10 Best Things To Do In Decatur, Illinois

things to do in decatur illinois
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Decatur is the largest city in this area of Illinois and is famous for being the first home of President Abraham Lincoln who settled in Decatur in 1820 at the age of just 21. The city’s symbol is the Transfer House, an early 20th-century Victorian structure in the center of town. Visitors of this city will find plenty of attractions as well as accommodation options, including Airbnb vacation rentals. Planning a vacation here soon? Here are some of the best things to do in the area!

1. Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum

The Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum is the perfect day out for car enthusiasts. First opened in 2009, the museum has gone on to acquire a large collection of American-made cars from Chevrolet. The display shows Chevrolet’s finest cars and memorabilia dating as far back as the 1920’s till today. There is an array of cars for all enthusiasts including show cars, race cars, and Indianapolis Pace cars. The museum holds over 55 vehicles with most being placed into the museum shortly after a race. This museum is great for all ages and particularly Chevrolet fanatics.

Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum

Address: 3635 US-36, Decatur, IL 62521, USA

Website: Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum

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2. Children's Museum of Illinois

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Children's Museum of Illinois on Friday, November 13, 2020

Keeping children entertained on holidays can be a struggle. Children’s Museum of Illinois encourages educational play as well as entertains little ones. The museum is designed to be an interactive experience for all ages, complete with an array of programs and classes to cater to their specific interests. Tailored for children of the ages 2 to 13, the museum strives to enahnace knowledge in arts and sciences.

Children's Museum of Illinois

Address: 55 South Country Club Road, Decatur, IL

Website: Children’s Museum of Illinois

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3. Scovill Zoo

Scovill Zoo
Source: Photo by Flickr user evan courtney used under CC BY 2.0

Zoo days are always a great family activity. Scovill Zoo is fantastic for all ages and is a great day out. This year celebrates the park’s 50th anniversary, with extra special exhibits for visitors to explore.

For those who want an extra special day, classes for little animals are on offer for just 16 USD. The animal adventure, which is aimed at 3 to 5-year-olds with an accompanying adult gets families involved in hands-on activities, short stories, and allows you to connect with some creatures. All attendees get to take home their own animal zoo plushy.

Scovill Zoo

Address: 71 S. Country Club Rd.Decatur, IL 62521

Website: Scovill Zoo

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4. Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Hieronymus Mueller Museum on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Hieronymus Muller Museum celebrates the wonderful life of the entrepreneur Hieronymus Mueller, a pioneer immigrant from Germany. Founded in 1995 by the Hieronymus Mueller Family Foundation, the collection houses artifacts and memorabilia. The state-of-the-art facility is to not only preserve the collection but educate visitors on the historically significant collection.

The entrepreneur founded several businesses that still exist today; in particular, the water pressure valves. The admission to the museum at just 2.00 USD for adults and 1.50 USD for those under 17 makes it a cheap and cheerful way to spend an afternoon.

Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Address: 420 W Eldorado St, Decatur, IL 62522, USA

Website: Hieronymus Mueller Museum

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5. Lake Decatur

Decatur Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user The Bushranger used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take the time to relax and try something different, like fishing at the a popular Lake Decatur. Whether a beginner or an expert, this lake is popular due to its population of catfish. Family trips are encouraged, particularly those with small children, since they believe it teaches key skills in life such as patience. Top tips for family fishing is to begin the trip in the early morning, which means more success due to the temperature. The cooler the temperature, the better the chance to catch a fish. Beginners are suggested to start from the docks, providing enough room to teach children how to set up the hooks for worms and how to cast. Smaller fish hang around docks, which can be seen to observe how to lure the fish.

Lake Decatur

Address: 200 Nelson Blvd.Decatur IL 62521

Website: Lake Decatur

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6. Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center

Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center is the ideal place to let little ones run free along the nature trails. It is a great family place to also take dogs. The big oak loop trail is a popular trail for those taking dogs due to the well-maintained path ways that are also popular with cyclists.

Rock Springs offers an indoor museum should you need to get away from the heat and the sun for a short while. The museum has interactive exhibits and activities to keep little ones entertained and educated.

Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center

Address: 3939 Nearing Ln, Decatur, IL 62521, USA

Website: Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center

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7. Sand Creek Conservation Area

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This gorgeous conservation area is well known for its hiking and horse trails. Sand Creek is a 755 acre (305.5 hectare) area with plenty of forests and open prairie, creating natural habitats that are home to wildlife. Sand Creek Conservation Area is part of the historic and well known Paris-Springfield road. These popular roads were used by many well-known historical figures including Abraham Lincoln; trail signs around this part of the trail read “Mr. Lincoln’s Footsteps.”

Horse trails are popular with horse riders. The 7.6 miles (12.2 km) winds its way through the forest crossing through several parts of Sand Creek.

Sand Creek Conservation Area

Address: 944 E Elwin Rd, Decatur, IL 62521, USA

Website: Sand Creek Conservation Area

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8. Transfer House

Decatur, IL Transfer House in Central Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ander107 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This picture perfect building was built in Lincoln Square, and was meant to serve the City Electric Railway streetcars and Illinois Traction. System interurban trains. The house served as a shelter for those waiting for the trains. The transfer house still holds some artifacts from the era, which have been preserved by the city. The building has been recognized as a historic building and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Transfer House

Address: Decatur, IL 62523, USA

Website: Transfer House

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9. James Millikin Homestead

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The James Millikin Homestead is a Gothic-style home that looks a bit like a haunted house, but don’t be fooled. It was originally home to James and Anna Millikin, founders of the Millikin University, Millikin Bank, and Estate Trust. The home has been added to the National Register of Historic places; scheduled tours of the historic house are on offer regularly alongside custom tours for groups.

The size of the house is what draws visitors to tour. In particular, the grand hall is large and leads to the dramatic feature of the central staircase. It overlooks a stained glass window with giant bench, and the ceiling is decorated with a pink, gray and blue mural of cherubs.

James Millikin Homestead

Address: 125 N. Pine St. in Decatur, Illinois

Website: James Millikin Homestead

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10. Overlook Adventure Park

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Overlook Adventure Park on Monday, April 2, 2018

The Overlook Adventure Park is the best way to keep everyone of all ages entertained. The adventure park is full of adventure with plenty to see and do. It is full of varying activities, likes rounds of mini golf.

For those who are more daring, try the ropes course, which is the only course of its kind in the area. The course places climbers 25 feet (7.6 m) above the ground. You’ll climb around through the 33 challenges including tightropes, balancing on rickety bridges, balance beams, and end by flying 68 feet (20.7 m) down the zip line! The park caters to younger visitors with 9 obstacle courses.

Overlook Adventure Park

Address: 2501 E. Nelson Park Rd.

Website: Overlook Adventure Park

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Head to Decatur

Merchant St, downtown Decatur IL, July 2013
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Redline2200 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Decatur, Illinois has an array of interesting things to see and do, catering to specialist topics for enthusiasts be it cars, fishing, or horse riding. It’s also great for beginners to get stuck into something new and try a new hobby whilst on holiday.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Kirsty is based in the U.K's countryside, she loves travelling although she loves culture and exploring new places to visit. Her heart and favorite place will always be Disneyland. In her spare...Read more

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