By Kelly Youngblood
Did you know there are 11 family-friendly museums in Champaign County, most of which are free?
You’ve probably been to a few, but you may have never even heard of some of these hidden gems.
Museum officials are hoping a fun, summer program will encourage families to get out and see what they’ve been missing.
Through Labor Day, the Museums at the Crossroads Consortium, which is comprised of 11 diverse Champaign County museums, will offer a Summer Passport Program.
Here’s how it works. Pick up a passport at one of the 11 participating museums. Each time you visit a different museum (for a minimum of 10 minutes), get your passport stamped. Multiple stamps will earn you prizes.
Participating Champaign County Museums
Anita Purves Nature Center- 1505 N. Broadway Avenue, Urbana
Champaign County Historical Museum- 102 E. University Avenue, Champaign
Chanute Air Museum- 1011 Pacesetter Drive, Rantoul
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion– 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign
Museum of the Grand Prairie– Illinois Route 47, Mahomet
Orpheum Children’s Science Museum– 346 N. Neil Street, Champaign
Parkland Art Gallery- 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign
Pollinatarium– 606 West Windsor Road, Urbana
Sousa Archives & Center for American Music- 236 Harding Band Building, 1103 S. Sixth Street, Champaign
Spurlock Museum- 600 S. Gregory, Urbana
Staerkel Planetarium– 2400 W. Bradley Ave, Champaign
Passports include each museum’s hours and contact information.
Special Museum Programs
The Sumer Passport Program is in collaboration with the “Paws to Read” Summer Reading Program. Kim Sheahan, Assistant Director of Education at Spurlock Museum, will hold special storytelling programs at several local libraries including the Champaign Public Library, Douglas Branch Library, Mahomet Public Library, Rantoul Public Library, and Urbana Free Library. Passports are available at all of these library locations.
June 12 at Mahomet Public Library: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/paws-to-read-lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my-at-mahomet-public-library/
June 26 at Rantoul Public Library: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/paws-to-read-lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my/
July 5 at Champaign Public Library: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/animals-and-artifacts-and-people-oh-my/
July 19 at Urbana Free Library: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/storyteller-kim-sheahan/
July 21 at Douglas Branch Library: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/all-ears-animal-stories/
Some member museums will also hold their own special events tied to the Paws to Reading program this summer.
June 14 at Staerkel Planetarium: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/animals-in-space-real-and-imaginary/
June 14 at Museum of the Grand Prairie: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/dog-days-of-summer/
July 13 at Museum of the Grand Prairie: https://www.chambanamoms.com/events/summer-garden-concert-series-two-boys-goin-nowhere/
All summer during museum hours, visit the Krannert Art Museum, grab an Animal Adventure Guide at the information desk and search for elephants, beetles, and even dragons while checking out art across time and place.
Passports can also be downloaded by going to http://www.m-crossroads.org/pages/documents/2014Passport.pdf.
Kelly is a freelance writer and a mom to three wild and wonderful children. She has lived in the C-U area for most of her life but is still finding new and interesting things to do in the area.