By Amy L. Hatch
You know that thing where you have two kids in two different schools all the way across town from each other, and three days a week you need to burn 25 minutes of daylight in between pick-up times?
Yeah. That’s happening.
I’ve become very well-versed in all the fun things you can do in 25 minutes here in Champaign-Urbana, and even if you have more time than that to spend, I think you might enjoy the fruits of my labor. And so, here are my Top Five picks for an after-school treat (and no, that doesn’t always mean food!)
1. The libraries. The Champaign Public Library and the Urbana Free Library are two great places to go after school. Both have great rooms for kids and both have Latte Da locations, so you can grab some caffeine and your kids can get a snack, if that’s in the plans. But remember: The Urbana Free Library does not have free parking. All you need is a quarter, though, because 25 cents will buy you 60 minutes at the meter.
2. Curtis Orchard. So much to see here, whether you have 15 or 50 minutes your wee ones will be entertained. If it’s nice out let them wander the orchard or run around the playground. You may see a goat or two, definitely a few cats and maybe even some apple donuts (shhhhh…don’t tell the kids!).
3. Any park, pick a park. Champaign and Urbana both boast awesome park systems with plenty of places to choose from based on your location and/or the age of your kids. Weather permitting, hit up any of the great spots to burn off some after-school energy. My faves are Meadowbrook and Victory parks in Urbana, and, of course, Hessel in Champaign.
4. Grab some sweets. If you are in the mood for some snacks, stop in to Sweet Indulgence on Windsor Road in Champaign. The cupcakes are delicious, and so are the cookies, the pasteries, the cakes … you get the idea. You won’t be sorry. And, Sun Singer Wines & Spirits is right next door if you’re looking to pick something up for an evening cocktail!
5. Krannert Art Museum. This free museum on the campus of the University of Illinois is a fun place to stop into after school. It’s not a huge space, so you can see plenty of art in a short amount of time, and the works you’ll see there range from modern to classical. You’ll have a lot of interesting conversations—and maybe even a sneaky teachable moment.
What do you do with your kids after school?