Putt, splash and cruise along the Fox River

May is the time to take a break and have some fun at Pottawatomie Park in downtown St. Charles, shares this column from the St. Charles Park District.

Show off your short game skills with a round of mini-golf, pedal up and around the Fox River in a rented boat, or sit back, relax and enjoy a paddlewheel riverboat cruise down the Fox.

Nestled along the Fox River, Pottawatomie Park offers plenty of activities.

River View Miniature Golf Course is open and ready for all ages to play 18 holes of putt-putt.

Last year, the course celebrated its 50th anniversary and again proved to be one of the most popular attractions in the park, said Sabrina Hunley, recreation supervisor for the St. Charles Park District.

“The last two years have been the busiest,” Hunley said.

Located near the miniature golf course are the park district’s pedal boats, available for one-hour rentals and seating up to four people. Put those leg muscles to work as you pedal up, down and around the Fox River, taking in the views of the shoreline and trying to work in tandem with friends and family to steer the craft.

The park district also has several single-person kayaks available for hourly rentals. Hunley said these kayaks, which have a wider base, are great for beginners. The kayaks are steadier and less likely to tip over. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of the water and a great workout, too.

“We love being able to help people get out of their traditional sports routine and spark interest in something new,” Hunley said.

For a more relaxing time on the water, book tickets for the paddlewheel riverboats departing from Pottawatomie Park. The cruises offer a smooth ride along the Fox River, a tranquil view of the shores and a chance to take in nature – from birds in flight to small mammals along the shore.

Cruises are available weekends from May through October. From June to August, there is an additional weekday cruise in the afternoons. Tickets can be booked online in advance or inside the Pottawatomie Community Center. The boats will begin cruising Saturday, May 14.

The park district hosts popular theme cruises aboard the riverboats. Sign up now for a family favorite – the Pirates and Princess Adventure Cruise at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 18 – because tickets are limited. This magical cruise is perfect for parents and their favorite young pirates and princesses. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be trinket treasures for each passenger and a treasure map for a post-cruise treasure hunt in Pottawatomie Park. After finding the treasure, enjoy a small popcorn, drink and a complimentary 18-hole round of mini-golf.

Cruises can be a great impromptu event, or take your next party to a new level and book a private charter aboard the Paddlewheel Riverboats. The riverboats can comfortably seat about 60 for a casual event and 40 for a plated, sit-down meal, said Tera Harvey, manager of cruise operations for the St. Charles Park District.

Through the years, people have opted for private charters to host bridal and baby showers, family reunions, birthday parties and work outings. Private charters are available from one to three hours, Harvey said.

Last year, the park district offered discounted rates for private group charters for its one-hour sightseeing cruises at noon or 3 p.m. available Tuesdays through Fridays from June to August.

“This is a great fit for seniors to Scout groups,” Harvey said, adding with youth groups there’s optional add-ins such as a sailor hat-making craft or including a round of mini-golf after the cruise.

Nothing beats the magic of a summer evening and the park district’s sunset cruises, which are available select evenings from June through October. The park district hosts sunset cruises for families, as well as cruises for the 21 and older crowd that include a BYOB option. On select Fridays, there is a Happy Hour Cruise offering group discounts for parties of 10 to 20 people.

“This is a great option for those who have a group of friends, coworkers, but not enough for a private charter,” Harvey said.

For those who prefer fun on land, the mini-golf course can accommodate celebrations, as well, with a round of mini-golf for guests followed by cake and snacks in the covered concession area.

To learn more about booking parties and private charters, visit riverviewminigolf.org or stcriverboats.com or call 630-584-2334 to speak with a staff member.