The end of the year brings a time to reflect back on the year that has passed and plan for the future. It’s also a popular time to make top ten lists of the best of the best for the year that has passed. In keeping with that tradition, here are my top family fun spots in Bloomington-Normal.
- Children’s Discovery Museum located at 101 E. Beufort St. in Uptown Normal. Our kids especially enjoy the painting wall on the third floor and the market and pizza shop on the first floor. At $6 per person, the price is just right for a family day out.
- Miller Park Zoo located at 1020 South Morrisey Ave in Bloomington. I can’t say enough about our hometown zoo. They host a variety of fun activities throughout the year that keep us coming back. Admission for adults is a mere $5 and for children up to age 12 it’s only $3.50.
- U.S. Cellular Coliseum located at 101 South Madison Street in Bloomington Whether its Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice or Bloomington Blaze hockey, we seem to spend a lot of time at the arena. Activities, prices and promotions vary so check out the web site for more information.
- Cornbelter’s Baseball located on Raab Road in Normal. Maybe it’s the tradition of minor league baseball, maybe it’s the convenient free parking, or maybe it’s the giant kernel shaped inflatable and the face painting station. Whatever the reason, our family just can’t get enough of Corny and the rest of the team. For the best bargain, bring your own blankets and sit on the lawn in the outfield for only $6 each.
- Pepsi Ice Center located at 201 S. Roosevelt Ave in Bloomington. If you are looking for inexpensive family fun, stop by for an open skate. Prices are $5 per person and skate rentals are only $2. The PIC also offers hockey, figure skating and curling programs for all ages.
- Constitution Trail located everywhere in Bloomington-Normal. Thirty seven miles of bike and walker friendly trail winds its way through two towns. You can’t beat the beauty of the trail. Plus, it’s a great way to get the kids out for a little exercise.
- Normal Public Library located at 206 W. College Ave in Normal. When your kids need a quiet time away from the house, the NPL is the perfect stop. The new and improved Discovery Room on the second floor will provide quiet amusement for hours on end.
- Bloomington Public Library at 205 E. Olive St. in Bloomington. The library offers variety of activities including a preschool reading program. Don’t miss the Nearly New Movie Series which features a viewing of the library’s newest movie selection.
- Normal Theater at 209 North St. in Uptown Normal. This year the Normal Theater partnered up with Normal Parks and Recreation to bring free dress up movie nights one Saturday a month. The event will continue through January, February and March of 2012.
- Tipton Park located at College and Airport Road in Bloomington. Whether it’s a birthday party, a 5K race or community picnic, it seems like there’s always something happening at Tipton. When you throw in the splash park, the playground and the natural prairie setting, you have a family outing that can’t be beat.
Do you have a favorite family fun spot in Bloomington-Normal or McLean County, or even one a bit further afield? If so, let me know and I’ll feature it in a future publication.
I’m not associated with any of the places mentioned. They didn’t pay me to put them in this article or give me any perks in exchange for saying nice things. I do have a library card for the Normal Library but they pretty much give them out to anyone who can prove their residency so it’s not as special as it sounds. I was also a “Friend of the Normal Theater” about nine years ago. I would write them a check for $50 each year and they would send me some free tickets to foreign films that I would give to my friends who have good taste. But that was in the days B.C. (before Children) and also BB (before blogging) so I don’t think it counts for much. One time I found a quarter at Tipton Park. But I don’t think it counts as a bribe from the City of Bloomington for my endorsment. More likely it fell out of someone’s pocket. A mother of a kid who use to go to my daughter’s day care works at the Normal Library. She’s very nice but other than waving at me last time I was at the library, she didn’t influence me to include them in this article. Oh yea, and Corny from the Normal Cornbelters gave me a high five once. In retrospect, that MIGHT have influence my decision a teeney tiny bit.