This winter, instead of running away from the snow, embrace it! Lace up your hiking boots and head out to Urbana’s parks. Urbana is known for its four unique seasons – and with the winter months bring new opportunities to enjoy some of Urbana’s finest parks and their features.
Here are five ways that the Urbana Parks Foundation recommends as great ways to enjoy Urbana Parks this winter:
- A stroll along the elevated boardwalk through Busey Woods.
Busey Woods is a 59-acre bottomland Oak-Hickory forest. It is located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park with an entrance just west of the Anita Purves Nature Center. The C-U Optimist Club sponsors management of Busey Woods. This natural area is notable for its bird watching opportunities and a 1/3-mile elevated boardwalk. You’ll enjoy a gorgeous winter scene along the boardwalk, and will want to come back in the spring to admire the lovely wildflower display.
- Enjoy the pristine winter view of a native Illinois landscape at Meadowbrook Park.
Three miles of 10 foot paved trails make Meadowbrook Park ideal for walking, jogging, inline skating and cycling. See an aerial site map. A large loop around the entire park and a smaller loop around the Wandell Sculpture Garden provide for different routes and lengths of walks. This makes it especially exciting in the winter! For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, an additional two miles of unpaved paths wader through the park’s prairie and stream corridors.
- Go sledding at Prairie Park.
Prairie Park is located west of Prairie School and, most notably, is home to youth soccer fields, softball fields and a baseball field. The baseball field is home to the Urbana High School Tigers Baseball Team. However, in the winter this park is known for sledding (at your own risk).
- Frolic in the snow with your furry friend at the Dog Park.
Don’t forget that your furry friends also enjoy the snow! The 10 acre dog park at Perkins Road is a great place for dogs to run off-leash and romp with other dogs (and for you to meet and get to know other dog owners!). The area is open from sunrise to sunset and includes two separate fenced in areas, including a smaller area for timid dogs. Visitors may enter by paying a $5 daily admission fee at the park or by purchasing a membership at the Phillips Recreation Center. Annual memberships are reciprocal with the Champaign Park District Dog Park.
- Escape the cold temperatures in the climate-controlled Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center.
The Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center is open to everyone during public swim time with a paid admission, punch card membership card. During public swim, the water spray toys and water slides are turned on – a great way to blow off a little steam if you and your family have been snowbound!
To learn more about Urbana Parks visit www.urbanaparks.org. For more information about the Urbana Parks Foundation, or to learn about their Campaign for the Next Century, or to make a donation, please visit www.urbanaparksfoundation.org. You can also connect with UPF on Facebook.