This is the weekend that Halloween activities head into third gear, but that’s not all there is to do in Champaign-Urbana. Fun ranges from live theater, to cool science movies, to Illini sports, to live music, to outdoor options, this weekend has it all.
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 18-20; 2 p.m. Oct. 20
Where: Stratton Elementary School, 902 North Randolph Street Champaign
Appropriate For: All Ages
How Much: Tickets are $5-$6; purchased in advance at Bresnan Meeting Center or on the Virginia Theatre’s website at www.thevirginia.org; or at the door
Why You Should Go: Follow the Virginia Theatre’s resident Youth Theatre company to Stratton Elementary School for this special presentation of a beloved classic! On a perfect summer day in the park, Alice daydreams while her sister Mathilda lectures from a book and children play games nearby. A white rabbit suddenly hurries past Alice, who follows him to the edge of his hole, anxious to know where he is going. She ponders Mathilda’s advice before jumping into the dark tunnel and encountering many strange creatures on the long way down. And so the adventure begins! Performed by second-fifth graders, sponsored by the Champaign Park District.
What: The Dome Theater Experience
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Champaign Public Library
How much: Free, but tickets required
Appropriate for: 5 and up
Why you should go: Step inside the inflatable dome and be surrounded by a state-of-the-art, high-definition digital presentation, an exciting way to learn about science. (Think of it as a sort of mini-IMAX experience!) Four different shows, designed for ages 5 and up, will be presented, with a showing every 30 minutes. Check with the Library today to see what tickets are still available.
What: Mystery at the Orpheum/Pirate Ship Grand Opening
When: Saturday, October 20th, from 1-5 p.m.; costume contest at
Where: Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, 346 N. Neil Street, Champaign
How much: Admission is $6 members, $8 nonmembers, family pack 4 for $28.
Appropriate for: all ages
Why you should go: The Orpheum Theatre will be transformed into an interactive adventure where the popular lore of Halloween legends will be demystified in a spooky (but child friendly) scene. Visit the witches cottage to stir up your own brew in a cauldron, venture into a haunted cave, explore things we fear but don’t know exactly why including the number 13, black cats and bats, spiders, and why jack o’ lanterns are thought to keep evil spirits away. Stage shows, monster mash dance time, costume contests, story time, and more throughout the events. Don’t miss the grand opening of the Orpheum Pirate Ship that will sail the high seas from the Rantoul Theatre Group to the Orpheum docking permanently on the courtyard. Pirate activities and a guest appearances from the cast of Peter Pan on Saturday, October 20th, from 1-5 p.m.
What: Ghost Train
When: Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21; various times, see below
Where: Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello
Appropriate for: all ages — Sunday matinee trains recommended for young children
Why you should go: This is a special event at Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello -- all ages can enjoy the train ride through Camp Creek Hollow with a stop at Cemetery Road, but only the brave should check out the Haunted Boxcar! Trains will depart from the museum site only. The fare is $7.00 for ages 2 and up. For younger children, the matinees on Sunday, Oct. 21 and 28 (1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 p.m.) are recommended for the train ride and lights-on walk-through of the Haunted Boxcar. Ghost Train dates: October 20, 21, 26-28 (for times please visit the website).
What: UFLive! presents Costas – Music from the Coasts of Colombia and Ecuador
When: Sunday, Oct. 21, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Urbana Free Library
How much: free
Appropriate for: all ages
Why you should go: Costas plays music of the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia and Ecuador. Expect to hear a rich mix of influences — African, Indigenous and European. Costas uses traditional instruments including the marimba, Afro-Colombian drums (cununos, alegres, bombos) and a variety of indigenous flutes (gaitas). Join us to enjoy traditional cumbia, currulao, gaita, bullerengue and tambora.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s happening this weekend! As always, find more family-friendly events at our events calendar. What are your plans?