If there are three things people consistently appreciate about Rockford, it is the abundance of its parks, recreation programs and golf courses! Rockford Park District is nationally acclaimed with 174 park sites on 4,850 acres of land.
The district maintains specialty parks, including BMX racing at Searls Park; Canine Corners for dogs at Searls and Elliot parks; disc golf at Anna Page Park; horseshoes at Dahlquist Park; SkateWorks for skateboarders, in-line skaters and bikes at Harlem Community Center Sports Complex; and croquet and shuffleboard at Wester Lawn Sports Park.
Rockford Park District oversees public facilities like Magic Waters outdoor waterpark, outdoor aquatic facilities, Atwood Environmental Center, Carlson Ice Arena and Riverview Ice House, Sapora Playworld, Lockwood Park Trailside Equestrian Centre and Children’s Farm, Guilford Tennis Center, Forest City Queen Riverboat, Trolley Car 36 and Sinnissippi Gardens and Music Shell.
Rockford Park District’s two Sportscore complexes contain soccer fields and facilities for practice, league play and tournaments. In 2005, Sportscore Two earned the “Sports Complex of the Year” award from the Sports Turf Managers Association. During an average season, the complexes draw more than 2,500 tournament soccer teams.
Winnebago County Forest Preserve District manages 40 individual forest preserves on more than 9,500 acres with lush woods, 100 miles of hiking trails, picturesque streams, dramatic cliffs and dells, unspoiled prairies and native wildlife. Special sites include Severson Dells Nature Center, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and Macktown Living History Education Center.
Rockford has a national reputation for the quality of its public golf courses. In 2005, Golf Digest ranked Rockford 22 out of 330 in the U.S. for the quality of its golf. The Rockford Park District oversees five public golf courses: Aldeen, Elliot, Ingersoll, Sandy Hollow and Sinnissippi. Winnebago County Forest Preserve District oversees three: Atwood Homestead, Ledges and Macktown.
Sports fans in Rockford have plenty to cheer about with many professional teams making their home in Rockford.
Rockford IceHogs Professional Hockey is the longest-running professional sports team in Rockford and is the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks in the American Hockey League, with an unprecedented 10-year affiliation agreement with the Blackhawks.
Rock River Raptors Indoor Football professional indoor football team are Central Division champions in the Continental Indoor Football League. Season home games are at the Rockford MetroCentre in downtown Rockford. For the 2009 season, the Raptors added an expansion team in Wisconsin.
Rockford RiverHawks Baseball makes its home at Road Ranger Stadium, a more than 3,000-seat facility off Interstate 90 and Riverside Blvd., near Rockford. As a Central Division member of the independent professional Frontier League, the RiverHawks play dozens of home games against teams from across the Midwest and is host to concerts and other events throughout the summer and early fall. The team has won multiple league championships. In 2009, it was home of the Frontier League All-Star Game.
Rockford Thunder Women’s Fastpitch Softball moved to the Rockford area in 2007. The Rockford Thunder played its first two seasons at Sportscore One in Loves Park before moving to its current home at Thunder Park in Roscoe for the 2009 season. In three seasons, the Rockford Thunder played in two championship games and won its first Cowles Cup in 2009.
Rockford Rampage Indoor Soccer plays as part of the National Indoor Soccer League. The new franchise opened at the 2007-08 season as part of the American Indoor Soccer League, and after a win against the Massachusetts Twisters, took the title of 2007-08 AISL Champions. In 2009, the Rockford Rampage secured second place in its first season as part of the National Indoor Soccer League.