Veteran Acres Park
Entrances off of Route 176 and Walkup Avenue - 140 Acres
Veteran Acres is one of the crown jewels of the Crystal Lake Park District. Located on the site are the Crystal Lake Park District Nature Center, Rotary Building and Oakwoods Lodge. This park boasts a variety of outdoor athletic fields and recreational areas including restrooms, two picnic shelters, a playground, two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, Mary Peacock softball field used by the Girls Softball Association, Frank Repp baseball field used by Babe Ruth Baseball League, a sled hills, Acorn Alley splash pad, walking paths, boardwalk and fishing pier.
Passive recreation lovers enjoy groomed cross country ski trails in the winter and hiking trails through natural areas including Sterne's Woods and Wingate Prairie, an Illinois Nature Preserve. McHenry County Conservation District's Prairie Trail also winds through Veteran Acres.
The Nature Center
Veteran Acres is home to the regionally recognized Nature Center. Since the Nature Center re-opened in 1998, we have upgraded and are constantly striving to improve our facilities, but our goals have remained the same. Open year-round, we provide a unique opportunity for anyone to experience nature through progressive programs, hands-on activities, seasonal exhibits and volunteer opportunities. Located in Veteran Acres Park, it is the ideal starting point for a hike through the Veteran Acres Woods and Wingate Prairie.
Veteran Acres is home to the Acorn Alley Splash Pad and Playground.
Please note: Groups of 20 or more wishing to use the picnic shelter must obtain a special permit at the Crystal Lake Park District Administrative Office.
Veteran Acres has multiple picnic shelters and areas for rent. For rates and locations, click on the button below.
Veteran Acres News Highlights
Voted 'Best of the Fox' 2017-Best Park
Voted 'Best of the Fox' 2016-Best Park
Voted 'Best of the Fox' 2015-One of the Best Parks
Veteran Acres Trail System A Hit with Ultra Marathoners
Ultra Runners from all over converge on Veteran Acres and Sterne's Woods each year for the McHenry (County) Ultra Running Dudes and Dudettes (MUDD) Frozen Gnome. In The Frozen Gnome's race, runners chose either the 50K ultra run or a 10K through the snow and terrain of the park.
Thank you to MUDD for sharing this video clip from the event and also passing on kudos from runners about Veteran Acres Park.
From Brian Lemmon-Frozen Gnome runner
"A huge thank you to you and all of the volunteers. This was my 6th trail run & was the most enjoyable due to the course layout & volunteers. I've passed by VA Park many times, heard there were trails back there but never thought too much of it being in Illinois, my oh my was I ever so wrong. Had a blast!."
Going Gaga for Gaga at the Rotary Building at Veteran Acres
Gaga is a fast paced, high energy sport played in an octagonal pit. The more players the better! Dubbed a kinder gentler version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. Players need to keep moving to avoid getting hit by the ball. Fun and easy, everyone gets a serious workout.
In 2016, an Eagle Scout project resulted in a Gaga Pit installation at The Rotary Building. It is open to the public and will also be used by Summer Day Camp groups and field trip groups. It is free to use. Just bring your own equipment. Check out how to play and find out what equipment is needed.
The Crystal Lake Park District Follow Thru on environmental mission with Veteran Acres Bathroom Solar Panels
Solar panels were added to the newly renovated Veteran Acres Bathroom. Check out the energy production in real time! Be sure to check out the bottom of the report for the Environmental Benefits to Date. As of August 2016 enough electricity has been produced to power one cell phone for 422 years!
- Jan 16 Register by February 2 for Daddy Daughter Luau
- Jan 16 Don’t PASS up the Opportunity to be a Part of the Crystal Lake Park District Cake Decorating Class on Jan 20
- Jan 16 Register by March 2 for Mom Son Wild West Fest
- Jan 15 Join us on January 21 for a Bonfire! Food! Sterne’s Woods & Fen Volunteer Work Day and Cookout
- Jan 15 Chili Open Golf Classic is a Crystal Lake Tradition-Get Your Tee Time Today!
- Jan 15 Register by January 30 for the 2018 Snowbird Softball Tournament
- Jan 15 Crystal Lake Park District Now Hiring for Summer Seasonal Jobs
- Jan 15 Crystal Lake Park District Offers Ice Rink and Sledding Locations for Winter Fun
- Jan 15 Indoor Walking Option at The Racket Club -Monday thru Friday
- Jan 12 Register by March 20 for Breakfast with the Bunny
- Dec 28 FREE Music and Dancing at Park Place Banquet in January and February
- Dec 28 Enroll Now for 1st Session of Winter Fitness Classes with the Crystal Lake Park District
- Dec 28 Registration Deadline January 15, 4th-6th Grade Boys After School Basketball League
- Dec 28 Register by February 2 for Daddy Daughter Luau
- Dec 11 Volunteer Work Day Scheduled for December 17 at Sterne’s Woods & Fen
- Dec 11 Kids are Welcome in the Kitchen at the Crystal Lake Park District
- Dec 11 Crystal Lake Park District Offers Dance Programs for Adults in Winter/Spring Season
- Nov 21 Register Now for Crystal Lake Park District Holiday Dance Mix Party on December 3
- Nov 21 Watch for the Winter/Spring brochure in the mail after December 1
- Nov 13 Still time to Register-Enjoy a Holiday Brunch with Friends on December 7 at Grand Oaks Active Senior Center
- Nov 13 Crystal Lake Park District Challenges Park District Residents to ‘Light Up’ Crystal Lake In Holiday Decorating Contest
- Nov 13 Classic Christmas Bedtime Stories for Kids Ages 3-10
- Nov 13 Register by November 29 for Santa's Workshop
- Nov 13 Letters to Santa Program is a Crystal Lake Park District Tradition
- Nov 13 Register by December 22 for Family Noon Years Eve
- Nov 13 Senior Day Trips with Crystal Lake Park District
- Oct 17 -FREE Family Halloween Fun at Main Beach on October 28- Crystal Lake Park District Truck or Treat
- Oct 17 Volunteer Work Day Scheduled for October 22 at Sterne’s Woods & Fen
- Oct 17 Still Time to Register for Institute Day Fun for Ages 5-13
- Oct 17 Crystal Lake Park District Offers Ballroom and Social Dancing Program for Adults
- Oct 17 FREE Big Band Entertainment on the Schedule at Park Place on October 20
- Oct 17 Register Now for Crystal Lake Park District Holiday Cooking Demonstration with Chef Dave Esau
- Oct 17 Still Time to Register for Yoga with the Crystal Lake Park District
- Oct 17 Senior Day Trips with Crystal Lake Park District
- Oct 17 Competition is Heating Up 17 Teams Registered for Puzzle Palooza!
- Oct 02 Park District Invites Residents to Attend State of the Lake Meeting on October 30
- Oct 02 Drop-In Tot Open Gym Returns for Fall 2017 Program Season at the Crystal Lake Park District
- Oct 02 October 14: Adult Line Dance Party -Learn the basics with an introductory lesson-
- Sep 23 Fetzner Park Riparian Restoration Project Meeting Scheduled for October 5
- Sep 18 Volunteer Work Day Scheduled for September 24 at Sterne’s Woods & Fen
- Sep 11 Kids are Welcome in the Kitchen at the Crystal Lake Park District
- Sep 11 FREE Family Fun at Black Diamond Kite Fest
- Sep 11 East Coast Swing is the Featured Dance for Upcoming Saturday Night Dance for Adults - Program includes complimentary dance le
- Sep 11 Crystal Lake Park District Challenges Park District Residents to Participate in the Haunted Home Decorating Contest
- Sep 11 Are you a Puzzle Pro? Put a Team Together and Test Your Jigsaw Skills Against the Best at Puzzle Palooza!
- Sep 11 Music Entertainment on the Schedule at Park Place in October
- Sep 08 Businesses and Organizations Needed To Participate in Crystal Lake Park District Truck or Treat
- Sep 08 Crystal Lake Park District Begins Fetzner Park Riparian Restoration Project
- Sep 06 Main Beach Bricks Available for Pick Up NOW
- Aug 30 Home School Expo at Park Place Cancelled
- Aug 30 Crystal Lake Park District Hosts 21st Annual Crystal Lake Half Marathon -Volunteer Help Needed-
- Aug 30 Wanna Get a Little Nutty? Collect acorns on behalf of the Crystal Lake Park District Environmental Committee!
