Spring Break in Champaign-Urbana is right around corner and you’re already thinking: how are we going to survive with everyone intact? Well, we have some tips as how to achieve that goal. We’ve put together 50+ ideas for things to do over Spring Break in Champaign-Urbana for you and your family. Of course, always check our events calendar to see what’s happening as well, it gets updated daily.
Here are our ideas to help you survive Spring Break!
Take them out to the ballgame: Not every University of Illinois sports team is out of town for Spring Break. Illini softball is scheduled to play at home March 19 at 5 pm and a doubleheader March 20 at 4 and 6 pm, and again over the weekend (March 22 at 5 pm, March 23 at 1 pm, March 24 at noon); baseball is scheduled to play at home on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17, at 1 pm; Friday, March 22 at 4 pm; Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, both at 1 pm. All of those events are FREE. These times were accurate as of this posting, but spring weather can be tricky; when in doubt, check the Illini website for updates.
Visit a local museum and escape: Check out the kids play area at the Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet, which recently re-opened for the season. Not only that, they are also have special drop-in activities every day from 2 to 4 p.m.: Monday: Spinning & Weaving • Tuesday: Quill Writing • Wednesday: Butter Churning • Thursday: Civil War Craft and Activity Day • Friday: Candle Dipping. Admission and activities are FREE, no registration is required.
The Homer Lake Forest Preserve Interpretative Center also has events over break, however they require registration by the day before; all but one day is free. One to highlight: there are two sessions where your family can get up close with the reptiles, on Wednesday, March 20. Space is limited.
In Urbana, the Spurlock Museum takes you around the world with artifacts from every corner of the globe (closed Monday all day and Tuesday morning, but otherwise open). Or head to Krannert Art Museum for everything from masters to modern. Both are FREE.
If you haven’t been to the Champaign County History Museum, this is a great outing especially for older children who are interested in the world around them. Open Wednesday-Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. FREE.
If you haven’t been to the Leonhard Recreation Center indoor playground or track, spring break is a great opportunity.
Go swimming at the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center, which has special spring break hours.
The University of Illinois Ice Arena (our review complete with tips) will be open daily (March 18-22) for lunchtime skates, which are 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Skateland will also have special Spring Break weekday afternoon hours, starting March 19. (Sign up at Kids Skate Free to get free admission to some nighttime sessions; Tuesday, March 19 looks to have some good deals with $2.50 specials on skate rental, food, more).
There’s a free open play day at Monticello Gymnastics Academy on Wednesday, March 20; make a day of it in Monticello, head out to Allerton Park and check out Nick’s Park playground too.
Head over to see our friends at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, where kids can pretend they are playing in sand at the beach – right here in Champaign. Remember, closed Monday.
Visit our Trails: If you’ve noticed, we’ve put together multiple “trails” lately, some food-related, and some related to activities. If you kids love space, check out some of the unique space activities we have in Central Illinois. Or if your family loves pizza, try a few new spots and see what you like. Barbeque your jam? Take some time to hit up some of our favorite BBQ on the barbecue trail. Last but not least, we believe ice cream is an all-seasons food.
Get crafty: Go to the I.D.E.A. Store and find some unique crafting supplies and ideas for an eco-friendly craft – on the cheap! Or head over to the Spring Make events at Michaels crafts all week long, see our calendar (registration may be required, and there’s a small fee.)
Drop in to the Urbana Free Library for its FREE Spring Break Make and Take “drop-in craft extravaganza,” which is happening all day (during typical library open hours) during Spring Break, Monday through Friday.
Get outside and explore a new park: If the weather cooperates, break out of your outside routine. Go out to a new park or a park you haven’t been to lately (need a few ideas? Check out our Parks to Know series). The Hessel Park playground is always a great place to start! You could also try out the new West Side Park playground, which opened over the winter (our review: coming soon).
It’s always a good time to go to Meadowbrook Park or Busey Woods, both in Urbana; Meadowbrook’s trails are paved, and Busey Woods has the platform, making it easy to walk through (or ride if the case may be).
If nature is your jam, don’t forget to take a visit to the FREE Anita Purves Nature Center, celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Seeing the owls is always a HOOT. And make time for Friendship Grove nature playscape, if the weather cooperates.
Go to the Library: So kids might want to take a break from learning, but libraries make learning FUN. Plan ahead and register for a special event like Beach Blanket Bingo at the Mahomet Public Library. The Champaign Public Library Douglass Branch has a series of events at 2 p.m. March 18-21, for school-age kids where kids can make things DIY style.
Or check out a new-to-you library and hang out regardless of whether there’s an event. The updated play area at the main Champaign Public Library is always a big hit with our kiddos, especially the smaller ones.
Treat the kids to a movie without breaking the bank: On Saturday and Sunday, head over to Savoy 16 for the $1/free movies at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. both weekends. If you want to go to a first-run movie during the week, go on Tuesday for the cheapest prices (you might need to be a rewards member to get the best rates).
Go to campus: Spring Break is one of the best times to visit the University of Illinois core campus, whether just for a new place for a scenic walk, to shop, or to enjoy some of the unique dining opportunities.
Combine those outings with some of our favorite places on campus: the Ice Arena, Krannert Art Museum, or perhaps Spurlock; and of course, the Illini Union rec room and bowling alley.
Get ready for Easter and/or Passover: No FOOLING, these are around the corner! Passover starts the night of April 19, and Easter is April 21. Don’t let those holidays sneak up on you! Get your baskets ready and prep for those hunt, and much more. Head down to Tuscola and get treats at one of our favorite stops, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen.
Camps and fun: It’s not too late to sign up for some of the Spring Break Camps available around town (others have been full for weeks!)
Take a staycation: Get a room at a local hotel, preferably one with a pool. I bet you can get some good rates.
Go out to eat on a budget. Many restaurants in town offer specials for kids on certain nights of the week. Check out our list of places where kids eat free (or cheaply).
Take a road trip. See the big things in Casey. Visit our friends at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal. Go to Peoria and see Peoria Riverfront Museum. Make a date to head out to the museums and Lincoln sites in Springfield. Head to the children’s museum in Decatur (the zoo is closed, though). There still might be some freebies to find in Chicago. Here’s a list of some of our favorite unique day trips.
Don’t forget your sense of humor. Oh yeah, that should have been first!
Are you home for Spring Break? What are you doing with your family? We’d love to know! Tell us if we’ve missed your choices for Spring Break fun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org