It may be on the edge of town, but Porter Park is one playground you don’t want to overlook when you’re heading outside to play with your kids
This Champaign park is chock full of unique features
If you frequent Champaign-Urbana’s parks and playgrounds, you’ll know that every single one offers something a little different. When you arrive at Porter Park, you are met by woodsy creatures, a slide that looks like a hollowed log and not a single piece of neon-colored playground equipment in sight.
Part of the Champaign Park District, Porter Park has something for everyone. In fact, this outing can be much more than a play on the playground, as you picnic, fish, walk or bike and relax on the prairie. The entire park is huge, covering about 38 acres; what you choose to do with that space is up to you. Bonus: With it being on the edge of town, it tends to be more empty than some of the other popular parks in our area on a typical warm day.
Parents with strollers will especially appreciate the wide and beautifully maintained walking path around Porter Park. The outer loop is about half a mile but there are also a number of interior paths connecting you throughout the park. You can weave your way around however you see fit. This is a popular place for parents to take kids that are learning to ride a bike as the paths are smooth, foot traffic is minimal and you’re not near any major roadways while you’re riding around.
Tips For Your Trip From Other Parents
- Go to the restroom before going. You’re not near much of anything at Porter Park and there are no restrooms here.
- There are a number of places to sit down while watching your kids play but not so many picnic tables right by the playground. If you plan to picnic, you may want to bring a blanket.
- There are some sun canopies but this is a pretty sunny location – wear that sunscreen!
Is this park good for toddlers?
Absolutely. They will love the play equipment and the critters (like the pretend raccoon below) you’ll see around the park. There are some rocks and other natural climbing materials present at the park so just keep an eye on your climbers here, like any playground.
What amenities are offered?
Porter Park offers many amenities, including:
- Prairieland setting
- Fishing pond
- Grills available for use and picnic tables
- Pavilion available for rental and shelters to drop-in and enjoy
- Total walking path length of 1.71 miles
- Climbing features like rocks and a rope spider web, among other pieces inspired by natural materials versus traditional playground equipment
How are the bathrooms?
There are not restrooms at this park. We cannot yet verify if portable toilets will arrive for the warmer months but best to plan before you go and keep the length of your visit in mind as you’re playing, especially with littles.
Are there picnic tables and grills?
Yes and yes!
What is parking like?
They have a large parking lot since so many people drive to get to this park. Even when the winter lights walk was happening, we didn’t have a problem parking at Porter Park and that drew quite a few people to the park.
How do you get there?