Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
In one of the hottest months of the year, Visit Champaign County is here with ideas to help keep you cool while you’re having fun.
Starting first, let’s go on an ice cream tour. Nothing is better to help you cool down than this sweet treat and we have many hidden gems in this area to check out. Start at Baldarotta’s Gelataria. Many know them for their sandwiches, but their Italian ice cream, gelato, is creamy and delicious. Get a flight to try up to 8 flavors. Another gelato stop, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery has seasonal flavors at their farm Fridays–Sundays, where you can enjoy a scoop based on the latest ingredients available on the farm. You can also enjoy a charcuterie board and some beer and wine while there. Out in Mahomet, the Main Scoop serves 16 different flavors of their high-end, rich and creamy ice cream, perfect for a hot day. While not so hidden, Jarling’s Custard Cup is always a popular stop whether you want a cold-fudge sundae or a scoop of lemon custard.
Stay cool at area our area swimming pools, as long as you pack the sunscreen! Sholem Aquatic Center is one of our favorites, with a lazy river to relax or some tube slides for a little exhilaration. At the Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center, kids can cool down under the big bucket at the pool, jump of their climbing wall, or go against the current in the vortex of swirling water. Community pools in Tuscola, Monticello, and Rantoul also do the trick. Or head to area splash pads in our parks, like Douglass Park and Hessel Park in Champaign, or at the Rantoul Family Sports Complex, where you can also catch a game.
For a different way to get in some water, get out on a kayak in most of our area forest preserves. In Homer, you can rent from Lunatic Kayak before heading out on Homer Lake, or out in Mahomet, check out Kingfisher Kayaking for guided tours down the Sangamon River. Lake of the Woods now has a kayak launch and rentals with another scenic spot to enjoy. In Sullivan they have their kayak trail along the Kaskaskia River or you can get on Lake Shelbyville in your motorboat for more speed and fun. Finally, Crystal Lake Park in Urbana rents canoes and paddle boats in their park which had major renovations this past year.
If you really want to stay cool, stay indoors and check out our area museums. Visiting our campus museums is a great treat while students are away. Krannert Art Museum is second only in size to the Art Institute, but you’ll never pay admission here to see the incredible and inspiring visits throughout the museum. Head over to Spurlock Museum also on campus for a glimpse into our world heritage, with some special exhibits up now on Ukraine Folk Arts, Bodies in Crisis, and a World through Windows. Stop into the Champaign County History Museum, which was recently named Best Small Museum by the Illinois Museum Association, or head to Museum of the Grand Prairie for some interactive and engaging exhibits on Lincoln’s time in our area and a glimpse of what life was like on the prairie.