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October News 23

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Youth & Teen

3rd – 7th Graders

Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Mathematics. This is what makes up STEAM. Various science organizations from UIUC, in partnership with X-Time, are excited to introduce you to the wonderful world of STEAM and all that it entails. This is NOT a drop off event.

  • October 5 | Deadline: September 28
  • October 19 | Deadline: October 12
  • November 2 | Deadline: October 26

Day: Thursday
Time: 4:30-6p
Fee (R/NR): $5/$7.50
Location: Martens Center 
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

A plate covered in paint for crafts.

Ages 5-11

Put your creativity to work using recycled resources, glue, paint, and more! We supply the materials, you supply the creativity. New fun ideas will be posted in each 2-hour studio time slot. Let your inner art beast loose with us!

Springer Cultural Center

  • October 7 | Deadline: September 30
  • October 21 | Deadline: October 14
  • November 4 | Deadline: October 28

Martens Center

  • October 14 | Deadline: October 7
  • October 28 | Deadline: October 21

Day: Saturday
: 10:30a – 12:30p
Fee (R/NR): $17/$25.50
Questions: melanie.kahler@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3919

Child coloring and smiling

K-5th Graders

Fall is in the air! Join us for a fun-filled adventure for fall break including fall crafts, STEAM activities, and making new friends. Field trips are listed below. Please pack a morning snack and a sack lunch. No peanut/nut products, please.


  • October 12 | Th | Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon
  • October 13 | F | Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, Rantoul
  • October 16 | M | Elevate Trampoline Park, Champaign
  • October 17 | Tu | Children’s Discovery Museum, Normal
  • October 18 | W | The Pottery Place, Champaign
  • October 19 | Th | The Great Pumpkin Patch, Arthur
  • October 20 | F | Pottery at Springer Cultural Center

Time: 7:30a-5:30p
Fee (R/NR): $71/$106.50
Deadline: October 5
Location: Leonhard Recreation Center
Questions: shannon.walter@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3988

Pumpkin illustration

K-5th Graders

Apples, and pumpkins, and leaves; oh my! It’s beginning to look a lot like fall. During this seven-day adventure, kids will be playing fun games, creating crafts, and participating in fall-themed STEAM activities and field trips. Each child should bring a snack and lunch in a disposable container. No peanut/nut products, please.

Admission for the field trips is included in the registration. Parents should drop their child off by 8am and pick up at 5:30p. In order to attend field trips, children 8 years old and under must have a booster or car seat. Please put their name on the car seat.


  • October 12 | Th | Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana
  • October 13 | F | Rader Family Farms, Normal
  • October 16 | M | REACT group from UIUC, visiting
  • October 17 | Tu | Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon
  • October 18 | W | Pottery from Springer, visiting
  • October 19 | Th | The Great Pumpkin Patch, Arthur
  • October 20 | F | Museum of the Grand Prairie, Mahomet

Time: 7:30a-5:30p
Fee (R/NR): $71/$106.50 (All 7 Dates: $280/$330)
Deadline: October 6
Location: Martens Center
Questions: lynne.franco@champaignparks.org or 217-398-2573

Beakers with Jack-o-Lantern faces drawn on

3rd-6th graders

Become a mad scientist and have fun learning, investigating and observing fun Halloween-themed chemistry and science experiments! Kids will have hands-on experience and see crazy reactions! This is a drop off event.

Date: October 16 – October 30
Day: Monday
Time: 5-6p
Deadline: October 9
Fee (R/NR): $10/$15
Location: Martens Center
Questions: paige.duncan@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3843

Ages 6-10

Kids will learn hand-building techniques and create weekly ceramics projects. They will finish their pottery with colorful underglazes!

Pottery for Kids I Dates:

  • October 24 – December 5* | Tu | Deadline: October 17
  • October 26 – December 7* | Th | Deadline: October 19

No Class*: November 21 & 23
Fee (R/NR): $96/$144
Location: Springer Cultural Center

Ages 9-12

Pottery for Kids II Dates: 

  • October 25 – December 6* | W | Deadline: October 18

No Class*: November 22
Fee (R/NR): $96/$144
Location: Springer Cultural Center

Ages 13-17

Teens will learn hand-building techniques to create functional and sculptural projects. They will also have the opportunity to try the pottery wheel. All skill levels are welcome!

