Southwind Park

S. Second St. and Southwind Rd.
Springfield, IL
(217) 544-1751 (Springfield Park District)

Springfield's newest and most inclusive attraction, opening Summer 2010, sets a new national standard not just for accessibility but also environmental excellence. Every area and feature of the 80-acre park exceeds ADA accessibility requirements, creating a uniquely welcoming park for individuals with all types of disabilities. Erin's Pavilion, which houses the Visitor Center and year-round programs, is a Platinum LEED certified building, one of only 80 worldwide. Other eco-friendly features include wetlands, pervious concrete, a wind turbine, solar panels and a geothermal system.

The site for Edwin Watts Southwind Park was donated to the Springfield Park District by a local family who wanted to preserve their farmland as green space for the enjoyment of all. Raising the funds necessary to create this fully accessible park was a true community effort, with many Springfield families and businesses donating time and money to the cause.

Southwind Park's recreational features include a stocked lake and three fishing piers; a gazebo on the lake, an 8-acre great lawn; outdoor performing arts center; sensory and butterfly gardens; boundless play areas; a 2-1/2 mile paved trail with navigation and security system, a barrier-free tree house/nature observatory; leisure sport gaming areas and picnic shelters. In the near future, the park will also be the site of KIDZEUM, Springfield's first children's museum.

Erinís Pavilion

Erinís Pavilion serves as an informational center as well as to facilitate recreational, interpretive and educational programs, services and special events. The pavilion offers over 15,000 square feet of space for private rentals and varied recreational programs, a family restroom with shower facilities, first aid/respite room, vending machines and smaller meeting and program rooms. The Pavilion overlooks the 4-acre lake with an adjoining outdoor terrace. It is open to the public free of charge approximately 360 days a year.

Fishing Piers

Three completely accessible fishing piers on the lake allow anglers to try their luck at catching bluegill, bass and catfish.


The gazebo offers a panoramic view of the lake, terrace and Erinís Pavilion, all surrounded by beautiful native landscaping. It is an area for tranquil reflection, quiet conversation and also a great venue for a wedding or small concert. Adjacent to the gazebo is a 5-acre grass hill lined with trees and a walkway.


The cityís largest playground is surrounded by grass and tree-lined berms with a view of the lake. The state-of-the-art equipment is barrier-free and includes accessible swings. There are also outdoor musical instruments. For safety and comfort, there is a pour-in play surface.

Picnic Shelters

Five picnic shelters, all equipped with ceiling fans and electric outlets, are located throughout the park. A large family picnic shelter is located near the great lawn and sports courts.

Sports Courts

Bocce ball, life size chess, horseshoe pits and shuffleboard courts offer group fun at the park. Individual and league play is available.

The Great Lawn

This 8-acre grassy area is ideal for kite flying, Frisbee and just hanging out with friends and family.

Sensory Gardens

One unique feature of Southwind Park is its five sensory gardens, a work in progress over the past two years. These gardens have been funded by a grant from the National Recreation Foundation and two private donations. The Enabling Garden has raised planters that allow gardening from a wheelchair or seat and provides visitors the opportunity to get their hands dirty planting, trimming and weeding. The Tranquility Garden, developed for persons with Alzheimer's or dementia, has five seating areas and includes a grove of white birches. The Fragrant Garden features a waterfall cascading into a reflective pool and sensory plants in easy reach atop a circular retaining wall. The Children's Garden includes a vegetable garden that kids will plant and harvest, with produce to be donated to the local food pantry. It features a mini butterfly garden, native plant area, bird attracting garden, and many different paths and whimsical items. The Butterfly Garden, designed with Illinois State Museum staff, has interpretive signage, seating areas, and a water feature. In all, these gardens are planted with over 3,000 flowers and ornamental grasses.

Urban Trail and Navigation System

Navigating the park is easy with a 2-1/2 mile concrete trail that has built-in directional guides and a color-coded wayfinding system for individuals with cognitive disabilities. Throughout the park are emergency call stations and wayfinding signage with "You are here" maps. Southwind Park also has GPS hand-held units for loan that feature an informational walking tour and fun trivia game.

Southwind Park Tram

The park's exclusively designed tram, which carries up to 8 people, provides either a complete tour of the park or a ride to a specific park location such as a picnic shelter or garden.


Southwind Park is located in southern Springfield. Take Toronto Road Exit 90 off I -55 to Second Street, then turn north and travel 1 mile to Southwind Road.