From the Editors
If you’re looking for places to fight the wintertime blahs, spring rain, or wilting summer humidity (namely, ANYWHERE that encourages your kids to get the wiggles out), we’ve got a sanity saving list designed just for you.
These local venues do charge a fee, but if you’re looking for free things to do, check out our free indoor play area guide.
Stephens Family YMCA – Even if you’re not a member, you can purchase a pass and spend the day swimming, rock-climbing, or work out while your kids enjoy an awesome supervised indoor play area. The cost is $15 per adult and $10 per child. If you go with a member, it’s cheaper. (It’s $8 extra per person to do the rock-climbing wall.)
University of Illinois Ice Arena – If you’d rather glide over the ice, you might want to check out the UI Ice Arena. The facility offers public skates during the afternoon and evenings. Check the online calendar for dates and times.
Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center – Swim all year round at the UIAC. Open swim during the winter is Monday-Friday from 6-9 p.m., Saturday from noon-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-7 p.m. Admission is $6 per person; under 4 is free. We have a review of this venue too!
Jupiter’s at the Crossing – A fancier version of Chuck E. Cheese’s, this pizza restaurant might be one of the pricier options but it’s a good one, especially if you have older kids who like games. It has pool tables and a few games on the main floor but the lower level is what really dazzles kids. Tons of games (that require tokens) as well as a miniature bowling alley will make them hoop and holler. Plus, the pizza is pretty tasty.
Skateland in Savoy – Lace up those roller skates and enjoy a day at the skating rink. This long-time Champaign tradition offers various weekly specials, including a Family Night on Wednesdays. You can also eat pizza and play Laser Tag for an additional cost. Learn more about the Kids Skate Free program and sign up here.
Elevate Trampoline Park in Champaign– It will be hard NOT to join your kiddos while they are jumping up at storm at this indoor trampoline park in Champaign. With Toddler times, Family Jump Night, and Black-Out Teen Night, everyone can get in on the bouncy fun. See our Mom Review of Elevate here.
There are several bowling alleys in the Champaign-Urbana area that offer fun for kids and adults including the Illini Union Rec Room, located in the lower level of the Illini Union. It also includes billiards tables and arcade games. Other bowling venues: Arrowhead Lanes (which also boasts a black-light miniature golf course), Western Bowl, and Old Orchard Lanes. Learn more about Kids Bowl Free program and sign up here.
The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum is a favorite among locals. With its interactive exhibits and resident wildlife, kids can while away the hours on a winter afternoon. Admission is $5 a person. Check out our review of the Orpheum. The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum closed in 2020.
The Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois is home to about 45,000 artifacts — that’s definitely enough objects to keep a kid busy for a day. The Spurlock Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday and suggests a $3 donation.
What’s the best remedy for a kid with cabin fever? How about trampolines, foam pits, balance beams, and swinging ropes? Several gymnastics facilities in the area offer an open gym for a fee, but it’s well worth the cost when you consider what you’re getting in return: a happy, tired toddler who is ready for a nap by the time you leave!
I-Power, Champaign Gymnastics Academy and the YMCA all offer fun open gym opportunities for little gymnasts.