We spent the past few days exploring Rockford, Illinois; which is located about halfway between Chicago and Galena. Can you find it on the map?
And although there are lots of cultural attractions for adults to enjoy in the “Queen City of the Prairie”, there are also many fun things for kids to do there. Cherrie had fun exploring them all, and we’re pleased to say that even the folks at the historic attractions made things as accessible as possible for wheelchair-users.
We started with a visit to the Anderson Japanese Gardens which is a replica of a 12th century “pond strolling” garden, with lots of pools, streams, lanterns, waterfalls and even a tea house. Although there are some steps to the different areas of the garden, Cherrie could see just about everything by following the “Flat Pathway” route, which was very well marked. It was level and easy for her to wheel around in her wheelchair.
One of her favorite things to do in the garden was to feed the ducks. You can do the same thing when you visit, but just make sure you buy your food in the gift shop. After all, you wouldn’t want to make them sick with “people food”. Think about it, duck food wouldn’t taste very good to you, would it?
Anther one of Cherrie’s favorite places was the Discovery Center Museum in Riverfront Museum Park. The museum is a cross between a children’s museum and a science center, with exhibits rooted in math and science. It’s all very hands-on, plus they also have a cool outdoor science park and playground.
And the good news is, the folks that designed the exhibits at the Discovery Center Museum made them accessible, so Cherrie had fun touching and playing with everything there. I hope she learned a bit too – we most certainly did! But I have to admit that her favorite place was Ginny’s House, where she had fun doing the laundry and making dinner like a big girl.
Last but not least, we made a stop at the Midway Village Museum, which has an indoor museum that tells the story of early Rockford, plus an outdoor living history park. Although Cherrie liked the museum, her favorite part was the historic village.
The pathways throughout the historic village were level and covered in crushed gravel, so Cherrie had no problems getting around. She even rolled out on the grass to smell the flowers and rest in the shade a bit.
Many of the historic buildings are ramped, and you can go inside for a tour. We had fun looking inside the general store, the bank and even the barn. Cherrie’s favorite place at the park? The water pump. She couldn’t believe people had to pump and carry their own water in the “olden days”. And she couldn’t believe that Charles and I had both pumped water before!
All in all it was a very fun day, but Cherrie is going to bed early tonight, as we are getting up early to head for Indianapolis tomorrow morning.