One of Champaign’s most famous and centrally located parks, Hessel Park is a great stop any time of year with kids of any age
Families know and love Hessel Park, one of the favorite parks in the Champaign-Urbana area
If you’ve spent any length of time in Champaign-Urbana, someone has probably recommended you visit Hessel Park. From the relatively new splash pad to the expansive playground equipment and a great perimeter walking path, Hessel Park is a popular choice among kids and parents alike.
Located right in the middle of Champaign and just steps from the University of Illinois campus, you can drive by any weekend and see groups gathering at the pavilions and enjoying a day outdoors together.
Part of the Champaign Park District, Hessel Park has nearly everything families are looking for in a park visit. Both the playground and splash pad have had a complete overhaul in the last five years, restrooms are located in proximity to the playground and there are a number of shelters and grills available for use.
Parents with strollers meeting up for a walk will especially appreciate the wide 0.6-mile perimeter walking path which encircles the park and makes for a scenic stroll.
Tips For Your Trip From Other Parents
- Just in case, always pack a change of clothes in the warmer months, even if you don’t plan to be in the splash pad.
- Two strollers can comfortably loop the walking path; any more than that will be a squeeze.
- If you want to play volleyball, make sure to bring your own ball.
- Especially in the evenings, be prepared to wait for the tennis courts.
- Choose a picnic table near the playground to be “home base” for your kids. Be open to sharing a table with another family while you’re there and bring your lunch!
- Shelters are available for rent through the Champaign Park District; groups over 25 will also need a group use permit.
Is this park good for toddlers?
There are a number of large play structures you’ll need to watch carefully, but plenty of toddler sized equipment is available. The splash pad is very toddler-friendly.
What amenities are offered?
Hessel Park offers many amenities, including:
- Newly expanded playground, with a mulch-free base and popular parent-child swings
- New splash pad with brightly-colored, critter-themed features
- Bath house located close to playground and splash pad
- .6 mile paved walking path around the perimeter of the park
- 4 lighted tennis courts
- A volleyball court
- 1 ballfield (not lighted)
- Shelters available for rent, grills available for use
How are the bathrooms?
They are close and always functional. When the splash pad is particularly busy, expect bathrooms that feel like pool bathrooms with all the wet people walking in and out. So, just wear your shoes.
Are there picnic tables and grills?
There are many picnic tables and grills. There are four covered shelters and many small shelters.
Is there any shade?
Yes! Many shaded areas exist at Hessel Park. The actual playground itself is in the direct sun.
When is this park open?
Hessel Park is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
What is parking like?
Park in spots along the sides of the park on Grandview Drive or in a parking lot at the north end of the park.
How do you get there?
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