Pottery for Teens Dates: 

  • October 28 – December 9* | Sa | Deadline: October 21

No Class*: November 25
Fee (R/NR): $124/$174
Location: Spring Cultural Center

Image of two white tailed deer

Ages 5+

Learn about Illinois mammals and how the presence of wildlife has changed since Illinois was settled. We may even go outside to search for clues left behind by area mammals. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Both adult and child must be registered.

Date: October 26
Day: Thursday
Time: 5:30-6:30p
Deadline: October 21
Fee (R/NR): $5/$7.50
Location: Martens Center
Instructor: Jennifer Wick
Questions: paige.duncan@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3843

telescope on a tripod with a starry sky in the background. 3d rendering

Ages 5+

Join members of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society, Inc. on select Saturdays for an evening under the stars. See the stars and planets through the largest public telescope in East Central Illinois. All skywatch sessions are cancelled in the event of cloudy weather (visit cuas.org.). No registration required.

  • October 21 | 6-9p

Time: Sunset
Location: CUAS Observatory, 926 County Road 700E, Champaign
Questions: sean.hurst@champaignparks.com or 217-819-3901

Sports & Fitness

Mini Dribblers Graphic

Calling all preschoolers and kindergarteners! Mini Dribblers is designed to practice basic dribbling, passing, and shooting skills with our mini basketball hoops. Players are divided up by age (see below).


  • 3-4 | October 7 – October 28 | Sa | 9-9:45a | September 29
  • 5-6 | October 7 – October 28 | Sa | 10-10:45a | September 29

Fee (R/NR): $57/$85.50, includes t-shirt
Location: Leonhard Recreation Center
Deadline: September 29
Questions: cameron.walls@champaignparks.org

Group fitness class doing yoga

Ages 15+

Power Vinyasa Yoga helps improve strength, flexibility, balance, focus, and joy. The structure of this class is designed to include all bodies and levels with many modifications and variations. Notice the differences in your mind, body, breath. Bring a mat, 1 to 2 yoga blocks, and water.

September 5 - October 10Tuesday8-9aAugust 29
September 7 - October 12Thursday8-9aAugust 31
October 17 - November 21Tuesday8-9aOctober 10
October 19 - November 30*Thursday8-9aOctober 12
November 28 - January 2Tuesday8-9aNovember 21
December 7 - January 11Thursday8-9aNovember 30

No Class*: November 23
Fee (R/NR): $40/$60
Location: Martens Center
Instructor: Simone Graham-Bickham
Questions: lynne.franco@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3971

First string basketball participants playing basketball

K-8th Graders

This clinic is designed to teach basketball fundamentals with an emphasis on fun, teamwork, sportsmanship, and growth. Players of all skill levels are encouraged to participate.


  • K-2nd | October 27 | F | 5-7p 
  • 3rd-4th | October 28 | Sa | 10a-12p
  • 5th-6th | October 28 | Sa | 1-3p
  • 7th-8th | October 27 | F | 7:30-9:30p

Fee (R/NR): $15/$22.50; additional $10 after deadline is space available
Deadline: October 13 
: Douglass Community Center
Questions: lynne.franco@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3971

Yoga Mat

Ages 15+

Improve and enhance your body’s strength, flexibility, and balance as we focus on the whole body. This gentle class will also help relieve stress and tension as we learn yoga postures, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Session 3
Date: October 24 – December 19
Day: Tuesday
Fee (R/NR): $54/$81
Deadline: October 17

Session 4
Date: October 26 – December 21*
Day: Thursday
Fee (R/NR): $48/$72
Deadline: October 19

No Class*: November 23
Time: 5:30-6:15p
Location: Leonhard Recreation Center
Instructor: Pat Casey
Questions: shannon.walter@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3988

Project Athletes participant running

3rd-5th Graders

Project Athletes Speed School offers speed, agility, and conditioning training – a place to belong and a team to be a part of .

