Memorial Day is a very solemn holiday. Traditionally, it is a day to remember those who died in active military service — those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. While we don’t want to lose sight of the reason behind the holiday, one way to honor the memory of those who served is to strengthen the bonds of our families and communities.
While there are certainly many Memorial Day closings, there remain plenty of ways to find family fun in Champaign-Urbana on the unofficial start to summer. Here’s our list of some of the top options for fun:
–Visit an area swimming pool. IT IS OPENING WEEKEND! If your children are anything like mine, chances are they are more than ready to jump in – regardless of the temperature. DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN. From Champaign to Urbana to Monticello to Tuscola to Paxton to Rantoul, there are plenty of outdoor pools to visit.
–Renew acquaintances with the animals at Prairie Farm. The Champaign Park District staple opens this weekend for the season, and there’s a good chance your kids would be excited to see the animals again — or for the very first time. Or enjoy the playground. Or bring a picnic. Assuming the weather holds up, it’s a great chance to enjoy the great outdoors with nature’s creatures. Note: Free.
— This is also the time of year when Champaign splash pads re-open for business. Head over to Hessel Park Splash Pad if weather permits. Note: Free.
— Looking for an indoor activity? The Museum of the Grand Prairie is OPEN, and they have a fabulous new kid-friendly interactive exhibit. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Note: FREE.
–Want to be near water but don’t want to get in? Start a new tradition and go fishing. We tell you how, where and when you can fish in the Champaign-Urbana area.
— Go to a Memorial Day observance and/or parade. Show your children the true meaning of this day. Observances happen all over Champaign County and elsewhere. Here’s one in Urbana. There are short parades in Gibson City and Paxton too.
When you don’t mind driving a little farther …
–Take in a movie at Harvest Moon Drive In in Gibson City. One of the neatest, old-time experiences in Central Illinois happens around sundown on Route 47. Bonus: Memorial Day means double features! You can find movie showtimes and details here. We offered our thoughts on the Harvest Moon experience here.
–If the pool isn’t as appealing, perhaps the beach will do. Clinton Lake Beach is a place where the sand is as important as the water — to your little ones, anyway. Memorial Day is opening day for the season. Our opinion of Clinton Lake Beach? Find it here.
What did we miss? Post your ideas in our Facebook Group.