One of the best things about renting an Aurora IL apartment is the access you’ll have to outdoor activities. While many know Aurora for its great location near Chicago or its fun downtown area, Aurora also has some the best green spaces in the state, including the famous Phillips Park.
Phillips Park has been an Aurora staple for more than 100 years. With over 325 acres to explore, the park truly has something for everyone. In addition to classic park amenities like walking paths, volleyball courts, and a dog park, Phillips Park also has unique features like a zoo, aquatic center, and mastodon gallery. Best of all? For residents of Aurora at Summerfield, this park is just around the corner!
Getting to the Park
Phillips Park is located in Southeast Aurora and is less than three miles away from our Aurora IL apartments. Simply drive, bike, or walk to the entrance on Howell Place (off Montgomery Avenue). Turning onto Ray Moses Blvd. from Howell Place will take you right into the park. Stay straight on Ray Moses Blvd. to get to the visitor’s center. The park is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, and is free of charge. (The aquatic center and golf course have different hours and do charge a fee.)
Things to Explore at Phillips Park
The young and the young-at-heart will love spending the day at the Aquatic Center. This full-service water park sits in the southeast corner of Phillips Park, just a short walk away from our Aurora apartments. The Aquatic Center features five exhilarating water slides, multiple pools, and kids’ area complete with waterfalls, age-appropriate activities, and a kid-friendly slide. The walk-in leisure pool, volleyball courts, and beach areas will make you feel like you’re on vacation right in your own backyard. Residents of the Fox County Lake District (which includes Aurora) enjoy a discounted rate at the Aquatic Center!
In 1934, mastodon bones were discovered right inside Phillips Park. Check out these remains for yourself at the Phillips Park Mastodon Gallery and discover a fascinating piece of local history. Located inside the Visitor’s Center, this museum-quality exhibit is home to a 188-pound mastodon skull, a 6-foot-long tusk, and other bones estimated to be 10,000 to 20,000 years old. You’ll also find detailed photographs and displays about the discovery, information about what mastodons were like, as well as other displays on the history of Phillips Park. It’s a great place to start your park visit.
The Sunken Garden is the perfect place to admire the beauty of Phillips Park. Located just outside the Visitor’s Center, this perfectly manicured garden features hand-planted flowers and a grand Victorian-inspired design. The park was originally developed in the 1930s by Ray Moses, whose father created landscape designs for English royalty. This noble inspiration is still apparent today. Wander into the center of the garden and admire the three-tiered fountain, or simply walk around and enjoy nature.
18-Hole Golf Course and Driving Range
The Phillips Park Golf Course is a community staple. This world-class course is a great way to spend an afternoon, featuring 18 holes, a driving range, a full-service pro shop, and premium facilities. With leagues to join and PGA-level instruction available, there are ways for beginners to get just as much out of the course as seasoned players. There’s also a designated three-hole course for junior golfers so the whole family can get involved. Best of all, the course is located right inside Phillips Park, so the perfect round of golf is always just around the corner from our Aurora apartments.
Phillips Park Zoo
The Phillips Park Zoo has been delighting families for over a century. Created in 1915, this zoo offers a great look at more than 40 native animal species. At the Phillips Park Zoo, you can see mammals like gray wolves, mountain lions, and American elk, as well as birds like hawks and eagles. The zoo also features a reptile house for an up-close look at alligators, snakes, turtles and more. Check out the kids’ zone for interactive activities the little ones will love, or explore the exhibits on your own. The zoo is open year-round and is always free to the public.
Honor the Aurora citizens who gave their life for our country by visiting the war memorials inside Phillips Park. Monuments stand at various points throughout the park to honor service members, from those who fought in the World Wars to those who have served in the 21st century. The park also has a beautiful waterfall dedicated to Aurora veterans, as well as genuine World War I cannons on display.
A chilly midwestern winter shouldn’t stop you from spending time outdoors. Phillips Park offers plenty of winter recreation so you can have fun all year round. Enjoy ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding in designated parts of the park. Paths are also kept clear throughout the snowy seasons so you’ll always be able to take walks. Have fun in the snow or explore other park features like the zoo and mastodon gallery which are open year-round.
BMX and Skate Park
Thrill-seekers from all over come to Aurora to bike and skate at Phillips Park. The park has a nearly 10,000 square foot BMX and skate plaza, complete with ramps, rails, and half-pipes. The skate park was built in 2010 and is a great example of Phillips Park adding new features to reflect local interests. Open to adventurers of all ages and skill levels, the BMX and skate park is a great way to make friends or try out a new sport.
Phillips Park is just one of the many things that makes Aurora a great place to call home. But looking at dozens of apartments for rent in Aurora IL can be exhausting. Choosing Aurora at Summerfield will put you close to the action of downtown while also keeping you within walking distance of great outdoor spaces like Phillips Park. Call us today and discover your new dream home!