Showing 1-24 of 39 items found in Outdoors & Play
The North Pole has moved to Central Illinois. Try your luck at the 6+ acre corn maze, the Grand Prix style race track, pick a pumpkin or a Christmas tree (depending on season), stop by the fascinating gift shop and, of course, see the reindeer!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fun for the whole family! Highlights include two amazing water slides that splash down into 350,000 gallons of crystal clear water. The zero-depth entry pool also features water toys for children, lanes for swimmers, and diving boards. The 14,000 square foot facility also has a full bath house with accessible restrooms and changing rooms, along with a full-service concession stand, shaded and open lounge areas, picnic tables and much more.
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.
The Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area consists of 2,700 acres of grass, forest and cropland, and wildlife habitat. The area also includes a portion of the Middle Fork River, a State and National Scenic River, with over 1,000 feet of scenic corridor for canoeing and fishing. The area also allows for hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping.
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.
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.
The 3000 acre park includes a seven mile backpack trail among its 15 miles of trail system. Boats and canoes are available for rental in season, and seven lakes are available for fishing. Hunting of pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, dove, waterfowl, goose, mushrooms, turkey, and deer is permitted (Illinois and Vermilion County Conservation District regulations apply).
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.
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, 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.
The Indoor Aquatic Center has a recreational and competition pool, a beach-like entry and a water playground.
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.
950 foot floating boardwalk. Songbirds, season migratory birds, and waterfowl such as Canadian geese, mallards, wood ducks, kingfishers, green herons, and American egret all flock to the area. Also includes an observation tower to take in the "wide-angle" view.
Lake Vermilion County Park includes a boat ramp, dock complex, concession building, playground, and an open shelter. The park is open year round and considered 'high-use' during summer weekends with power boating (unlimited HP), jet skiing, water skiing, and fishing tournaments. Wildlife observation includes herons, river otters, and eagles. Lake Vermilion, 1,000 acres in size, is one of Illinois' most heavily stocked fishing lakes with bass, tiger muskies, catfish, crappie, and walleye being frequently fished.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
Located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park, this environmental education facility is a natural resource to individuals, families and groups interested in learning more about the outdoors. The Nature Center features four multi-purpose rooms, an exhibit field station, an Observation Room, the Audubon Nature Shop and an Educator Resource Room. The adjacent Busey Woods is perfect for hiking and bird watching.
Honoring the extraordinary achievements of Champaign County residents who have participated in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this granite platform inscribed with the names of the athletes and the Olympic symbol is surrounded by playing fields, gardens and a community college campus. Tribute to Olympic Athletes rises from an ordinary prairie landscape transformed by playing fields, gardens and a community college campus.
Middle Fork Forest Preserve, 1600 acres in northeast Champaign County, offers visitors a campground (53 of 65 campsites have electricty), brand new playground, swimming beach, fishing, hiking, boat rentals, cross-country skiing, picnicking, a Waterfowl Management Area, renovated meeting facility and programs. The campground now accepts online reservations.