoops, with six tennis courts and a pair of basketball courts alongside shuffleboard and horseshoe courts.

Fun fact: Was operated by the Springfield Recreation Department before it merged with the park district after a 2000 referendum.

Lawless Park

Location: 1500 N. 11th St., north of Lanphier High School, south of the Illinois State Fairgrounds

Size: N/A

Amenities: Home to a large pavilion perfect for family gatherings or cookouts, along with four baseball fields.

Fun fact: Named for David T. Lawless, a local youth baseball coach and director.

Rotary Park

Location: 4501 W. Iles Ave., north of the Kerasotes YMCA and Interstate 72

Size: 40 acres

Amenities: Another great spot for sports, with three baseball fields, soccer and football fields along with basketball and tennis courts.

Fun fact: Named for three Rotary Clubs that provided $16,000 to the park district for the project.

Ava Rodriguez, 8, of Springfield, front, cools off with her cousin Jaylait Flores, 9, of Berwyn at the splash pad at Southwind Park on Saturday.

Southwind Park

Location: 4965 S. Second St., west of Interstate 55, Lincoln Land Community College and the University of Illinois Springfield

Size: 80 acres

Amenities: Renowned for its accessibility for all, this park is perfect for fishing, family gatherings, bocce ball, shuffleboard and horseshoes; also home to Erin's Pavilion and a splash pad great for running through on a hot summer day.

Fun fact: Full name is Edwin Watts Southwind Park, named for a prior owner of the property who used it for agricultural purposes.


Eisenhower Pool

Location: At Eisenhower Park, 2351 E. Cornell Ave.

Cost: $7 for adults 13-61, $6 for seniors; passes available

Amenities: The city's only year-round swimming pool, this place is great for those who need to get laps in for exercise or who want to learn how to better swim and/or dive.

Fun Facts: Renovated in 2005, adding depth and starters blocks for competitive swimming.

Nelson Center Pool

Location: At Lincoln Park, 1601 N. Fifth St.

Cost: $6 for adults, $5.25 for children younger than 12 and seniors and those younger than 2 get in free; $25 for resident pass, $35 for non-residents

Amenities: Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, this popular water attraction contains plenty of wet fun, from a kiddie pool for the youngest to a flume slide for older children.

Fun Facts: The diving pool at the facility was irreparably damaged in 1991 following heavy rains that caused a buildup of groundwater underneath it.

Veterans Memorial Pool

Location: At Gietl Park, 2700 Ely St.

Cost: Season passes are $25 for residents and $35 for non-residents; first additional family member is $15 and others are $10; senior passes are $25

Amenities: Home to plenty of water fun, from a drop slide to a diving board and a kiddie pool for the youngest.

Fun Facts: Was formerly the North Suburban Aquatic Club before it was purchased by the park district in 1997.

Contact Zach Roth: (217) 899-4338; ZDRoth@gannett.com; @ZacharyRoth13

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Things to see and do at 25 Springfield, IL, public parks, pools