Gibson City is a small city with about 3,000 people who call it home. It’s centrally located so you can travel to major metro areas like Chicago, Bloomington, and Normal in two hours or less. The Gibson City area offers plenty of family-oriented activities to explore, and there’s a little bit of everything for everyone in the family.
Grady’s Family Fun Park debuted in 1959 and has since been providing a variety of family activities to Bloomington and its surrounding communities. It’s only a 45-minute drive from Gibson City, and when you take the family for a day of fun, you’ll find attractions and activities including 10 kiddie rides, bumper boats and water blasters, bumper cars, laser tag, five adult rides, and NASCAR-themed go-karts. Grady’s also expanded to include the Orient Express Roller Coaster, adding to the family fun. Grady’s also offers group specials, birthday event hosting, and a menu of fun foods and ice creams.
The Children’s Discovery Museum in the Bloomington-Normal area and is an excellent opportunity to combine fun and learning. With an array of exhibits designed for toddlers to teens, the museum provides an amazing learning experience through hands-on exploration, live shows and demonstrations, and tons of play-focused and enriching activities. Parents can explore with their kids in the many play-and-explore areas, and the Children’s Discovery Museum also offers summer camps, homeschool enrichment activities, and early childhood programs.
The Miller Park Zoo Forest is another one of Bloomington-Normal’s family-centered attractions, and it’s only a 45-minute drive from the Gibson City center. Take the family for a day of fun and exploration where you can see the zoo’s animal habitats including reptiles, big cats, primates, and aquatic species. Grab a snack and beverage at the concession stand and learn about native and exotic species. Miller Park Zoo also hosts events throughout the year, and you can reserve special visits for birthday parties and other group events.
Adults and kids of all ages will have a blast at Upper Limits Indoor Rock Climb. Another one of Bloomington area’s many family activities, Upper Limits has rock walls for all skill levels and difficulties. Schedule a lesson and day of climbing to learn the basics or bring your own gear and spend the afternoon getting a good workout in. Professionally-trained and licensed staff are available to guide small children through age-appropriate climbing gyms, play areas, and more.
The Forest Glen Preserve in Danville is a little over an hour away from Gibson City and is perfect for getting the kids outdoors. Forest Glen hosts four of Illinois’s nature preserves, and you can explore each one through the various hiking and biking trails the park features. You can also rent open shelters and closed lodges for the day for group events and birthdays, and you can take a canoeing trip on the Vermillion River after a hike along the trails. Learn about the range of tree species that call the park home, and watch for wildlife including birds, squirrels, and deer.
Kennekuk County Park in Danville is part of the Vermilion County Conservation District and has many fun nature-bound activities for the whole family. Kennekuk sits adjacent to the Forest Glen Preserve and is home to Lake Mingo, a 170-acre lake where you can canoe, fish, and let the kids splash around. When you stop in Kennekuk’s visitor center, take the kids back in time with the facility’s natural history museum and Native American displays. You can also enjoy the center’s 1,000-gallon aquarium, where the kids can watch the colorful fish and other aquatic species.
Explore the arts at the Art Institute of Chicago, just under two hours from Gibson City. The Institute offers live events, on-going art exhibitions from many eras, and tons of opportunities for kids of all ages to explore creativity and visual art. You’ll find exhibits from Medieval Europe, modern contemporary artists, and sculptures from all periods. The Art Institute also offers numerous resources for kids and teenagers studying art, and you can also attend classes related to different art topics throughout the year.
If you’re up for family fun and adventure, you can head to Haunted Trails Family Amusement Park in Burbank, about an hour and 45 minutes from Gibson City. You’ll find the amusement park’s seasonal attractions including laser tag, raceway go-karts, kiddies go-karts, miniature golf, and batting cages. Ride the Crazy Cabs or Miner Mike’s Rollercoaster for an exhilarating experience, or let the kids win prizes in the indoor arcade. Grab a meal in Haunted Trails’ restaurant, where you’ll find a full menu of classics like burgers, wraps, and kids’ specials.
Family Fun Zone is a family-owned activity center in Crest Hill, Illinois, about an hour and 40 minutes away from Gibson City. The Zone’s main attraction is its skating rink, where you can rent or wear your own skates. They also host laser tag and an arcade for extra entertainment, and you can grab a bite to eat from the snack bar. Be sure to check them out for their annual and holiday events, birthday parties, and other group events.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is the perfect afternoon attraction for giving children and teens a look into some of the nation’s most important historical artifacts. Explore Lincoln’s story through the museum and library of genealogical records and historical documents. The center also hosts special events, themed exhibits focusing on American history, and tons of learning opportunities for kids of all ages.
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With so many activities in the Gibson City area, there’s plenty more you can find. Visit us at Hustedt Jewelers or send us an email and let us know about other attractions, events, and other family activities in Gibson City and surrounding areas so we can add them to our list!