Whether you are a central Illinois native or you are just driving through the state, you are likely to catch some unpleasant weather. Spring and summer bring rainy storms, winter brings blistery cold temperatures, and summer just gets way too hot sometimes. Check out the list below for some of our favorite indoor activities for kids…and a few that we can’t wait to try out ourselves!
Scheels – Springfield, IL
At 22,000 sq feet, Scheels is huge and has so much more to offer than just clothing and hunting gear. When you first walk in, you will immediately notice the 16,000 gallon salt water aquarium with colorful, live fish swimming. Just past the aquarium is a 16 car ferris wheel ($1/per person). My 3 year old just loves riding it and his 18 month brother can’t wait to be tall enough to ride too! As you walk through the store, you’ll find a golf simulator, an archery lane, and life size sculptures and wildlife displays. Need a bite to eat? Head over to the north end of the store where you’ll find Gramma Ginna’s Deli and Fudge Shop. Before you leave, take a few steps past the kid’s shoe department on the first floor and you’ll find a play place with a climber and slide! Click here to check out our post with some of our recent Scheels photos!
Ergadoozy – Springfield, IL
$10 on weekdays (age 1-12)
$12 on weekends (age 1-12)
2 Adults are free with paid child ($3 for additional adults)
My family discovered Ergadoozy months after they opened and let me tell you, we were impressed with what we found. When you first walk in, you’ll find a gated play area perfect for the little ones – activity tables, a train table, building blocks, a climber with a slide, even a padded area for the crawlers. As you walk past the coat racks and shoe cubbies, you will find another room. Inside is the largest indoor climbing gym I had ever seen! My sons are just 3 years old and 18 months old so my husband and I climb through with them to assist them and make sure they don’t get trampled by the bigger kids. It is a workout for both the kids and us and I admit, it’s a lot of fun! While the cost may seem steep, there is so much to do that it is worth it. After 3 hours, my boys were not ready to leave.
White Oaks Mall – Springfield, IL
Prices vary for mini golf
Free play area
Another favorite is the White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois. If you enter the mall between Sears and Bergners, you will find Glow Mini Golf, great for adults and older kids. If you walk just ahead into the central area of the mall, you’ll find the St. John’s Play Area perfect for those with young children. As you walk in, you are greeted with cushy carpet that I’m pretty sure any mother would love to have in her playroom! There are several play areas including an ambulance climber with a slide, a car to sit in, a small curved slide perfect for the littlest of climbers, and a fun boat to climb in. My boys also love to explore the walls where you will find this awesome distorted mirror and puzzles.
If your kid loves trains, stay on the lower floor and head down towards LA Fitness and HH Gregg to catch a ride on the trackless train. The train plays music as a conductor drives it through the mall, giving you both a tour of the stores but also a fun experience for the kids.
Children’s Discovery Museum – Normal, IL
$7 per person age 2 and up
If you are near Bloomington-Normal, check out the Children’s Discovery Museum! This is on our list of places to visit. While I have not been there before, I have heard great things about it! With 3 floors, there are plenty of exhibits to keep your kids happy. If you’d like to check it out before you drive there, check out these 360 views of each floor of the museum!
Leonhard Recreation Center – Champaign, IL
Membership rates vary
or $5 per person for indoor playground (all day access even if you leave)
Another place on our list is the Leonhard Recreation Center in Champaign. Having just opened in May 2014, they are sure to have sturdy, new equipment. Membership rates vary but give access to workout facilities, a huge indoor gym with basketball, volleyball, and pickleball courts, along with lockers and…the best part…an indoor playground! This area is geared towards kids up to age 12 and has a separate area for smaller kids to play safely without being trampled on. An indoor playground is a must if you have active kids who need to release some energy on rainy days!
Upper Limits – Bloomington, IL
If climbing is your thing, Upper Limits needs to be your next stop! With 65 ft silos, a 110 ft outdoor wall, and more, there is something for every skill level. Classes and birthday parties are available. Kids aged 7-17 can join the the Upper Limits Junior Climbing Team and participate in competitions.
Nelson Center – Springfield, IL
$4-6 per person depending on age
$3 skate rental
Located in Lincoln Park, the Nelson Center houses two indoor rinks. Lessons and leagues are available, as well public skate time. Be sure to check the Nelson Center skate calendar for public skate times.
Pepsi Ice Center – Bloomington, IL
$6 per person
$2 skate rental
60 miles away from the Nelson Center in Springfield, you’ll find the Pepsi Ice Center in Bloomington. With different public skate times available, you may be able to fit in a visit if the Nelson Center’s schedule doesn’t work for you. Lessons and birthday parties are also available.
Illinois State Museum – Springfield, IL
$5 per adult
Children 18 and under, seniors, and veterans receive free admission
My kids absolutely love visiting the Illinois State Museum. Not only do they have fun walking through and checking out the exhibits and identifying familiar animals and objects, but they also enjoy the Mary Ann Maclean Play Museum. Check out our post (and photos!) about the museum by clicking here.