Showing 1-24 of 63 items found in Outdoors & Play
Allerton Park & Retreat Center
Allerton Park was the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton, who donated it to the University of Illinois in 1946. It features 1,500 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures. The park is open to the public for hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing and leisurely garden strolls.
This zoo overlooking Lake Decatur is home to animals from around the world, the Z.O.&O. Express train, the Endangered Species Carousel and the Zootique Gift Shop. Family events and activities are offered regularly.
Discover cute boutiques housed in historic storefronts in downtown Champaign, including antique and consignment shops. Be sure to stop at PACA’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse, where you’ll find everything from vintage stained glass to ceramic tiles.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
Curtis Orchard is an 80-acre apple orchard, pumpkin patch and entertainment farm offers activities for the whole family. Open July 20–December 20, the orchard country store and bakery offer a wide variety of gift and food items, including pies, fritters, apple crisp donuts and award-winning cider. Outdoor activities include seasonal apple and pumpkin picking, kids play structures, a giant slide, several mazes including the corn maze, petting zoo, toddler area, birthday parties and corporate picnics. Weekend activities include outdoor meals, live entertainment, seasonal pony rides, and an orchard wagon.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Illinois’ first farmstead cheese making facility, founded in 2004. Visit this off the beaten path farm and learn about their cheese-making process and their “Animal Welfare Approved” Goat Dairy. Taste their delicious, award winning varieties of goat cheese and sample their amazing goat milk gelato and organic fruits. The farm is open weekdays for drop-in visitors to see the goats, walk the grounds and purchase farm products. During the summer, you can also visit the farm during Wednesday afternoon open houses. In addition to self-guided tours of the farm, you can get gelato by the scoop and purchase products from their farm as well as those from other farms and food artisans. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery also offers additional food events in the summer with Dinners on the Farm, Third Friday Pop-Ups, and tasting trail events. This is a working farm, so check their website for hours and activities before venturing out to the farm.
The state's largest artificial body of water, Lake Decatur spans 2,800 acres, with 30 miles of shoreline offering recreational opportunities and wildlife vistas at lakeside parks and the city marina. Water sports include boating, fishing, sailing and jet skiing. While shoreline locations surrounding Nelson Park Marina offer miniature golf, dining, public gardens and picnic facilities.
Prairie Farm features traditional farm animals such as sheep, pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks and geese. Visitors are welcome to pet the farm’s animals in the petting area. Kids both young and old will enjoy crossing the footbridge that spans the farm’s miniature duck pond. Prairie Farm also offers educational programs and private party services. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; Hours: Daily 1:00–7:00 p.m.; Free! (fee for trolley ride and some programs)
An eclectic district filled with dining and multi-cultural attractions, Midtown Champaign, with the beautiful Boneyard Creek flowing, connects Downtown and Campustown Champaign.
Ultimate Play Space - Spray & Play Park
This 13-acre park allows kids to exercise their mind and body! Water park runs Memorial Day to Labor Day, weather permitting.
The University of Illinois Pollinitarium is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators. Its location in the midst of the Arboretum brings together flowers and pollinators physically and conceptually. Changing exhibits relate to world events and ongoing research on pollinators. Guests can explore beekeeping equipment, see live demonstrations and play interactive games. Because so much depends on pollination, the UI Pollinatarium is dedicated to increasing awareness and appreciation of pollination as a remarkable ecological partnership and an essential ecosystem service.
Scovill House & Oriental Gardens
Serenity envelopes this intimate area, where visitors are welcomed by a Chinese Fu dog and flowering dogwoods, star magnolia, Japanese lilac, and rhododendron -- foliage native to the Orient. Originally commissioned by Guy and Rose Scovill in the 1920's and reconstructed in the 1980's, the gardens' soothing nature encompasses a small reflective point, sod bridge, and oriental sculptures, and surrounds a small cottage, which is available for gatherings and retreats.
Ferrel Clydesdale Farms
In operation since 1850, the farm features a blacksmith shop and Clydesdale horses. Chuck wagon cookouts are available.
Wandell Sculpture Garden
The Wandell Sculpture Garden was established in honor of Willett and Celia Wandell in 1998. This unique, free outdoor sculpture garden sits among 22 acres of recreated Illinois tallgrass prairie in 130-acre Meadowbrook Park. While walking the looped paths, one can encounter bikers, joggers and other sculpture lovers as the park serves both recreational and educational purposes. Works from local artists with ties to the University of Illinois grace the garden, as well as pieces from artists who reside in New York, California and New Mexico. The garden has both permanent sculptures and some that are rotated every second or third year, keeping it fresh for visitors. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve
Lake of the Woods County Park is a 900-acre preserve that features an 18-hole regulation golf course, a 9-hole par 3 course and practice range, fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, sledding the Hi-Tower bell carillon and observation area, a 3.3 mile bicycle/pedestrian path, the Museum of the Grand Prairie, Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens, building rentals and various programs.
Shady Crest Farm Market
Come visit this working Amish farm and apple orchard. They have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for sale, plus fresh honey, apple butter and maple syrup. A Deli filled with 15 different Country-Cured Meats & 24 different Cheeses is also available Monday - Saturday. While you're there, enjoy a hand-dipped ice cream cone. You can also find Fresh Baked Goods every Thursday - Saturday. Open year round.
Weldon Springs State Park
Weldon Springs State Recreation Area is a 550-acre state park located near Clinton, Illinois. It centers on Salt Creek and the impoundment of a tributary, Weldon Springs, to form Weldon Spring Lake, a reservoir.
River Bend Forest Preserve
The 275-acre River Bend Forest Preserve south of Mahomet contains approximately 130 acres of clear water in two lakes, one of which is the largest public lake in Champaign County, and includes 2.5 miles of forest along the Sangamon River.
Sangamon River Forest Preserve
Sangamon River Forest Preserve, a 160-acre gem, offers a variety of natural features and is ideal for low-impact activities such as picnicking, bird-watching, hiking and river fishing. The preserve hosts the Lincoln Ash Tree, one of the largest ash trees in the state.
Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center
The Indoor Aquatic Center has a recreational and competition pool, a beach-like entry and a water playground.
Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden
Created in 1927 from an old sand pit across the road from Lake Decatur, the city's oldest garden was extensively renovated in 1992. Its resurrected look features secluded paths leading through rocky terraces planted with unusual trees, and landscapes brimming with colorful perennials. Towering bald Cypress trees, planted in the 1920s, still reign over these delightful grounds.
Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden
The gardens boast some of the most beautiful and diverse flora in east-central IL. It also features the award-winning Miriam Davies Memorial Enabling Garden.
Mari-Mann Herb Farm
Spanning six rolling acres on bluffs overlooking the Sangamon River Walk, Mari-Mann Herb Farm is a potpourri of herb beds, wildflower fields and formal gardens.
Schaub Floral Display Center
Bursting with seasonal exhibits, our brightest newcomer nurtures flowering trees and scrubs such as weeping Japanese cherry, mock orange, forsythia, fragrant bulbs, and delightfully colored pansies. A perennial garden joins the array this summer, and the spring exhibit opens mid-March.