The “crown jewel” of Aurora’s parks – Phillips Park—offers a variety of fun, family amenities for all ages and interests.
The 325-acre park, located at 1000 Ray Moses Drive, is home to a zoo, golf course, aquatic center and several newer features that make it a regional tourist destination.
At the Phillips Park Zoo, visitors can come up close with approximately 100 different animals representing 41 different species including bald eagles, a red tailed hawk, great horned owls, gray wolves, cougars and more. Admission to the zoo is free and tours are offered.
The championship caliber Phillips Park Golf Course is a fun and exciting 18-hole course that provides a wide range of challenge for golfers of varying abilities. With three sets of tees, the course can range from 4,760 yards to 6,200 yards and, depending upon wind conditions, pin placement and selected tees, can change identities from day to day.
The Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center is jointly-owned by the City of Aurora and the Fox Valley Park District. The facility offers a variety of pools, slides, and kid-friendly swimming areas along with sand volleyball courts and a full-service concession area. In conjunction with the aquatic center, children under the age of 13 can play in jets of water at the Phillips Park splash pad located outside the David and Karen Stover Visitors Center.
The park’s West End Development project, which was completed in 2011, includes a new dog park, boat docks, shoreline restoration, Mastodon Trail spur addition, volleyball court, softball field enhancements and the highly popular BMX/skate Park. Five acres of underutilized park land were used as part of the construction.
Your four-legged friends have nearly three acres to roam off-leash in the gated dog park. The Mastodon Trail was extended to provide a walking path to the dog park.
The Mastodon Trail/Boat dock features a one-mile walking, running and biking path that encircles Mastodon Lake. It has been enhanced with five new fitness stations for patrons – including an elliptical cross trainer, a two-person leg press and rowing machine. A floating dock system was installed to help launch boats, canoes and kayaks into Mastodon Lake, a 28-acre fishing lake. Many invasive weeds were removed from the shoreline and replanted with native plants as part of restoration effort.
Sand volleyball enthusiasts now have a third court to test their skills and concrete beanbag platforms have been installed. Patrons just need to bring their own beanbags. Softball field enhancements include outfield fencing, two new scoreboards, lights and an ADA-accessible concrete concourse that were built at the park’s two fields.
The 8,000-square-foot BMX/skate Park is one of the premiere facilities of its type in the entire Chicago area and features various obstacles that test both beginner and experienced BMX’ers and skateboarders.
At the David and Karen Stover Visitors Center, patrons can check out the mastodon bones that were unearthed in the park during a 1934 Civil Works Administration project. The largest of the artifacts, a mastodon skull, weighs 188 pounds. Also on display are mastodon bones estimated to be between 10,000 and 20,000 years old.
Outside the visitors center is the breathtaking Sunken Garden featuring annuals, ornamental grasses, shrubs, topiaries, a multi-level walkway and a three-tiered lighted fountain. The garden was originally built in the 1930’s and underwent a massive renovation in 2002.
The park also features a beautiful waterfall, World War I cannons and related memorabilia, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds and picnic pavilions.