Chicago Bears Training Camp returns to its preseason training facility on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University starting on Saturday, July 27. It’s a great opportunity for some FREE family fun – less than 90 minutes away from Champaign-Urbana, just north of Kankakee.
The Bears will be in residence at the Bourbonnais facility, starting July 27 for a total of nine practices through Aug. 10. And they also want you to visit. Admission and parking are FREE, and there are special family days to mark down on your calendar. Find the whole schedule, FAQ, and tickets HERE.
You must get tickets online to attend. Again, the tickets are FREE, but this means you need to do a little bit of planning ahead. (Need your Bears gear? Check out the Amazon fan shop in advance, and save some green.) Training camp will be open from 7:30-noon during the daytime practices open to the public; actual practice will begin at 8:15 a.m.
It’s not just the Bears practicing is the main attraction. There are activities and fun providing a carnival-like atmosphere. Attractions open every day of camp include:
- The Midway is an interactive area open daily and is located inside of Camp grounds leading to the practice fields. It offers a variety of entertainment for all ages, including stage programming, food and beverage concessions, free water, Community Concierge, Dr Pepper booth, Staley’s Corner brought to you by Visit Kankakee County, partners displays, a video game truck, eurobungy and rock wall and other activities. Adult supervision for children is required and a waiver must be signed to participate in certain activities. Height restrictions also apply to certain activities.
- Staley’s Corner, which provides fun-filled entertainment for the entire family including a daily photo/ autograph opportunity with Staley (the Bears fuzzy mascot), as well as crafts and games!
- The Bears Mini Monsters Clinic is an activity area with non-contact football drills that allow kids to show off their athleticism and football skills. Open daily for kids ages 6-13. Adult supervision for children is required and a waiver must be signed prior to entering the area.
- Goodwill VIP Autograph Zone: Head to the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Bourbonnais to pick up passes for entry into this exclusive autograph zone. This area will open with 30 minutes left in practice. One pass per person is required for entry. Passes are date specific. Limited quantities are available.
There are many special events, including:
Opening Weekend: Training camp kicks off with opening weekend July 27-28. Enjoy music, games, giveaways, appearances by the Bears Drumline and Monster Squad, kids autograph opportunities and more.
- Military Appreciation: On Monday, Aug. 5. Special reserved bleacher seating and an opportunity to participate in the post-practice autograph session will be available for those who dress in uniform. Deja Blue Autographs will be available for 150 Armed Forces members. If you are interested in participating, please contact the USO of Illinois for more information.
- Bears Blue and Orange Weekend is Saturday, Aug. 10. Show your Bears pride during Blue & Orange Weekend.
- First Responders Appreciation: The Chicago Bears welcome police, fire, medical, and emergency service men and women on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
IF YOU GO: Trip takes about 90 minutes from Champaign-Urbana. Take I-57 north. Follow the signs to get to training camp! There are large electronic signs on the highway. These directions came from the Bears website: Take the IL-50 exit (exit 315). Keep right and travel north on IL-50. Turn left (west) onto E4000N Rd/Larry Power Rd. Turn left (south) onto Rt. 45/52. Turn left onto University Avenue. At the stop sign, follow the curve left and enter campus on Nielson Drive.
If you go, let us know how much fun you had!