*We were recently hosted by the Rockford CVB and this is a post regarding our visit. Below is just a brief description of our visit. I will be doing a complete review of each place we visited including several pictures of our visit! *
We always tell our and family that one of the most important steps in your trip planning process is to contact the CVB where you will be visiting!
The staff at the CVBs are local residents who know the best non-chain places to eat, where to stay and must see stops. They are a vast source of information and so essential to planning the perfect vacation!
When my family and I decided to discover Illinois during our Spring Break vacation this year, we looked at the map, plotted a course and requested an Illinois Travel Guide.
Our journey was going to take us through Northern Illinois so I contacted the Rockford CVB to see if they could give us some suggestions on where to stay, where to visit and eat.I was contacted by Andrea at the CVB and told her how long we would be there and the ages of our children. She sent us over a brief itinerary of what the CVB would suggest for our family during our 3 day/2 night stay.
We thought everything looked great! That was when we realized the city of Rockford was hosting us during our stay!
Many of the businesses we were planning on visiting provided us with complimentary admission and meals! We were shocked at the generosity of the businesses in Rockford!
Upon our arrival at our hotel, The Courtyard Marriott, we were greeted promptly by the front desk. She described in detail the amenities at the hotel, gave us our room keep and told us where we could park so we could be close to the entry door closest to our room.
As we walked into our room, we were greeted with this AMAZING gift basket courtesy of the Rockford CVB!
Our gift basket was over flowing with goodies from the Rockford CVB! Including Totally RAD shirts, Sock Monkeys and goodies, Rockford post cards, Rockford goodies, Mrs. Fishers potato chips, goodies for our daughters!
Here is a picture of our shirts!
After we got settled in our room, we checked out our itinerary that was left for us at the hotel and went on our first Rockford tour.
Our first stop on Monday was the Discovery Center Museum.
The Discovery Center Museum has more than 250 hands-on art and science exhibits, planetarium, TV studio, special events, traveling exhibits and entertaining classes for children and families, a Tot Spot for toddlers, PLUS they have the nation’s first community-built outdoor science park featuring 8,000 sq ft of wooden fun!
Then right next door was the Burpee Museum of Natural History and that was next on our list. If you enjoy learning about dinosaurs, then this is a museum for you! Inside Burpee is “Jane” the dinosaur and you will get to learn about the history of the young T.Rex skeleton found by Burpee Museum researchers in the badlands of Montana, which is called one of the ten most important dinosaur discoveries in the past 100 years!!, and you get to see Homer which is a sub-adult Triceratops!
Our next adventure awaited us at Lino’s, which is where we had dinner! We had the Special Salad and one of their famous pizzas!! It was delicious and simply the best pizza we have ever had! Lino’s has been in business in Rockford for over 40 years! The atmosphere and the food at Lino’s makes it a must stop at eatery in Rockford! That is another reason, you always need to eat like a local! Avoid the chains when you are on vacation!
After dinner, we were all worn out and decided to head back to the hotel. My youngest and I stayed in our room while my husband and our oldest went to the indoor pool at the Courtyard Marriott.
On Tuesday, the Rockford CVB, had another terrific day planned for us!
First we had breakfast at the Stockholm Inn. Swedish Pancakes anyone!?! We have never had Lingonberries or Swedish pancakes before so this was a treat! Breakfast was comfort food at it’s best! The Stockholm Inn has been a staple in Rockford since 1968!
After getting our tummies full, we were still a little early for our next appointment, so we went downtown to the Rockford Roasting Company! The Rockford Roasting Company is a newer business in Rockford. If you are looking for a serious cup of joe, then you must check them out! You can read about their process here.
While driving around downtown, we were really taken back about how clean the downtown area is. Granted there are problems in every town and city but we didn’t see any graffiti or trash laying around. Something else that we noticed while driving around is how many people ride their bicycles around Rockford. The city has plenty of bike paths for their residents.
Once we were done exploring downtown, we were off to our next adventure at Rockford Park District’s Carlson Ice Area Public Skate! The Ice Area also is home to Sapora’s Playworld, which is a great indoor activity center for children 12 and under. My husband and our oldest went Ice Skating while my youngest and I went to Sapora’s Playworld. J had a blast! It is a terrific way to burn off a lot of energy! The Ice Area features a 185 ft by 80 ft ice rink with seating for 600 spectators!
Our next adventure awaited us at the Midway Village Museum! The Village depicts a typical rural town in Northern Illinois at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. There are 26 historical structures at the village. Inside the museum there are a lot of state of the art exhibits regarding the history of Rockford. Remember the Rockford Peaches from the tv movie “League of their Own”? There is an exhibit inside the museum regarding those ladies. And there is a really cool exhibit about the Sock Monkey!!
When we were all down with those two attractions, it was time for us to head back downtown for lunch at Vintage @ 501. If you are looking for a vintage themed restaurant that also has a modern touch, then you must make your way to Vintage! For our appetizer we had the Million Dollar Bacon and we each had a pretty amazing meal!
After lunch, we headed to the Nicolas Conservatory & Gardens/Sinnissippi Bike Path. The Conservatory is situated along the banks of the Rock River. The facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois, offers an 11,000 square foot plant exhibition AND right now they are having their annual Butterfly exhibit. After we were done inside, we walked a bit outside along the bike path. Rockford has definitely taken a lot of pride in their bike paths and their riverfront.
At the end of our tour, we decided to head back to the hotel for awhile so the kids could rest and we could freshen up for dinner.
For our last night in Rockford, the suggestion for our dinner, was at Alchemy. Alchemy is honestly the coolest restaurant we have been too! It is Rockford’s first convertible restaurant!!! So when it is warm outside, they have unique exterior walls that roll up overhead! That way you have an open air patio feel!
We were able then to meet up with Andrea Mandala of the Rockford CVB at dinner. We thanked her for all of her work on the itinerary for our family! We had a totally awesome experience during our visit and plan to come back when it is warmer to see more of what Rockford offers.
The above is just a brief description of our visit. I will be doing a complete review of each place we visited including several pictures of our visit!
We can not thank the Rockford CVB enough! The residents of Rockford truly showed us what “Midwest Hospitality” is! Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful! The citizens of Rockford should be very proud of their community!
To quote my oldest, who by the way will be doing her own reviews about our trip, “ROCKFORD ROCKS”. She said visiting Rockford was an educational field trip that she will never forget and that spending time with her family while discovering new places is “COOL”.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”