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Water World

As summer arrives, the waterways beckon

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:54 a.m. CDT

As the summer months warm up, people hit the water in the Forest Preserves of DuPage County. Two popular locations for boating within the preserves include Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville and Herrick Lake at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton.

“Boat rental is definitely a popular option, especially in the summertime,” says Bonnie Olszewski, public affairs specialist. “… The rental boats are just kind of a fun way to get perspective or do something you maybe haven’t done since summer camp.”

Rowboat, canoe and kayak rentals are available at Silver Lake and Herrick Lake. Additionally, boats with electric trolling motors are available for rental at Herrick Lake. Olszewski says both locations get really busy on the weekends and boats are rented on a first come, first served basis. Visitors are also welcome to launch boats from Silver Lake in Blackwell Forest Preserve, Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve and Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve. “Mallard Lake is a neat place to get out on the water because that’s the biggest lake in the forest preserve district,” Olszewski says. People come out to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County because they can do just one particular activity, or spend the whole day.

“These are places that are familiar to DuPage County,” Olszewski says. “They’re really just peaceful places. It’s nice to be able to get a different perspective on the water.”

Visitors also have access to the west branch of the DuPage River through the forest preserve. Currently, the best place to access the river is through Salt Creek. A few options for entrance are available, including at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Park and Salt Creek Park in Wood Dale. The forest preserve also offers a take-out only location at Salt Creek Greenway in Elmhurst.

“We get all ages on the waters,” Olszewski says. “People even bring their dogs.”

All boats on the forest preserve’s waters will need a permit. Both day passes and annual passes are available for purchase at Visitor Services District Headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road, Wheaton. Daily permits can also be purchased at the Blackwell Forest Preserve Boat Rental Area and at the steel lock boxes at Blackwell, Mallard Lake and Hidden Lake forest preserves.

“I always think, when I’m out in a boat, the perspective is different,” Olszewski says.

In addition to providing basic instruction to those renting on how to maneuver boats, the forest preserve district also offers several events throughout the season, including fishing programs covering various techniques, and programs like fishing by kayak, kayaking basics and paddle with a ranger programs. Find a complete calendar of events at www.dupageforest.org/Calendar.aspx.

“Kayaking is a really popular sport at this time,” Hambel says.

If you prefer your water recreation a bit less serene, there are a multitude of nearby waterparks, filled with pools, slides, lazy rivers and more to keep you cool and the kids entertained all season long. At Benesenville Water Park and Splash Pad a 155 -oot long water slide plunges you into cool refreshment. Diving boards and drop slides keep everyone busy and happy while Mom and Dad lounge in sun or shade.  An alternative to the pool is the 2500 square foot splash pad, boasting sprays and jets, and a fully interactive play environment for young and old alike.

The Cypress Cove Family Aquatic Center in Woodridge features two 25 yard competiion pools alongside three body slides, a tube slide, drop slide, two kiddie slides, a 600-foot lazy river, spray play area, sand play area and two concession stands.

Weather questionsable? Head to Bolingbrook and the Pelican Harbor Aquatic Center, which offers indoor and outdoor water fun, so you can make the most of the summer’s day - rain or shine!  Inside  the zero-depth entry pool and tot slide are the perfect place for the littlest swimmers, while two waterslides and tumble buckets keep the big brothers and sisters entertained. a ten-person hot tup is perfectly positioned in the center of it all.

Whatever your water pleasure, take the plunge across our communities this season.

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