8 Things to Do in Bloomington, IL

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You don’t need to look too far for an escape from the city. A little over 2 hours away in the heart of Illinois is Bloomington, a city chock-full of activities and attractions. We made a list of eight of the best things to do in Bloomington for when you need a little day trip getaway.

Itching for some outdoor rec? Check out our guide of snow hikes in and around the city.

David Davis Mansion

1000 Monroe Dr, Bloomington, IL 61701

Tour the three-story Victorian-era home of Lincoln’s mentor and campaign manager David Davis. Davis was a Supreme Court justice and senator from Illinois who was significant in 19th-century American history. The David Davis Mansion, also called Clover Lawn, has been a state museum since 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The full tour brings you through 35 different rooms, where you’ll go on an educational journey through the social and cultural history of the Old West from the 1850s to the 1880s. You’ll learn about the family, Victorian architecture, servant life, domestic life, and the start of the Industrial Age.

The estate also features the prized garden of Davis’ wife Sarah Davis. Nearly a century and a half old, Sarah’s Garden was inspired by the Italian gardens of the 17th century and English gardens of the 18th century.

Miller Park Zoo

1020 S Morris Ave, Bloomington, IL 61701

Miller Park Zoo has exhibits and experiences for the whole family. Learn about animals around the world with large exhibits like a Tropical America Rainforest, Wallaby WalkAbout, Children’s Zoo, and Animals of Asia. Other highlights include the Sumatran tiger, greater flamingos, river otters, red pandas, pythons, Galapagos tortoises, bald eagles, and snow leopards.

Around the zoo, you’ll also find war memorials, a splash pad in the summer, mini golf course, multiple walking trails, and a lake where you can rent paddle boats.

McLean County Museum of History

200 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701

History buffs will appreciate the extensive exhibits of the McLean County Museum of History. The four-story museum is housed in the old McLean County Courthouse, already a historical place.

Exhibits give you a look into the political, military, commercial, and industrial histories of McLean County as well as immigration and Native American heritage. You’ll also explore Lincoln’s work as an attorney in the county and his role in the anti-slavery movement. More than 20,000 historical items, including rare books and historical papers, are on display at the museum.

The AAM-accredited institution is also located near historic buildings like the Miller Davis Building. Outside the museum, you can find a pensive top hat-off Abraham Lincoln statue sitting on a bench. The “Lincoln Bench” by sculptor Rick Harney is just another indication of the impact Lincoln made with the community.

Constitution Trail

Bloomington-Normal’s Constitution Trail is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a change of scenery. Whether you want a more scenic and uninterrupted running route or just a chill meditative stroll, the 50+ miles of trail will satisfy your needs. 

The multi-use trail is part of an abandoned Illinois Central Gulf Railroad corridor between Bloomington and Normal. There are 32 trailheads and seven different branches to explore. It also links to the historic Route 66 Trail. Along the trail, you can find historical sites including the Camelback Bridge in Normal.

Iron Coyote Challenge Park

4113 Oakland Ave, Bloomington, IL 61704

Hardcore parkour! Challenge yourself and have fun at the same time at Iron Coyote Challenge Park. Great for all ages, the challenge park has about 20,000 sq ft of adventure space. 

It’s a mix of fun and fitness with over 35 elements, including high ropes, harnessed climbing walls, and a 60 ft zip line. If you’re into obstacle courses or vying to be the next American Ninja Warrior, there are four courses to tackle.

Iron Coyote also has a full-service cafe overlooking the park and party rooms for private events.

Altitude Trampoline Park

1702 General Electric Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704

The trampoline park chain has plenty of fun activities for team building, family bonding, or just a downright good time. Get pumped for high-energy and exciting entertainment with challenges like extreme dodgeball, battle beams, basketball dunk lanes, and more over the 23,000 sq ft of space. 

There’s also trampolines, monkey bars, and foam pits. If you ever watched Wipeout or similar challenge game shows, you can try Altitude’s log rolling pin and Wipeout.

Prairie Aviation Museum

2929 E Empire St, Bloomington, IL 61704

Close to the Central Illinois Regional Airport, the Prairie Aviation Museum displays a fleet of varied restored civilian and military aircraft. Most of the fleet is from the second half of the 20th century and includes nine aircraft and two helicopters on display. Highlights include a Huey UH-1, F-4 Phantom, and F-14 Tomcat. There’s also one piston and three jet engines.

There are also Open Cockpit Days when you can experience inside the aircraft cockpits and meet pilots and crew members.

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

600 N East St, Bloomington, IL 61701

From plays and stand-up comedy to classical music and pop concerts, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts has a wide range of entertainment. The center hosts over 500 events throughout the year and seats 1,200 in the auditorium. Check out the roster of upcoming events.

The center also offers educational arts programs, including classes, lectures, and seminars.

Featured Image Credit: Iron Coyote Challenge Park

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