I love a good theme, and the playground at the Batavia Riverwalk has a great theme: Boats. That and its lovely location and sense of history make it our latest in the “Great Parks!” series.
Park Name: Batavia Riverwalk
Location: Houston Street at Island Avenue in downtown Batavia, along the Fox River. If you’re driving on Wilson Street (the main east-west route through downtown Batavia) turn north onto Island Avenue (at the McDonald’s) and proceed until you see several public parking lots.
Amenities: Playground, picnic area, shelter, bicycle path, fishing area, performing arts pavilion, wildflower sanctuary, paddleboat rentals, and in the winter, an outdoor ice rink. There is a portable toilet located near the playground; it might also be possible to use the restrooms in the nearby Government Center during business hours. Here’s a bit more about the Riverwalk’s amenities. (July 12, 2016, note: The playground at this park has been updated since this post was originally written; the main playground equipment remains the same, but the surface material is now a cushion surface and the sand play area has been filled in.)
Good For: The playground is good for ages 2-3 and up. The Riverwalk would be wonderful for everything from a ramble with a baby in a stroller to a romantic promenade with your partner.
The Takeaway: The Riverwalk is a peaceful and picturesque spot, located on a 12-acre peninsula and therefore featuring gorgeous views of the Fox River. Yet it is located just a few blocks off the main drag through downtown Batavia. It’s the hub for many of Batavia’s community events, including the River Rhapsody Concert Series on Wednesday nights in the summer, the Windmill City Festival in July and Halloween events, too.
My daughter and I spent a very fun evening at the Riverwalk this spring. She loved the playground equipment, which is all on one level (about 5 feet off the ground) and designed to look like a boat. It features a couple of slides, a cargo net, a climbing ladder and a bell kids can ring, Some boys played a lively game of “pirates” while we were there. The playground also features some spinning chairs and musical instruments.
The Riverwalk, as you might guess, is located right along the Fox River. But there was enough space between the playground and the water that I didn’t feel nervous. While we there, a family fished from a boat ramp along the river. The Batavia Park District also rents paddle boats from the Riverwalk on select days. The cost is $10 a boat for 30 minutes.
If you have a child who can be lured from the playground (mine was not in the mood) the Riverwalk features some lovely places to take a stroll and a number of plaques with historical information. Follow the walk to the east to can see the Riverwalk wild flower sanctuary and Batavia dam. You can also access the eastern leg of the Fox River Bike Trail via a pedestrian/bicycle bridge.