It is officially the first day of Spring! Warmer weather is ahead and plants and flowers will soon begin to blossom. The Champaign/Urbana area is home to great outdoor recreational spots to enjoy the first couple weeks of spring and throughout the warmer months of the year. Be sure to check out our favorite spots to explore nature and have fun in the sun this spring!

 

 

Meadowbrook Park  (2808 South Race Street, Urbana)

Come discover all that Meadowbrook Park has to offer. There are great natural spaces to explore along the walking and bicycling trails. The park is dedicated to restoring habitats that are native to central Illinois. These areas include the Timpone Ornamental Tree Grove, McCullough and Douglas creek corridors, and 80 acre prairie. Spend time in the park’s plant and herb gardens, as well as the amazing Wandell Sculpture Garden. The highlight of the park is PrairiePlay, a 13,000 square foot play structure!

 

University of Illinois Arboretum (1800 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana)

A favorite outdoor spot in the Champaign/Urbana area, the Arboretum covers 160 acres of the University of Illinois’s south campus. While it serves as a spot for university students to learn, it is open to the public to explore. Visitors love spending time in the arboretum’s numerous Gardens, which boast a wide variety of plant life. Be sure to swing by the Idea Garden and nearby Japan House. The arboretum is truly one of our area’s most peaceful and beautiful spaces to spend time outside.

 

Crystal Lake Park (206 West Park Street, Urbana)

Crystal Lake is a community park filled with spectacular amenities. Everyone in your family will find something they love in this park. Residents that enjoy spending time exploring natural landscapes should visit the Anita Purves Nature Center and wander through Busey Woods. If you prefer spending time in or on the water, be sure to check out the Family Aquatic Center for swimming or the park’s lake for boating and fishing.  This park also offers a playground and picnic areas for a family fun afternoon.

 

River Bend Forest Preserve (1602 Mid America Road, Mahomet)

Spend time in the great outdoors in this beautiful forest preserve. Covering over 280 acres, there are ample opportunities to view wildlife and marvel at the natural landscape. There are several miles of trails to enjoy throughout the forest. Visitors can also spend time on crystal clear waters on one of the preserve’s two lakes. Boating and fishing are available on both.

 

Allerton Park & Retreat Center (515 Old Timber Road, Monticello)

Allerton Park is considered one of Illinois’s Seven Wonders. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city within the 1,500+ acres included in this spectacular park. With 14 miles of hiking trails, 500 acres of contiguous forest, opportunities for bird watching, 30 acres of prairie land, and part of the Sangamon River, there is much to explore this spring. Be sure to also stop by the Formal Gardens, which houses some of the most beautiful flowers and sculptures you have ever seen.