Welcome to Atwood Center
Historic Seth B. Atwood Park, commonly referred to as Atwood, encompasses woodland, prairie, river, and marsh habitats. It contains 334 acres of land with approximately one mile of the Kishwaukee River flowing through it. There are a variety of ecosystems, ranging from new forest growth to climax forests of oak, hickory, and walnut, from a marsh area to a large quarry, from a restored prairie to a dry creek bed where students and campers can look for fossils.
Atwood Center is climate-controlled and consists of a large dining area complete with a stone fireplace and beautiful views of the park, two classrooms, a nature display area, two bunk rooms, separate bathrooms and showers, and private teachers’ sleeping and bath quarters. Its overnight capacity is 79.
Atwood Center is open to the public every Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm with a scheduled feeding time for the Birds of Prey at 1:00 pm.
Atwood Center serves as a visitor’s center, providing guests the opportunity to take self-guided hikes through Atwood Park, witness scheduled feeding times at the new Birds of Prey exhibit, and ask questions or interact with Birds of Prey volunteers and Atwood Center staff. These weekend activities will all be offered for free.
Atwood Center is also available for weekend retreats and offers two classrooms, meeting space with dormitories, and optional meal service. A non-refundable deposit is required to reserve program dates.
Seth B. Atwood Park and Conservation Service Award
We are very pleased to announce that the Seth B. Atwood Park and Conservation Service Award will be presented this year as part of the Rockford Park District City of Gardens Kick-Off Dinner and program beginning at 5:30 p.m. on April 25, 2013 at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens.
The Atwood Award is named in honor of Seth B. Atwood, the late industrialist who preserved and donated more than 1,000 acres of valuable land for the citizens of Winnebago County. Thanks to Mr. Atwood, we can all enjoy the beauty that is found in Atwood Park along the Kishwaukee River and Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve beside the Rock River. He was a man of action and his deeds set an example for all to follow.
The Atwood Award is presented by the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Park District Foundation and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. To date, 41 recipients have received this award which recognizes individuals and organizations for their exceptional volunteer contributions to facilities, programs or services which preserve natural areas and park spaces, provide recreation or education.
Rockford Park District's Atwood Center in Seth B. Atwood Park welcomes help from citizens to maintain and preserve areas of the park's 334 acres while enjoying the outdoors. The Park District's second-largest park is uniquely diverse, with prairie, woodland, river, and wetland areas that need special attention.
The public is invited to join the Environmental Recreation and Education staff on the second Saturday of the month from March 9 through September 14, 2013 from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. for a brief lesson about the area to be worked on, then pitching in to help with some maintenance. All ages are welcome; youth under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Snacks will be provided. Families and other types of groups can enjoy spending time together while knowing their contributions of time and effort help benefit nature and the community; - groups of five or more are asked to call 815-874-7576 in advance to advise Atwood staff of attendance.
The next Stewardship Saturdays will be April 13, May 11, and June 8, 2013. These are drop-in sessions, with no pre-registration required.
Birds of Prey Exhibit Wins State Award
In just a few short months, the new Birds of Prey exhibit at Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Rd., Rockford, has gained statewide attention. On Friday, January 25, 2013, Atwood Center staff accepted the Outstanding Facility & Park award from the Illinois Park & Recreation Association. The purpose of the Outstanding Facility and Park Award is to honor public agencies for outstanding and unique achievements in the design and development of park or recreation facilities.
"It was an amazing feeling to be recognized among park and recreation professionals from across the state. We are so proud of the unique design elements that allow us to enhance the educational opportunities at Atwood Center, and really be the new, family-friendly daylong or even overnight destination. We knew the exhibit was unique, but we are now finding out just how rare it is to have an accessible tree house, not only in Illinois but throughout the Midwest," says Atwood Center Manager Becky Lambert.
In September 2012, the Rockford Park District officially opened the new Birds of Prey exhibit, which takes the experience at Atwood Center to a new height. The project was made possible thanks to many generous donors such as the Atwood Foundation and Dr. Barbara Mae Atwood's Animal Foundation, along with Americans with Disabilities Act funding.
Click here to learn more about the Birds of Prey exhibit.