where to go
Arranged Alphabetically. Stared locations are great for photography!
Arlington Wetlands (Pontoon Beach). An 83-acre tract of wetland in Pontoon Beach. Serves as a protected habitat for wildlife. It is a 1 1/2 mile walk around the wetlands and you get to cross the wetlands on a bridge surrounded by water lilies.
Belk Park (Wood River). A 234-acre park with an 18-Hole Championship Golf Course, a lake for fishing, a clubhouse, picnic areas, a ball field, three playgrounds, restrooms, shelters, woodland, and open space. There is a one mile paved walkway around a lake that is stroller and pet friendly with benches to sit near the water.
Bethalto Arboretum (Bethalto). This 2.5 acres has wide paved flat paths with lots of shade. The park contains more than 150 species of trees and most are labeled. This location is also next to the Bethalto Splash Pad, baseball fields, and small playground. A fitness path, war memorial, and perennial garden are located on the grounds.
Cahokia Mounds Historic Site (Collinsville). Center: Thurs–Sun 9-5, Grounds: dawn- dusk
A UNESCO site with well maintained grounds. Some mounds have a lot of steps. Suggested donation is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students, and $15 for families.
Central Park (Wood River). A five-acre park (next to the Round House) with a bandstand, playground, gazebo, BBQ pits, and large activity center.
Drost Park (Maryville). A park with lots of shade trees, several pavilions, about three miles of paved trails, a boat ramp, a soccer field, barbecue grills, picnic tables, benches, a community garden, a workout area, playgrounds, drinking fountains, restrooms, and a seven-acre lake with fish, turtles, and ducks. Also has 2 playgrounds for younger and older kids. Pet friendly.
Emerick Sports Complex (Wood River). This 8-acre park has three lighted softball diamonds and one baseball diamond. There is a concession stand and a lake for fishing.
*Gardens at SIUE (Edwardsville). A botanical garden featuring a half-mile paved walking path with lots of shade, a pergola, a wooden bridge, sculptures, and native trees. Butterfly, English cottage, wind sculpture, prairie, and Japanese themed gardens. A nice pond with benches. A great place for photos. Pet friendly.
Glazebook Park (Godfrey). 120-acres with playgrounds, ponds with fish and frogs, concession stands, restrooms, rentable pavilions, a rentable gazebo, soccer fields and 3 miles of walking trails with shade trees. There are picnic tables under trees by a water fountain. Home to the Great Godfrey Corn Maze. Pet friendly.
Gordon Moore Park (Alton). 704 acre park with tennis courts, a lake for fishing, ball diamonds, soccer fields, football fields, a 27 hole golf course, oriental garden, picnic area, nature trail, and rose garden. Also has restrooms, an interactive fountain, several playgrounds for all ages, a rose garden, bell tower, and oriental garden.
Horseshoe Lake (Granite City). There are 5 picnic shelters, hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. A shallow lake that is drained annually to provide habitat for shorebirds. At least 287 bird species have been found at this lake. Canadian geese winter here, as well as bald eagles.
John M. Olin Preserve- Nature Institute (Godfrey). Trails open 8- 8pm, Tues-Sun.
Approximately 300 acres located along the bluffs of the Mississippi River with educational programming, a large playground, ample parking, and 4 unpaved well marked trails. Trails vary in difficulty. Rubber tire stroller necessary on Frog and Fox trails. Rock Trail has a creek that is around 2-4 feet deep. Restroom are closed at 4pm on weekdays and on weekends. NOT pet friendly.
Leclaire Park (Edwardsville). 5.8 acres of land within the local historic district. The small park features a bandstand gazebo, a picnic pavilion, three children's playground areas, a pond with turtles and ducks, restrooms, a lighted fountain, a waterfall, and a two-acre fishing lake. There is plenty of trees and shade. Pet Friendly.
Miner Park (Glen Carbon). Several acre park with small playground in between baseball fields, basketball courts, swings, pavilions, a large sledding hill, barbecue grills, a stroller friendly walking path, a walking/biking trail, restrooms, and red caboose at entrance. Undergoing construction.
The Nature Institute (See: John M. Olin Nature Preserve)
Rinderer Park (Highland). Park designed to remove barriers so ALL children can play side by side with their peers and families. Includes a glider, slides, musical elements, wheelchair-accessible teeter totter, lots of climbing equipment, and unique swings. There is also a stroller friendly walking trail with some shade, a dog park with obstacles, a veteran memorial, and restrooms.
*Silver Lake (Highland). Park runs along the shore of a lake with a 4+ mile wooded trail that is not stroller friendly. Has a frisbee golf course, (small) climbing wall, archery range, man made waterfall/creek area, restrooms, ponds, sand volleyball court, playground, picnic shelters, fishing, and a boat ramp. Leashed pets are welcome.
Tri-Township Park (Troy). Has a large pond with fish, ducks, and swans. Also has 4 playgrounds. Younger kids may enjoy the toddler sized playground on the south side of the lake while older kids may prefer the playground north of the lake or next to the skate park. Also has fishing, a pedestrian bridge, shaded benches, covered picnic areas, BBQ grills, paved stroller friendly walking trails, baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, sand volleyball, a gaga ball area, frisbee golf, a remote control car park, restrooms, and a skate park. There is a small petting zoo near the playground.
Treehouse Wildlife Center (Godfrey). Open 10am-4pm, Fridays-Sundays.
A place for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife. Open to the public 365 days a year. Visitors view animals for FREE. Offers hands-on learning as well as an in-depth discussion to meet the needs of the group.
Watershed Nature Center (Edwardsville). 40+ acre outdoor learning center with stroller friendly paved trails, dirt trails, elevated walks over wetlands, observation towers, an observation blind, lakes, prairies, forest, and an interpretive welcome center. Pet friendly.
Willoughby Farm (Collinsville). A 30 acre farm with rest rooms, picnic shelters, a large garden, four hiking trails. Trails are not stroller friendly. There is an intricate play area with ride on toys, a wheel chair accessible swing, kids' wheelbarrows. Also has cows, goats, ponies, bunnies, chickens, tractors, and a farm house.
Wilson Park (Granite City). 74 acre park with a stroller friendly paved trail around the park with lots of shade. Also has a 8 shelters, restrooms, basketball court, playgrounds for younger children, tennis courts, baseball fields, a skate park, and a fountain. Pet friendly. Over 1,000 native and rare trees accent the parks with formal gardens. The Wilson Park Pool, featuring a water slide and wading pool is also in the park. As well as an ice rink.
Woodland Park (Collinsville). This large park has 3 playgrounds, a lake with wildlife, ball fields, a disc golf course, a lake with ducks and geese, restrooms, and a disc golf course. There are plenty places to sit either on benches or in pavilions. The park has lots of pretty hills and neat bridges, but trails are not very easy with a stroller.