Veteran Acres Park
Entrances off of Route 176 and Walkup Road - 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' 2020 - Best Park
Voted 'Best of the Fox' 2019 - Best Park
Voted 'Best of the Fox' 2018 - One of the Best Parks
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!
- Feb 23 Spring Firewood Sale on March 16-Reserve Today!
- Feb 23 Crystal Lake Park District Receives Illinois Parks and Recreation GameTime/PlayCore Grant for Haligus Park Playground
- Feb 12 Crystal Lake Park District Receives OSLAD Grant for Della St Park Renovation
- Feb 08 Crystal Lake Park District Digital Camp Guide is Live
- Feb 07 Natural Resource Management Project Underway at Veteran Acres
- Feb 06 2nd Annual Galentine’s Day Brunch on Feb 11
- Feb 05 Social Dance Nights and Dance Lessons for Adults at the Crystal Lake Park District
- Feb 05 Registration Now Open for Barlina House Preschool 2024-2025 School Year
- Jan 28 Family Winter Mini Golf Event at Lippold Family Golf Center-CANCELLED
- Jan 18 Natural Resource Management Project Underway at Winding Creek Park and Bike Path
- Jan 12 Monday Memory-The 1935-1950 Tobaggan Slide at Lake Park (now Main Beach)
- Jan 08 Reg by Jan 19 for the Snowbird Softball Tournament
- Jan 08 Limited Spots Still available for Hearts & Artists, A Valentine’s Tea at Colonel Palmer House
- Jan 07 Natural Resource Management Project at Sterne's Woods and Fen
- Jan 04 New sessions of Crystal Lake Park District Group Fitness and Yoga classes begin in Jan 8
- Jan 04 Tot-Teen Dance Classes Featuring a Spring Recital Begin Jan 8
- Jan 04 Enrolling Now Winter Spring Martial Arts Classes including Pre-Karate, Shotokan Karate and Hapkido
- Jan 02 Crystal Lake Park District Offers Free Holiday Light Recycling through Jan 15
- Dec 15 Winter/Spring Activity Guide Registration Now Open
- Dec 14 Natural Resource Management Project Underway at Woodscreek Park
- Dec 07 Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy with Crystal Lake Park District Gift Cards
- Dec 07 Nature Center Temporarily Closed For Exhibit Remodeling
- Dec 06 Limited Spots Still available for A Norman Rockwell Tea on Dec 16 & 17
- Dec 04 2nd/3rd & 4th/5th Grade Boys Basketball League-Registration deadline Jan 5
- Nov 21 Enroll Now for Hapkido Starting on Nov 29
- Nov 21 Luminaria Walk at Veteran Acres Nov 29-Dec 2
- Nov 07 Haligus Road Park Design Update Meeting on Nov 8
- Nov 07 Dog Obedience Begins Nov 22
- Nov 07 November Youth/Teen Variety Classes
- Nov 01 Protect Yourself From Scams & Burglaries Workshop on Nov 10
- Nov 01 Grand Oaks Walking Club 2023
- Oct 26 Register Now for Puzzle Palooza on Nov 5
- Oct 24 Fall Firewood Sale on Nov 4-Stock Up for Your Fall Bonfires!
- Oct 16 Plan to Attend the Hill Farm Park Community Input Meeting on Oct 24
- Oct 13 Free Family Fun at Truck or Treat on Sat, Oct 28
- Oct 11 Book at Wagon Ride Through Sterne's Woods
- Oct 10 Henrietta's Harvest-CANCELED due to inclement weather
- Oct 04 Social Dance Nights at Grand Oaks Plus Line Dancing Class & Couples Social Dance
- Oct 03 NEW Programs & Events at Colonel Palmer House
- Oct 02 Lippold Park Seal Coating Project Updates-Week of Oct 2
- Sep 19 Registration Open for Girls & Boys Basketball Leagues
- Sep 15 Fishing Line Recycling Receptacles a Success
- Sep 03 Enroll Now for Fall Session of Dance
- Sep 02 Youth Athletics Classes Begin Sept 9
- Sep 01 Women's Golf Clinic Begins Sept 3 at Lippold Family Golf Center
- Aug 21 Snake Study Update-a collaboration with McHenry County College Biology Students
- Aug 21 Online Registration Down for Upgrades Tu, Aug 22 at 3 pm-Wed, Aug 23
- Aug 15 Fall 2023 Registration Now Open
- Aug 11 It's A GO-Caddyshack is ON for Tonight, Fri Aug 11
- Aug 02 Community Input Survey-Della Street Park Renovations plus Community Input Meeting on Aug 16
- Jul 26 Caddyshack-Movie in the Park on Aug 11-Costume Contest Added to the Event
- Jul 25 Additional Date Added to Crystal Lake Park District Concert in the Park Schedule
- Jul 25 Public Invited to Peter Pan Jr Performance by Musical Theatre Camp
- Jul 24 July/August Programs at Colonel Palmer House
- Jul 14 Group Sailing Lessons Begin July 24
- Jul 14 Summer Hapkido and Women’s Self Defense Clinic
- Jul 07 July/August Nature Center Programs & Events
- Jul 05 Cops N Bobbers Gary Svejcar Fishing Derby for Kids on July 30
- Jul 05 Women’s Self Defense Clinic on July 22
- Jul 04 Crystal Lake Park District Adult Camp (21+)
- Jul 03 Swim Lessons Sess 2 begin July 10
- Jul 03 Save the Date-Sat, Jul 15, to UNPLUG After Dark at Veteran Acres
- Jun 29 Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy the Crystal Lake Parade and Fireworks Celebration
- Jun 27 Summer Tennis Lessons for Ages 5-Adult Session 3 begins Jul 17
- Jun 27 Crystal Lake Fireworks Info Plus Wristband Pre-Purchase Info
- Jun 26 FREE Summer Sing-A-Longs on June 28 & July 15
- Jun 25 Positive Pebbles Kits Available at the Administrative Office
- Jun 08 NEW Event! Aloha Summer Sunset Celebration on June 9
- Jun 01 Crystal Lake Park District Concerts in the Park Kicks off May 30
- May 27 2023 Beach Operations-Main Beach Opens Sat, May 27
- May 05 Registration Open for Summer 2023
- Apr 24 Thank You Crystal Lake Park District Volunteers!