- Aug 18 Businesses and Organizations Needed To Participate in Crystal Lake Park District Truck or Treat
- Aug 17 Volunteer Work Day Scheduled for August 27 at Sterne’s Woods & Fen
- Aug 17 Lunch and Learn Series Returns to Colonel Palmer House for Fall Program Season
- Aug 17 Ol’ Time Wagon Rides a Fall Tradition at Sterne’s Woods
- Aug 17 Main Beach Renovation Project Update for Playground Brick Owners
- Aug 16 Girls After School Basketball League (Ages 9-11) A Crystal Lake Park District Fall Program Highlight
- Aug 16 Crystal Lake Park District Seeks Vendors for Home School Expo at Park Place
- Aug 16 Working Parents Have Childcare Options with Crystal Lake Park District Extended Time Programs for 2017-2018 School Year
- Aug 04 Crystal Lake Park District Fall Program Brochure to Be Mailed To Residents
- Aug 01 Crystal Lake Park District Offers Chance to Try a Fitness Class for Free in August
- Jul 31 Crystal Lake Open to Motorized Watercraft
- Jul 28 Crystal Lake Park District Announces Facility Closings Due to Flooding
- Jul 28 Crystal Lake Park District Announces Appointment of Park Board Commissioner, Julie Martens
- Jul 26 Crystal Lake Closed to Motorized Watercraft
- Jul 24 Crystal Lake Park District 2017-2022 Strategic Plan Approved by Board of Commissioners
- Jul 20 Open Water Swim Race CANCELLED
- Jul 17 Aquatic Herbicide Treatments of Non-Native Species on Crystal Lake on July 18
- Jul 17 Volunteer Work Day Scheduled for July 23 at Sterne’s Woods & Fen
- Jul 11 Free Summer Sundays at Colonel Palmer House continues on July 16 With ‘CPH Country Fair’
- Jul 11 Food Vendors Named for Blast on the Beach
- Jul 11 Still Time to Register for Crystal Lake Park District Lifeguard Training Class
- Jul 10 West Bay Herbicide Treatment Scheduled for July 11
- Jul 10 July 12 is ‘Everyday Hero Day’ at Crystal Lake Park District Summer Camp
- Jun 21 Special Event Dates Affecting Main Beach Boat Launch Key Card Holders
- Jun 21 Craft Fair Vendors Needed at Crystal Lake Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram/Crystal Lake Park District Blast on the Beach
- Jun 17 Crystal Lake Park District Partners with Black Diamond to Host Kids’ Party in the Park
- May 25 Swim Lessons at Main Beach with the Crystal Lake Park District Swim School
- May 24 Lippold Park Family Golf Center Offers Boomers Golf Drop-In Special
- May 24 Crystal Castle and Acorn Alley Splash Pad Hours of Operation
- May 23 Main and West Beaches Open on May 27
- May 23 Exciting New Additions to Concerts in the Park Series
- May 23 Free Summer Sundays at Colonel Palmer House begins on June 4
- May 23 Enroll Now for Summer Fitness and Yoga Classes at Crystal Lake Park District
- Apr 26 Crystal Lake Main Beach Passes on Sale May 8
- Apr 25 Garden Plots at Hill Farm Acres
- Apr 25 Summer Camp registration now open at Crystal Lake Park District
- Apr 15 Crystal Lake Park District 2017-2022 Strategic Plan Available for Public Review
- Jan 19 Art Attack Sip and Paint BYOB Night Grand Oaks, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
- Jan 20 Unfinished Craft Object Drop In Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
- Jan 20 Confetti Gourmet Cooking Class Confetti Gourmet Academy
- Jan 20 Ambrose King & The River Rats at Park Place Park Place, 406 W. Woodstock St, Crystal Lake
- Jan 21 Bonfire! Food! Sterne’s Woods & Fen Volunteer Work Day and Cookout Sterne's picnic shelter, 5617 Hillside Drive
- Jan 24 EZ Sitting Country Line Dance Grand Oaks, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
- Jan 27 MixxedFit/Zumba Party Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive, Crystal Lake
- Jan 27 Country Line Dance Party Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
- Feb 01 Registration Opens for New Students at Barlina House Preschool Crystal Lake Park District Admin. Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake
- Feb 03 Registration Deadline February 3 for Chili Open Golf Classic Crystal Lake Park District Admin. Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake