Summer fun to be had in Grundy County

MORRIS – It’s time to forget about the below zero temperatures, the backbreaking shoveling and the fight to stay warm.

After a seemingly long winter with lower than normal temperatures, summer has finally arrived.

With summer and warmer weather, or should we say sometimes extremely hot days, residents are taking to the pools, bike trails and splash pads to find ways to entertain the children who were cooped up for far too long over the winter.

Whether you want to cool off or get out to exercise after a long day, there is plenty to do in Grundy County.

For those looking for fun in the water, there are a few places to choose from.

Morris City Pool

The Morris pool offers hours of fun in the sun with a splash pad, beach entry, slides, diving boards and basketball hoops. There is fun for every age at the city pool, which was remodeled two summers ago.

The Morris City Pool is open noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and in the evening from 6 to 9 p.m. for open swim. Weekend hours are from noon to 7 p.m.

The pool’s open swim is offered to both residents and nonresidents. Fees for a resident child are $1, resident adult $3, nonresident child $2, and nonresident adult $5.

“A resident is anyone who pays a Morris water bill,” co-manager Jim Hitchcock said.

The pool also offers two adult-only swim times where the diving boards and slides are not open. Adults may swim laps, float or exercise from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from now until Aug. 1 with the purchase of a morning swim pass for $50. The pool is also open to adults from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday for a $1 entry fee.

Classes are being offered starting July 7. The Mommy and Me class consists of six half-hour lessons over a two-week period, and American Red Cross swim lessons are at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m..

“The pool is also available for pool parties, where those renting it will have exclusive use of the pool,” Hitchcock said.

Lion’s Park in Minooka

For those looking for free water fun, a splash pad is located at Lion’s Park on McEvilly Road in Minooka.

The park, which offers playground equipment, a shelter and walking paths, also is home to the splash pad which is open during daylight hours.

“I’m from Yorkville, but my grandchildren live here in Minooka,” Lee Seloover said while visiting the splash park Thursday. “Now that we’ve found this place, I’m sure we’ll be back.”

There are benches to sit on while the children run and play among various water spouts.

Stratton Park - Illinois River

Boaters and jet skiers converge at Stratton Park in Morris on the Illinois River to enjoy a day out on the water. Many get in the water to ski or tube behind their boat.

Deputy Chief Bob Wills with the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District said while people with life vests do go in off their boats, it is prohibited for anyone to swim at the park, and he doesn’t advise even wading in the river.

“The river has a strange undertow current that a lot of people are not familiar with,” Wills said. “We don’t want people in it.”

He said the current comes close to the shores and with the river flowing at three to five knots (five to seven miles per hour), it doesn’t take long to get swept away.

So while the river boasts a great place to boat, it is not a safe place to cool off in the water.

The park also is home to Kayak Morris, which offers kayak rentals as well as guided tours throughout the summer. Reservations are requested.

For those who want to enjoy the summer weather while keeping dry, there are area walking and biking trails that also are free to the public.

I & M Canal

Nature lovers will love walking on the Grundy County portion of the 96-mile route of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ website, www.dnr.illinois.gov.

The trail on the old canal towpath offers miles of shaded path to walk or ride your bicycle. You can spend an hour or days as you enjoy the wildlife along the canal, which includes herons and other water fowl.

Goose Lake Prairie

Goose Lake Prairie offers seven miles of hiking trails among prairie grasses and wild flowers.

Those walking through the trails may see butterflies, deer, red fox, coyote, cottontail rabbit, muskrat, beaver and badgers, according to the IDNR. When looking to the trees and the skies, a hiker may see barred owls, kestrels, red-tailed and marsh hawks.

Upcoming summer festivals, fairs and events in Grundy County

For times and locations visit the Grundy Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s website, grundychamber.com.

Saturday - Minooka Summerfest, Coal City Cruise Night and Concert and Seneca Shipyard Days

Sunday: Carbon Hill Homecoming Parade

June 28: Morris Liberty Days

July 2 to July 6: Grundy County Agricultural Fair

July 12: Morris Cruise Night

July 26 to 27: Grundy County University of Illinois Extension 4H Fair

August 9: Morris Cruise Night and 3 French Hens French Country Market