Enjoy five miles of winding brick paths along the DuPage River in downtown Naperville. Built by the residents of Naperville to commemorate the city's 150th birthday in 1981, the Riverwalk features covered bridges, gazebos, playgrounds and a paddleboat quarry. Operated by the Park District, the Riverwalk is one of the Midwest's most beautifully maintained park grounds and has won state and national awards. You will find monuments with the names of Naperville's old farm families as well as the distinctive shepherd's-crook light poles along the paths that have become a symbol of Naperville's link to its historic past.
Located adjacent to the Riverwalk is a former quarry called Centennial Beach, which was dedicated as the community's swimming pool in 1931. Today, Naperville families still enjoy the large award-winning swimming facility and participate in its many summer activities and programs. Centennial Beach also offers a sand beach, sand volleyball area, playground equipment for kids and concession stands. Daily and season passes available.
Colorful paddleboats can be rented at the paddleboat quarry next to Centennial Beach for fun and relaxation. Weather permitting, the paddleboat quarry is open all non-school days spring through fall. Paddleboats can be rented for 20-minute or 40-minute rides. Fee.
A popular sledding area, Rotary Hill is the site of many special events held on the Riverwalk. Rotary Hill is located north of Aurora Avenue (across from Naperville Central High School) and west of Eagle Street (near the Municipal Center). At the base of Rotary Hill, the Moser Tower Millennium Carillon celebrates the arrival of the third millennium. Rising 158 feet above the Riverwalk, the concert quality carillon is one of a few instruments this large in the world. Seventy-two bronze bells resonate at the top of the tower with the largest weighing almost six tons.
Free programs are offered at the Riverwalk Amphitheater, an open-air, multi-tiered structure that is positioned on the Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue between Webster and Eagle streets. Embedded in the amphitheater's stage is a labyrinth path. Situated behind and above the Riverwalk Amphitheater, the Millennium Wall commemorates the community spirit of Naperville residents and businesses who contributed to Celebration 2000, a citywide celebration to welcome the new millennium.
DUPAGE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
301 N. Washington Street
DuPage Children's Museum is a unique discovery center where children and adults can explore, discover, learn and play together. With over 20,000 square feet of exhibits, there is something fun for everyone. View interesting works of art and experiment with light, color and sound in Creativity Connections. Build with real wood and tools in the Construction House. Climb the amazing, two-story AirTower or get blown away by the force of air in our walk-in Wind Tunnel. Build a dam to hold back the flow of water in either of the two flowing water areas in WaterWays. Blow a gigantic bubble in Bubbles or build your own racetrack in Ramps & Rollers. There are also three Young Explorer areas that feature numerous activities specially designed for the infants to two-year olds. The Museum is located at 301 North Washington Street in Naperville, Illinois. For more information about DuPage Children's Museum, please call (630) 637-8000. Museum hours: Monday: 9 a.m -1 pm, Tuesday 9am-5pm, Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am -5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.
523 S. Webster Street
Aurora Avenue at Webster Street
Step outdoors and see the past come alive at Naper Settlement, a living history museum, which tells how life changed for the people of northern Illinois in towns such as Naperville throughout the 19th century. During this era, Naper’s Settlement was transformed from a pioneer outpost in 1831 to a bustling turn-of-the century community. As the only living history museum in Illinois accredited by the American Association of Museums, costumed villagers, a distinct collection of 19th century objects, historic buildings and structures bring the past to life. Relive the past: The gateway to the village is a re-creation of the 1834 Pre-Emption House that now houses the Visitor Center and Galleries including a permanent interactive exhibit called, “Brushstrokes of the Past…Naperville’s Story” and changing exhibits in the Heritage Gallery. In the “History Connection,” our national award-winning hands-on activity center located in the Meeting House, children from ages 3 to 10 will experience history through play from April through October.
Climb aboard the Conestoga wagon and imagine being transported back in time. Experience 30 historic buildings and structures in the 13-acre village including working businesses, such as the Blacksmith Shop and Print Shop, Century Memorial Chapel, a one-room schoolhouse, a fort and Martin Mitchell Mansion, a grand Victorian home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Special events take place year-round, including a spring and fall flower show and sale, Civil War Days, a Victorian wedding re-enactment at Century Memorial Chapel, unique art fairs, and Christmas Memories, featuring Victorian holiday decorations. Discover where community begins at Naper Settlement. Naper Settlement and the Century Memorial Chapel are available for hosting special events and weddings. Admission charge.
Throughout the year, Naper Settlement holds special events including the Old-Fashioned Quilt Show in February, Civil War Days in May and Christmas Memories in December. Year-round offerings include Victorian and pioneer classes, birthday parties and other educational programming and rental opportunities for weddings, private parties, business meetings and other events. An optional audio tour is available during the summer months and is included with admission during the winter months.
Family and individual memberships are available. Volunteers are welcome. Admission charge. Call for summer and winter season hours at 630-420-6010 and the Special Event Hotline at 630-305-5555.
While enjoying downtown attractions look for major works of art located throughout the downtown area, known as the Century Walk. Bright mosaics, reliefs, colorful murals and sculpture highlight the heritage and culture of the community. Three new art pieces are commissioned each year.
Naperville Trolley & Tours, Ltd.
Tour Naperville's historic neighborhoods and shopping areas with Naperville's Trolley Meister and his 32-passenger trolley. Approximately one hour in length, the tour includes North Central College, Historic District, charming downtown business and shopping districts, state-of-the-art police and fire station, scenic Riverwalk and Naper Settlement's historical grounds and museum. Look for the trolley stop at the Riverwalk.
The trolley also offers birthday, wedding, and anniversary party charters. Individual, group and corporate rates available. Call for information and reservations.
NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE
Brainard Street (2 blocks east of downtown Naperville)
Office of Public Information
Established in Naperville in 1870, North Central College is a comprehensive liberal arts college enrolling 2,600 students, including some 1,650 full-time undergraduates. Another 900 working adult undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled part time in day, evening or weekend classes.
Nationally known for its teaching excellence, North Central College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors from the school's 21 academic departments and six master's degree programs. Numerous interdisciplinary programs are provided in addition to a variety of independent study and research opportunities, off-campus programs and internships. Pre-professional programs in engineering, law and medicine are offered in cooperation with major research universities.
Nearly 90 percent of North Central's 117 full-time faculty have the highest degree in their field. The college also has some 25 part-time instructors, many of whom are professionals employed in the Illinois high-technology Research & Development Corridor. North Central students come from 26 states and 21 foreign countries. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1. North Central College is regularly ranked among the top tier of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report and as one of the "Best College Values" in the nation. North Central College hosted of the NCAA Division III National Track & Field Championships in May 2000.