Road Ranger Stadium entertains fans and families as the Rockford RiverHawks bat, bunt, and steal bases in Frontier League play. Cheering from the intimate vantage point of home-plate box seats, fans can chew on hot dogs while admiring the home-run swing of 2004 Frontier League MVP Rich Austin and analyze the curveballs of former Kansas City Royal Mike Wood. Family fun and entertainment extends beyond the third out of every inning with promotional showcases, such as comedic sumo wrestling, the Eye-Ball race, and the long-lived tradition of the seventh-inning stretch-the-truth-about-how-many-hot-dogs-you-ate.
Owner Debbie Stoffregen has taught children to swim for more than 15 years, a background that helped her develop Catch the Wave Swim Club's unique instructor training program. Stoffregen only mints adult teachers and personally coaches them once they have achieved certifications in Red Cross CPR, lifeguarding, AED, and first aid. Instructors teach water safety with compassion, creating a family-like atmosphere to help adults overcome their fears, introduce infants as young as three months old (accompanied by a guardian) to the warm, 90-degree pool, and acclimate adolescents to their newly sprouted gills. Surrounded by healthy, confident swimmers, Stoffregen realized the sport could be used as a therapeutic intervention, and created classes for special-needs individuals and those desiring a low-impact way to stay fit.
The team at Rhoades Fur Feather and Fin immortalizes prized catches with professional taxidermy services for a variety of animals. The specialists provide shoulder mounts for critters such as deer, elk, coyotes, foxes, and beavers, as well as life-size mounting upon request. Animal skulls from deer, bears, and elk shine after thorough beetle cleaning and whitening, and then proudly grin as they hang from wall mounts. Rhoades also prepares fish that range in size from 13 to 64 inches, and birds such as ducks, quails, and turkeys.
Schnitzel. Hefeweizen beer. Polka dancing. These are just a few of the facets of German culture that the German Society of Rockford has preserved and celebrated since 1964. At the group's annual German Society Oktoberfest gatherings, live bands perform and crowds take part in games such as the barmaid-stein race, which challenges men and women to carry dozens of sloshing beer steins without spilling a drop. The German Society of Rockford also organizes outreach programs, scholarships, and educational events.
Prewar, postwar, and exotic cars from all over are on display at Rockford’s annual "The Classics and Chrome Car Show," the largest of its kind in Northern Illinois. Over the course of two days, auto aficionados will have an up-close look at more than 120 vehicles including hot rods, flashy sport cars, and one-of-a-kind custom cars. Patrons can scope out the rigs and can enter a raffle that features several cash prizes; it supports Keith Country Day School’s student scholarship fund and enhancements for its academic program.
The Rotary Botanical Gardens overflows with 20 acres of natural beauty and artistic landscaping. As visitors follow the path around the formal French rose garden, pergolas surround a circular field of grass and stand sentry over delicate rosebushes. A bubbling fountain surrounded by bright flower courtiers and stylish topiary holds court in the sunken garden and may be approached only after guests curtsy to it. The Nancy Yahr Memorial Children’s Garden displays 180 varieties of scented plants across 3,000 square feet of space, encouraging visitors to learn about the role of scent in the garden. The English cottage garden proffers shelter for teatime crumpet-eating contests, and the Japanese gardens accord visitors a place for quiet reflection. A visitor center and a gift shop also bedeck the Rotary Botanical Gardens' grounds.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.