Visit Rockford this summer

Did you know that Rockford is the third largest city in Illinois and is the home of the Sock Monkey? It’s the perfect distance for a day trip or weekend getaway from Chicago and has many inexpensive indoor and outdoor attractions and hotels. Here are some of our favorite family activities in the Rockford area.

Discovery Center Museum Rockford

Discovery Center Museum

Visit this top-ranked children’s museum with over 250 hands-on exhibits, a planetarium and an outdoor park. Print a COUPON here.


Burpee Museum of Natural History

See Jane, the skeleton of a young T-rex, and Homer, a teen-age Triceratops, along with a Wooly Mammoth skeletal cast and other engaging exhibits.


Midway Village Museum

A Victorian village with 26 historical buildings and costumed interpreters depicting life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910.


Magic Waters Waterpark

Experience the 75 ft Double Dare Drop Speed Slides, Tsunami Bay Wave Pool, Splash Blaster Water Coaster Ride, and more. $12 Buck bargain days on Wednesdays.


Rockford Art Museum

Modern and contemporary American art, including American Impressionist painting, Chicago Imagist works, mixed media, sculpture and glass with a regional art focus.


Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens

A historic house museum that is a rich time capsule of life during the Victorian Era. See the Swiss cottage and the limestone mansion and grounds.


Anderson Japanese Gardens

12 acre award-winning Japanese garden with koi ponds, winding paths, streams, waterfalls and more.



Don’t miss these fun Rockford summer events.


Aug. 7, 14, & 21

Friday Night Flix

Bring your lawn chairs to view movies in Davis Park.


Aug. 15

Black Family Reunion

The National Council of Negro Women celebrates the enduring strengths and traditional values of African American Family and Education with food, sun and fellowship for all ages.


Aug. 22-23

Japanese Summer Festival

Traditional demonstrations and unique performances fill this cultural festival at the Anderson Japanese Gardens.


Aug. 30

Midtown Ethnic Parade and Festival

A day to celebrate all of the diverse cultures in Rockford with a parade of colors, international foods, performances, children’s area, beer garden and more.



Sock Monkey Madness Festival 2015

Here’s the story of the sock monkey. In the Victorian era, craft makers made stuffed animals as children’s toys and monkey toys became quite popular. John Nelson was a Swedish immigrant to Rockford and began knitting socks on an automatic machine that he patented. His most popular socks were created without seams in the heels, and eventually became know as the Rockford Red Heel. In 1955, Nelson Knitting was awarded the patent for the sock monkey doll. Todays sock monkeys get their distinctive red mouth from the red-heeled Nelson socks.