Kids’ Stuff

Champaign Park District

Pick up a programs booklet or go online at their website. For classes, click on current events then on “Funformation Guide” or the seasonal brochure listings.

  • Check listings for art, music and sports classes, camps and clubs – so much to offer!
  • Hessel Park – summer time water sprinklers & big & little tykes playground (across the street is Bagelmans for a sandwich or Jarlings custard cup for a cool treat). Free Sunday early evening concerts in the park.
  • “Symphony at Sunset” usually Labor Day weekend at Dodds park @ Parkland College – bring lawn chairs/blanket/strollers and a picnic and listen to the symphony – food vendors & wine tasting, kids playing on soccer fields, instrument petting zoo early in evening. Previous years there were hot air balloons to watch prior to sunset.
  • Prairie Farms – kids petting zoo with farm animals, horse wagon rides. (can walk to playground – this one is somewhat handicap accessible with ramps and picnic tables) Kids love to sled and run/roll/climb Centennial Hill nearby (only one side).
  • Sholem Pool has waterslides for big kids & adults
  • For adults there is a “outdoor adventures” program – joint effort through U of I includes cool clinics & trips for all different interests – kayak, hiking, skiing, scuba.
  • Indoor Tennis Center
  • “Taste of Champaign” in West Side Park, usually in June, buy tickets at the event to sample food from local food vendors and restaurants. Some arts/crafts for sale.

Curtis Orchard

Pumpkin patch & apple picking in the fall. Awesome homemade cider slush & cider doughnuts, country store, playground, maze, farm petting zoo, pony & hay rides on weekends.

Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch

Pick your own evergreen Christmas tree & see the real reindeers. 893-3407

Illini Ice Arena

406 E Armory – has public use hours contact 333-2081

Illini Union

On U of I campus. Bowling, billiards, pinball, arcade games, foosball, and cool architecture.

Krannert Performing Arts Center

The Krannert Performing Arts Center ropes in talent from all over the globe in every imaginable genre, while also being the working laboratory for the University of Illinois theatre, opera, dance, and music departments.  Ravi Shankar, Emmy Lou Harris, Herbie Hancock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Sufjan Stevens, and Yo Yo Ma have all been in the Krannert line-up. With four main theaters and over 300 performances a year, there is always something amazing to see, whether you want family-friendly entertainment or inspiration for your next game design. But the Center is more than an exceptional performance venue-you often get the chance to chat with performers, talk back after shows, dance it up with the “afterglow” crowd, and even taste fine wines on “Krannert Uncorked” nights while listening to live music and finding out about upcoming events.  As they say at the Center, “Come as you are.  Leave different.”

Marketplace Mall

Soft playground area, coin rides & Carousel. Two nice family restrooms complete with nursing rooms and changing stations in food court and by mall entrance to playground. Good place to walk with stroller on rainy/cold days before stores are open. Never busy through the week unless it’s a school holiday.

Miniature Golf

  • Field of Greens – during cold weather there is indoor miniature golf at Lincoln
  • Old Orchard Links – Newer miniature course in Savoy by bowling alley 378-4653.
  • Putt-Putt is behind KFC on north Prospect, Also has batting cages. – 356-6121.

Music and Dance

  • Conservatory of Central IL –  Offers music programs
  • Champaign Ballet Academy – creative music & dance classes for toddlers and ballet – Urbana 344-1366

Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum

1011 Pacesetter Drive, Rantoul – A museum on the old air force base.

Orpheum Children’s Museum

Downtown Champaign, near One Main. Don’t miss their annual “hands on day” in May in the city lot in front of their building. Local contractors, electricians, gardeners.bring materials and let kids do their own projects.


It’s Skateland!

Spurlock Museum of World History

The Museum’s permanent galleries, highlighting the Ancient Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas, celebrate the diversity of cultures through time and across the globe.

Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College

Kids shows, music and light shows for adults on Fri/Sat nights. Check listings by calling showline at 351-2446


  • Rantoul Pool – new beautiful outdoor facility. Zero depth beach entry with kiddy sprinklers, slides and waterslides for older kids.
  • Illini Aquatech (formerly MacTay). Offers year-round indoor swim lessons from birth to adults. Classes offered by the month. Currently held at Premiere Inn Pool. Not the greatest building, but the pool is safe and has experienced instructors with unusually small class sizes. Recommend fall and spring classes since the facility air is chilly in the winter. (Karen Kulas, Robin Pletcher & Missy Marquart have all used them)
  • Indian Acres Swim club. Offers summer daycamps for kids as well as open swimming, lessons, etc.
  • Windsor Swim club
  • Also see the Champaign & Urbana park sites above.

Tuscola Outlet Mall

Just off I-57, about 25 minutes south of Champaign. Coach, OshKosh, Gap, Carters, Harry & David, Polo.Pick up some Amish cheese or apple butter or noodles/dumplings while in the area.

Urbana Park District

Pick up a programs booklet or go online at Check listings for various art, music and exercise/sports classes and events.

  • Anita Purves Nature Center – get a list of preschool ages and
  • up classes offered. Summer educational nature day camps available during the summer. Hike platform path through Busey Woods, or just visit center’s hands on room for kids with a few live owls, snakes, turtles.
  • Crystal Lake Park – nice paved trails for stroller walk between Lake House and new playground- past old playground and on up to Crystal Lake Pool or Anita Purves Nature Center & Busey Woods. Cannonball Hill for sledding/rolling down.
  • Crystal Lake Boat House – canoes and pedal boats for rent, free DNR fishing clinics and equipment available by appt. and boxed lunches and picnic tables on the lake. Friday lunch hour concerts/acoustic sets with box lunches available through the summer.
  • Meadowbrook Park – huge Prairie Play wooden structure with little tykes area
  • Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center – new, beautiful facility. Zero depth beach entry with kiddy sprinklers, slide and big tube slides for older ones too. Lap lanes. Restricted hours due to shared time with middle and high school activities best to call for hours 384-7665 or pickup schedule.
  • “Urbana Sweet Corn Festival” – usually in August, downtown Urbana, several stages for live music, Art/craft fair, rides, food vendors and fresh roasted sweet corn.

YMCA Champaign

Pick up a seasonal guide or check listings for classes. Online at
There are currently two separate facilities.