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What is more, I hear myself speak;[...]
[Peter Berger]

Learning sites near Champaign County

Outdoor areas | Libraries | Museums | Resource centers and programs

Outdoor Areas

Robert Allerton Park and Conference Center
Robert Henry Allerton donated his private estate,"The Farms", to the University of Illinois in 1946. The property, located near Monticello, Illinois consists of 1,500 acres of formal gardens, nature areas, and his manor house. The estate is used as a conservation area devoted to education, research, and recreation.

Busey Woods
A 59-acre remnant of the Big Grove which consisted of ten square miles of forest surrounded by tall grass prairie.

Champaign Park District
The mission of the Champaign Park District is to improve the quality of life for residents through education, recreational, culture, and leisure opportunities. It has swimming pools, parks, and a small prairie farm.

Curtis Orchard
This farm has over 5,000 trees on more than 25 acres. It also has 22 acres of pumpkins and other fruit and produce, as well as fields of corn and soybeans. It hosts over 120,000 visitors annually, including more than 6,000 school children, learning about their agricultural heritage.

Lake of the Woods County Park
This is a popular site of almost 900 acres located in a rolling, wooded area along the Sangamon River near Mahomet, Illinois. It includes the Early American Museum, a botanical garden, and a golf course.

Meadowbrook Prairie Restoration Project
Meadowbrook Park offers a glimpse of the former landscape of Illinois on more than 60 acres of restored prairie. In 1978, the Urbana Park District planted prairie seeds on a small former farm field in southeast Urbana. The Champaign County Audubon Society has worked with the Park District to maintain and enrich the prairie plantings.

Middle Fork River Forest Preserve
1,530 acres of land composed of old hardwood timber, reforested lowlands and grassy meadows. The Middle Fork contains hiking and nature trails, a waterfowl management area, and a campground.

Salt Fork River Forest Preserve
Approximately 800 acres surrounding Homer Lake for recreation and the protection of wildlife and natural habitat. There are trails for hiking, nature study and bird-watching, and picnic areas.

Twin Silos Orchard
An orchard in Mahomet, IL, open for picking and nature enjoyment.

Urbana Park District
Provides programs in sports, environmental education, fine arts, fitness, and summer camps. There are 22 parks including Busey Woods, a 59-acre old-growth forest, and Meadowbrook Park, with a re-created native Illinois prairie and the Wandell Sculpture Garden.

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Urbana Free Library
The Urbana Free Library is the public library of the Urbana, Illinois, and one of the oldest public libraries in the state. It is a member of the Lincoln Trail Libraries System and is one of only two public library members of the Center for Research Libraries.

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Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
The museum has over 40 aircraft and missiles on display, including replicas of Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and Chanute Field's first aircraft, the Curtiss Jenny biplane.

Discovery Place
A hands-on children's museum in the 1914 Orpheum Theatre, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Early American Museum
Located just north of Interstate 74 near Mahomet, Illinois. Its collections "nurture an appreciation of history, in particular the history of Champaign County and east central Illinois."

Monticello Railway Museum
The museum collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits materials and artifacts relating to railroading, with an emphasis on Central Illinois. It also operates a demonstration railroad. Rail cars are used for displays, allowing visitors to view the interiors and exhibits within. Camp Creek Yard is an operational railroad yard open to the public for viewing of additional railroad equipment.

Museum of Natural History
The Natural History Building is an example of the High Victorian Gothic style. It houses the Museum of Natural History, which features the bird collection from the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

Anita Purves Nature Center
An environmental education facility, which along with the adjacent Busey Woods, provides a natural resource to those interested in learning more about the outdoors. The Nature Center features four multipurpose rooms, an Exhibit Hall, an Observation Room, the Audubon Nature Shop, and an Educator Resource Room. It is located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park in Urbana.

William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Located at Parkland College in Champaign, the planetarium is open year-round, providing science education programs and light show entertainment.

Conner Prairie
An open-air living history museum located in Fishers, Indiana. It serves as a center for research and education about the lives, times, attitudes, and values of early 19th-century settlers in the Old Northwest Territory. It features a modern Museum Center and four historic areas: the 1836 village of Prairietown, the 1823 Conner Home, the Pioneer Adventure Area and the Lenape Camp & McKinnen's Trading Post, all set on a 210-acre site with wooded areas and orchards along the White River.

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Resource Centers and Programs

Bouchet Outreach and Achievement in Science and Technology
A program to stimulate academically at-risk children's interest in science, and to serve as a national resource for hands-on science and internet lessons.

Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society
CUAS operates a small library and operates an observatory SW of Savoy, Illinois.

Franklin Middle School
Franklin MS has an excellent Science Center.

Illinois Natural History Survey
The "guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois." Its mission is to investigate the diversity, life histories, and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results; and to provide information to the public.

Science Education Laboratory, College of Education
A laboratory with resource materials and work spaces.

Project SEARCH
An outreach program that brings schools and other organizations together with science departments of UIUC to enhance children's understanding of the meaning and excitement of science.

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