As Illinois adjusts restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the latest on what is open and what is closed when it comes to Champaign-Urbana winter family fun
As we grind through the winter months, some destinations are closed and some are opening (again) throughout Champaign-Urbana. It may be hard to keep track when it comes to sorting it out for your family.
Regardless of whether someplace is open or closed, when it comes to venturing out of your home with your family, we as a community continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, wash our hands and disinfect high traffic surfaces regularly.
On Jan. 21, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Region 6 (including Champaign and Vermilion counties) can loosen some restrictions and move back to Phase 4 of the Restore Plan. With this announcement, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike cautioned, “However, this does not mean we can let our guard down. We must continue to practice actions to protect ourselves from the virus – wear our masks, avoid large gatherings, and get the vaccine when it is our turn. This is particularly critical as new variants circulate, which early studies show spread much more rapidly.” Regarding the relaxing of restrictions, the Champaign County Public Health District bluntly reminds us, “This does not mean it is safe … it means we have hospital capacity.”
So what does this actually mean for our community? What about those places we visit for family fun? Indoor fun, outdoor fun, parks, nature trails, all of the winter staples … what is opening, what is still closed, and what is on hold until later in 2021 (long-term closure)? We break it down below, and we will update open/closed statuses as we learn more.
The status of these businesses can change at any time, so check with the business before venturing out to be sure they’re open and if reservations are needed. Readers are urged to follow guidelines — mask wearing, social distancing, capacity limits — set forth by local authorities. Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement; we are reporting on open/closed status only.
The info detailed below in this open/closed post relates to community staple locations that are not tied to a specific event. Be sure to check the chambanamoms.com event calendar regularly for scheduled events, both virtual and in-person.
Outdoor recreational activities are some of the things we can count on to be OPEN. Walk the trails, take a hike, go sledding, and just generally go get some fresh air in a beautiful, local setting.
PLAYGROUNDS AND OUTDOOR PARK DISTRICT RECREATION
All of our area park districts have outdoor spaces, such as playgrounds, remain OPEN at this time with restrictions on group size. Outdoor tennis and pickleball courts stayed OPEN longer this year in the Champaign Park District, with some courts remaining OPEN for winter. CPD outdoor pavilion or shelter rentals are OPEN, as are those at UPD. Foot golf is OPEN at the Lake of the Woods golf course. Disc golf courses in the area are OPEN.
PARK DISTRICT INDOOR RECREATION
Champaign: Walking track and weight rooms at the Leonhard Recreation Center are OPEN and no longer require reservations (but do have capacity limits and require masks at all times). Dodds Tennis Center is OPEN for court times and some programming; its offerings will expand further in March. Pickleball and some group fitness classes will resume under Phase 4. CPD will continue offering many activities as hybrid in-person/virtual. Find information here about Family Gym Reservations at Douglass and Leonhard.
Urbana: The Anita Purves Nature Center is OPEN for in-person visits (call ahead to reserve). The Urbana Park District is OPEN for facility rentals, indoor fitness classes, and all other in-person registered programming (with any required COVID-19 capacity limits in effect). As in Champaign, the UPD will continue some virtual activities.
The Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center is OPEN for lap swim by reservation and for aquatic fitness classes.
OTHER INDOOR RECREATION
Preschool open gyms — supervised playtime for kids under 5 — at I-Power School of Gymnastics are OPEN.
Illinois campgrounds are OPEN. (Camping in winter, why not?!) You may be able to book a site at nearby locations at reserveamerica.com. Many area campsites are walk-in only during the winter months.
A stroll at Allerton ranks at the top of our list any time of year and its grounds are OPEN.
Mahomet Public Library is OPEN; Tolono Public Library is OPEN; Rantoul Public Library is OPEN; Allerton Public Library is OPEN. Urbana Free Library and Champaign Public Library are OPEN with limited public building access.
As far as we know, all libraries still offer curbside pickup and are accepting returns.
The Pottery Place in Champaign is OPEN for painting. Call ahead to see if you need to reserve a time to visit with your kids and paint some masterpieces.
Skateland in Savoy is OPEN as of Feb. 3, with limited hours; masks required on and off the skating floor. At this time it is unclear whether the snack bar, arcade, or Laser Zone are open.
Bowling at Old Orchard Lanes (as well as dining) and at Arrowhead Lanes is OPEN.
The Savoy 16 Theaters are OPEN under new ownership, with capacity and other restrictions in place. The AMC Theaters in Champaign are OPEN.
MUSEUMS in and near C-U
Both the Krannert Art Museum and Spurlock Museum of World Cultures are OPEN, with timed/restricted ticketed entry. Museum of the Grand Prairie and Homer Lake Interpretive Center are OPEN with masks/distancing and capacity limitations.
OTHER GRAB-AND-GO SHOPS
Places like the Art Coop Shop and Yellow & Co., to name a few, are all OPEN for grab-and-go kits. There are capacity limits on stores, simply call ahead if you’re curious if you can drop in somewhere.
Drive around to see horses and buggies and get some cinnamon rolls to go while you’re there, too.
CASEY BIG THINGS
These outdoor objects are OPEN to check out.
MUSEUMS/ATTRACTIONS outside C-U area
- The City Museum in St. Louis is OPEN
- The Magic House in St. Louis is OPEN
- The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is OPEN
- Chicago’s Field Museum is OPEN
- The Abraham Lincoln National Library and Museum in Springfield is OPEN
- Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is OPEN
Peoria Zoo and Miller Park Zoo are OPEN on a limited basis, as are the Indianapolis Zoo, the Brookfield Zoo, and the St. Louis Zoo. (Scovill Zoo is CLOSED for the winter and plans to open on April 2.) Check ahead of time to see if the zoo you plan to visit requires you to reserve a time to enter.
STEPHENS FAMILY YMCA
The Y is OPEN with many COVID-19 operational guidelines in place. You can reserve a time to use specific parts of the facility, such as half of the family pool or the gym, with your household.
BOWLING AND OTHER INDOOR RECREATION
The Illini Union Rec Room remains CLOSED.
The indoor playgrounds at First Christian Church, Windsor Road Christian Church, and Leonhard Recreation Center are all CLOSED.
Old Orchard Lanes & Links is CLOSED for mini-golf for the winter.
Curtis Orchard CLOSED for the season on Dec. 23. Look forward to July 2021 when you can once again cuddle cats, feed the goats and pick up some baked goods, too.
HARDY’S REINDEER RANCH
The reindeer ranch CLOSED for the season after Dec. 28. The reindeer look forward to seeing you again in the fall.
The Ice Arena at the University of Illinois is CLOSED. Some rinks are open in Springfield, Bloomington, and elsewhere in Central Illinois.
MUSEUMS in and near C-U
As a reminder, the Orpheum closed permanently in 2020.
MUSEUMS/ATTRACTIONS outside C-U area
The Chicago Children’s Museum, Adler Planetarium, The Museum of Science and Industry, and the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago are all CLOSED (although the Lincoln Park Zoo plans to re-open March 5, 2021, and the Museum of Science and Industry plans to re-open on March 7, 2021).
OTHER OPENINGS/CLOSINGS OF NOTE
Driver Services Facilities in Illinois (DMV) are OPEN, although drivers are encouraged to use online services as much as possible. Read more here. (Opinions vary on whether or not this constitutes “family fun.”)