Join us as we partner with Project Athletes, a program designed to improve personal athletic ability and personal growth development. This program includes individualized cross-training, a unique accountability program, and an after-school programming option for students in 3rd-5th grades. Let Project Athletes guide your child on their life journey through positive mentoring.

Date: October 30 – December 18
Day: Monday
: 3:30-4:30p
Location: Leonhard Recreation Center
Fee (R/NR): $64/$96
Deadline: October 23
Questions: justice.miller@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3984

Child playing volleyball

2nd-8th Graders

Have fun and learn to play the game! The Champaign Park District and Prime Time Volleyball Club have teamed up to provide a volleyball program designed to focus on the technique and skills of each player. All coaches are selected by the Prime Time Volleyball Club. These clinics will concentrate on developing the ability to pass, set, spike, and serve the ball. Players are introduced to the basics and move to more advanced skills.


  • 2nd-5th Grade (Serving/Setting) | October 29 & November 5 | 1-2:30p | October 25
  • 6th-8th Grade (Serving/Setting) | October 29 & November 5 | 2:30-4p | October 25

Day: Sunday
Fee (R/NR): $36/$54
Location: Leonhard Recreation Center
Late Registration: If there are openings, a $10 late fee will be added
Questions: justice.miller@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3984

50 Plus!

Join our 50 Plus! program to socialize, adventure, and learn!  Individuals aged 50+ living in Champaign-Urbana join for an annual fee of $30. Those outside of Champaign-Urbana pay $40. Non-members are always welcome to participate at the non-member (NM) fee, varies per program.


  • Discounted rates on many programs at both Hays Recreation Center and Douglass Annex.
  • Members get advanced early registration for the yearly senior trip.
  • Free admission to several annual events plus these programs: Games, Fitness, Brown Bag Lunch Discussions, Socials, Picnics, and more.


  • Fresh coffee weekday mornings.
  • Table area to play cards/gather (based on availability).


It’s easy to become a member! Register at any Champaign Park District facility, and you’ll be entered into our system to automatically receive member discounts on programming. Membership is nontransferable.

  • M = Member
  • NM = Non-member

Chair exercise participants

These exercise sessions focus on providing you with a great workout while in the support of a chair. Focus on stretch and strength, core fitness, and yoga. No matter your preference, you are sure to burn calories!


Year round+ | M/W | 9:30 – 10:15a

Questions: call Jean at 217-239-1152 or email at veronica.cousett@champaignparks.org


Year round* | M/W/F | 9-10a

Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

No Class: August 16*, September 20, November 15, December 25*
Fee (M/NM): Free with membership/$4 per session

Paint and paint brushes on table

Join us for some DIY crafts and coffee. Enjoy making things such as motivational cards for individuals in nursing homes, bookmarks for children, and homeless mats for those less fortunate. We will provide ideas, supplies, and coffee – you just bring your creativity!


Date: 10/3, 10/17, 10/31
Day: Tuesday
Time: 10a-12p
Questions: call Jean at 217-239-1152 or email at veronica.cousett@champaignparks.org

Sign up in the Senior Binder at Hays Recreation Center or call 217-239-1152


Date: 10/21
Day: Wednesday (Friday starting 9/15)
Time: 1-2:30p
Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

Sign up at Douglass Annex

Smart Meals is a program designed to provide awareness and education on buying affordable, healthy foods that can be easily prepared at home. Each Smart Meal kit includes a recipe card, shelf-stable ingredients, a shopping list, and other educational materials. Each Smart Meal recipe is uniquely created by a registered OSF dietician. All meals are high in fiber and low in fat and sodium.

  • October 23 | Deadline: October 16

Time: 2:30-3:30p
Fee : Free, but registration required
Location: Martens Center
Instructor: OSF Staff

50 Plus Arts and Crafts

We’re partnering with Family Services to get creative with Creativity Curve! A variety of projects will be created together to show off at Douglass Annex meetings.

Date: 10/16
Day: M
Time: 11a
Location: Douglass Annex
Fee (M/NM): Free/$4 per session
Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

Sign up at Douglass Annex

Two 50 Plus! participants wearing red hats

It’s time to grab your red hat and favorite side dish for this delightful luncheon! Enjoy conversation and stories as we dine together in our favorite red hats.

Date: October 20
Time: 11:30a-1p
Location: Hays Recreation Center
Fee: Bring a dish to share or $5

Sign up in the Senior Binder at Hays Recreation Center

Pottery participants

Have you ever been curious about starting a new hobby, but wanted to try it out first? Join us as we learn something new and sample some of the programs the Champaign Park District has to offer. Meet at location or ride in the van from Hays Recreation Center.


  • Intro to Pottery | October 25 | Springer Cultural Center

Day: W
Time: 1-3p
Fee (M/NM): Free/$5
Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

Sign up at Hays Center

The Great Pumpkin Patch

It’s time for summer fun on the run! Van space is limited, so hurry and register for these members-only trips!

  • October 13 | Arthur, Illinois
    • Visit the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL to experience the harvest season with over 300 varieties of pumpkins, premier displays, mums, and various mazes and gardens. We will end this trip with a mela provided by an Amish family in their home.
      • Deadline: October 6
      • Time: 9a-4p
      • Fee (Members Only): $30

Question mark graphic

On the road again! We’ll keep you guessing with our trips to who-knows-where. Come with an open mind and enjoy a relaxing day trip to a mystery location. Trip and fee with be revealed at Douglass Monthly Senior Meeting. Members only.

Date: 9/27, 10/26
Day: W
Time: 1-3p
Location: Departs from Douglass Annex
Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

Douglass Annex

512 E. Grove St
Champaign, IL 61820

Robert White

Hays Recreation Center

1311 W. Church Street
Champaign, IL 61821

Jean Cousett

Events & More

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

We’ve teamed up with Urbana Park District to hide small rocks painted like pumpkins in many Champaign and Urbana parks throughout October. Get your detective gear ready and see how many you can find! Be sure to snap a picture and share your discoveries with us on our Facebook and Instagram accounts by tagging #CUpumpkinhunt.

Questions: zoe.southlynn@champaignparks.org

Cartoon cute kids wearing Halloween costumes vector characters. Little child people Halloween dracula, witch, ghost, zombie kids costume. Childhood fun cartoon boys and girls costume.

Less than bewitched by last year’s Halloween outfits? Creating closet room for a new costume? Donate your old threads and give kids a night of happy haunting!

Donation of items is not required to pick up a new costume. A limited number of people will be admitted to shop at a time.

DONATE: September 11 – October 11 @ any Champaign Park District facility.

GIVEAWAY: Saturday, October 14, 10a-noon or until costumes are gone @ Douglass Community Center

Questions: lynne.franco@champaignparks.org or 217-398-2573

Flannel Fest graphic

Enjoy live music, beer, food, games, contests, Lumberjack Enterprises Shows, Hayrack Rides and much more at this FREE fall event!

Date: October 14-15, 2023
Time: 11a – 6p
*NEW LOCATION: West Side Park

Marquee that says "www.thevirginia.org"

Catch a movie or a performance at the historic Virginia Theatre! Make sure to follow the Virginia Theatre’s Facebook and Instagram to know when a new show has been added, when a movie is showing or to enter a ticket giveaway!


  • October 5: Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  • October 6: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1990)
  • October 7: Hagerman’s Magical Mystery Show
  • October 13: Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience
  • October 14: North by Northwest (1959)
  • October 15: Amy Grant
  • October 26 – October 28: Krannert Center at the Virginia: Illinois Theatre Presents “Rent”

Click below to explore events and purchase tickets!

Because some residents are unable to participate in recreation programs due to economic hardship, the Champaign Park District offers scholarships to reduce certain fees and charges. We now offer both scholarship and registration forms in Spanish! Fill out the form and submit the completed packet in one of the three ways listed on the form.

Questions: Please call 217-398-2550

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