- Apr 10 Lippold Family Golf Center Open for Season
- Apr 06 Limited Number of Community Garden Plots Available
- Apr 05 Line Dancing Class & Social Ballroom Class plus Social Dance Nights
- Apr 04 Spots Filling Quickly for Summer Camp 2023-Register Today!
- Apr 04 Crystal Lake Park District Nature Offers Spring Programs for Tots-Adults
- Mar 15 Crystal Lake Park District Awarded Urban and Community Forestry Grant for Tree Planting
- Mar 08 Crystal Lake Park District Awarded 2022 Government Award from the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
- Mar 07 Crystal Lake Park District Awarded $600,000 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant for Development of Park on Haligus Road
- Mar 06 Social Dance Nights March 10, April 22, May 19
- Mar 06 Paint Nites and Watercolor Painting
- Mar 06 Crystal Lake Park District Announces Spring Firewood Sale on March 18
- Feb 27 Update Regarding Northwestern Medicine Healthcare Crystal Lake Fitness Center and the Crystal Lake Park District
- Feb 22 Highlight the Night Son Date Night on April 28
- Feb 22 Mother Daughter Tea at Colonel Palmer House on April 30
- Feb 22 Four Winds Casino Trip and Land of Lincoln Trip Still Have Limited Spots Available
- Feb 22 New Sessions of Youth Athletics Beginning Feb 27 and Apr 24
- Feb 21 EVP Spring Break Volleyball Camp Mar 27-30
- Feb 19 Register NOW for Summer Camp!
- Feb 15 Next Session of Little Medical School Veterinarian Programs Begins March 24
- Feb 15 Summer 2023 Seasonal Jobs-NOW HIRING
- Feb 13 Register Now for Puzzle Palooza on March 19
- Feb 07 Valentine/Galentine Zumba Party Scheduled for Feb 10
- Jan 20 NEW! Galentine's Day Brunch with the Crystal Lake Park District
- Jan 20 Dates Nights for Sons and Daughters in Feburary and April
- Jan 19 Limited Spots Still Available for this Season's Adult Trips
- Jan 17 Willows Edge Park Invasive Brush Clearing Efforts Underway
- Jan 16 Snowbird Softball Tourney Team Registration Due by Jan 27
- Jan 15 EVP & Crystal Lake Park District Host Snow Volleyball Tournament
- Jan 02 Register by Jan 6 for Boys Basketball League
- Dec 23 Free Holiday Light Recycling thru December 30
- Dec 22 Winter Spring Activity Guide Available and Registration is Opens Dec 9
- Dec 07 Send Us Your Letter to Santa by December 9
- Dec 05 Holiday Break Camps for Youth and Teens
- Mar 05 Drop In Walking Club fo Seniors Grand Oaks Auditorium
- Mar 09 Bubble Gum and Beach Slime: Kids Life Coaching Lab Woodscreek Park Building
- Mar 09 Art Attack Beginner Youth-March Crystal Lake Park District Admin. Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake
- Mar 13 Giltzy Girlz Peach Love Glam Dance Party Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake
- Mar 13 Art Attack! Sip and Paint-March Crystal Lake Park District Admin. Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake
- Mar 16 Firewood Sale Lippold Park Maintenance Garage (Rte 176, east of Mickey Sund Fields)
- Mar 16 Barn Dance Main Beach Pavilion, 300 Lakeshore Dr, Crystal Lake
- Mar 23 Women's Self Defense Clinic Spoerl Park, 7610 Pingree Rd, Crystal Lake
- Mar 23 The Water Garden Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta Avenue, Crystal Lake
- Mar 24 Puzzle Palooza-Competitive Division Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake