As you know, we are always on the lookout for fun things to do outdoors. Even better if it’s free and we are able to stay safe and socially distance from others. When I heard about Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park I knew a visit was in order. Not only could we “hunt” for sculptures, but it was free and we basically had the whole park to ourselves. We all had a fantastic time and I highly recommend a visit if you love art and nature. If you do go ahead and visit, make sure to read these tips before you go.
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Read more: Take this self-guided walk through Downtown Elgin with the family.
Getting started at Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
Start by parking at Lot East 3. You can’t miss it – there’s a white sculpture here. This was the best place to start our sculpture adventure.
Download the app
I didn’t really find any maps but I heard if you download the Otocast app you can find all 30 sculptures along with a description of each one. I had problems downloading the app though so we just winged it. Worked out fine for us since the kids wanted to go on a sculpture “hunt.”
Get ready for a hike
The sculptures are located on a sprawling 100 acres so there will be a lot of walking. We brought comfortable shoes, snacks, and water.
Follow the paved path
Across the street from the parking lot, you’ll find a huge yellow sculpture and a paved path. Follow that path to find more sculptures by the buildings on campus.
Keep going past the buildings on the paved path to find more sculptures.
When you’re here, you must pay a visit to see “Paul.” He’s definitely larger than life!
Social distancing is easy
Situated on 100 acres on the prairie, we found that social distancing was super easy. We visited on a weekend and basically felt like we had the entire sculpture park to ourselves.
Follow the mowed grass
Many of the sculptures can be found off the paved path. Luckily for us, they had mowed the grass so the path was easy to follow.
Take a break
They have benches located by a few of the sculptures. I noticed these were placed perfectly to sit back and take in the views of the sculptures. You can also bring a blanket and just plop down wherever you please. Just note that we didn’t find many places for shade.
Let the kids be kids
We let the kids guide us to the sculptures. They loved taking pics with them, and I have to admit they were naturals to say the least!
Although we didn’t need to use it, theNate has access to bathrooms by the “A North” entrance. It is open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Bring your furry friend
Dogs are allowed! Just make sure to keep them on a leash and of course pick up after them. They’ll love the exercise!
Final thoughts about Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
What a gem! I’ve lived in the south suburbs and never even knew about this. This is the perfect place to explore art with the family!
Address: Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park, IL 60484-0975
Admission: Parking and entrance is completely free!