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Park District Offers New and Traditional Fall Events for All Ages

The Naperville Park District offers a variety of autumn events, including favorite traditions and new programs for the community to enjoy.

The Park District’s free, outdoor movie series, A Night at the Movies finishes the season with a showing of “Mary Poppins Returns” on Friday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Frontier Sports Complex. Bring chairs or blankets and dress for the weather.

Every Thursday afternoon in September, the community is invited to visit the 95th Street Farmers Market, presented by the Naperville Park District and the Naperville Public Library. Meet local vendors and purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, organic meats, homemade breads and jams and more. Hours are 3:00-7:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the 95th Street Library located at 3015 Cedar Glade Drive. September market days will feature the best of the early fall harvest and favorite fall treats including apple cider, apple cider donuts, pies, and caramel apples. Learn more about our vendors in a series of stories posted at

The Park District offers several opportunities for parents to drop off their children at a fun activity while the parents enjoy a night out. On Friday, September 20 and Friday, October 25 Fort Hill Activity Center hosts Kids Night Out events for ages 4-12 from 6:00-9:00 p.m., with dinner, games and crafts. On Saturday, September 28, Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 19 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. the Park District’s pottery studio on the Riverwalk welcomes kids ages 7-12 to a Pottery Night Out, where they can learn basic hand-building techniques, with all materials provided. Register for any of these events at

The annual fall Family Campout at Knoch Knolls Park on September 21-22 gives families a chance to be outdoors together and make memories. On Saturday, enjoy games, a buffet-style supper, a twilight hike and S’mores around the campfire. Sunday includes a light breakfast. Register and learn more at

The weekend of October 4-6, the Naperville Park District will host Summer Place Theatre’s Ghost Stories in the Park...In the Dark at the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door or through the Naperville Park District at . Shows run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. The Riverwalk Grand Pavilion is located along the Riverwalk just west of Centennial Beach. This event is appropriate for adults and children ages 5 and up.

A new event for moms and sons, ages 3 and up, the Mother and Son Superhero Night is set for Saturday, October 5 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Ranch View School gym, located at 1651 Ranchview Drive. Similar to the Park District’s Daddy Daughter Winter Luau, the new Superhero Night will feature tasty treats, a disc jockey playing favorite dance tunes, and a commemorative photo for each family. Moms and sons are invited to dress up as superheroes to make the evening even more festive. Registration is per person and can be completed online at

Knoch Knolls Nature Center has several free events for exploring nature.  On Saturday, October 5, adults ages 18 and up are invited to an Adult Hike with a Naturalist from 9:00-10:30 a.m. to view autumn colors and wildlife.  A Family Hike with a Naturalist also will take place on Saturday, October 26, when the autumn colors will be in full display. On Sunday, November 3 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. or from 7:00-9:00 p.m. come to Knoch Knolls Nature Center for Backyard Stargazing, a new program designed to teach participants how to recognize wonders in the night sky from their back yards. Registration is required for each of these programs and can be completed online at

A fall tradition at the Park District, hayrides are offered in October at both Seager Park and Knoch Knolls Park. Gather with family and friends in the hay wagon for a ride through the woods, warm up by a campfire and enjoy hot chocolate and apple juice. Register early at as dates fill quickly.

The fifth annual Creepy Critters Day will take place at Knoch Knolls Nature Center on the Columbus Day school holiday, Monday, October 14 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. This is a free drop-in program that includes a Creepy Story Time presented by the Naperville Public Library at 10:00 and 10:45 a.m.

The Scare-illon concert, a free event scheduled from 7:00–8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, will feature both classical and popular music with spooky and atmospheric themes played by Naperville City Carillonneur Tim Sleep.   Élan Dance Company dancers will perform special Halloween-themed dances. 

The 2019 Halloween Happening presented by Woody Buick/GMC will take place at the Grand Pavilion at the Riverwalk from 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. This free event is designed for children ages 10 and under featuring Halloween-themed games and activity stations where they can collect treats and win prizes. A variety of inflatables add to the fun and a lineup of children’s entertainment is planned, including the Park District’s Élan Dance Company.  Kids are welcome to wear their favorite costumes to the event.

The Park District encourages families to save their leftover Halloween jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins for recycling at the Pumpkin Smash at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, located at 811 S. West Street, on Saturday, November 2 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Drop off your pumpkins or stay to help smash them directly into the garden soil. Now in its third year, this event successfully adds the nutrients of leftover pumpkins to the soil and keeps them out of landfills. In 2018, more than 5,000 pounds of pumpkins were composted from this event.



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Looking for an opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives while building a fun and dynamic career? Consider the Naperville Park District! It takes all kinds of skills, knowledge and talent to serve the recreation needs of the Naperville community. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, staying active, having fun and encouraging others to do the same, then check out our part-time and full-time career opportunities.


Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2020 Naperville Park District