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Parent’s Night Out in Champaign-Urbana

If your idea of a fun night out on the town is limited to pizza at the arcade or ice cream at the McDonald’s Playland (where hand sanitizer should come with every Happy Meal), it might be time for some good, old-fashioned, grownup fun.

What parent doesn’t want to go out every once in awhile and see a movie that isn’t G-rated and animated or go out to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t offer crayons with their menus?

But as all of us moms and dads know, the key to having a date night, girl’s night, or parent’s night out is finding a good babysitter. And a good babysitter is hard to find (but not impossible).

Some parents may go so far as to say a good babysitter is like a unicorn or fairy- they are mythical creatures that really don’t exist. (Kind of like those infants we hear about who sleep through the night.)

The good news is you don’t have to wait until your children graduate from high school to have a night out with your spouse, friends or even all by yourself. There are many reputable organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that offer special events so you can go out on occasion and reclaim your social life – and the kids can have fun, too. 

You might feel a bit rusty at first but it’s kind of like riding a bike- you’ll quickly remember how to do it. Just try to recall your favorite pre-parenthood activity, whether it’s a quiet coffee date or singing karaoke at the local dive, and head out for a great night of (grown-up) fun! (See our list of 75 Date Night Ideas.)

The following organizations offer a Parents Night Out to anyone in the area.

In the interest of keeping this article timely, we did not include specific dates, just that the service exists; please follow up with each organization. Some organizations are more consistent than others when it comes to scheduling a Parents Night Out.

Costs vary for these nights; expect to pay about $30-$50 per child, some may offer a family rate for more than one.

Lodgic Kids Camp (1807 S. Neil Street, Champaign)
What: Lodgic Kids Camp
Who: For ages 1 through 12
When: This is choose-your-own-adventure kind of place, meaning that Lodgic provides flexible, drop-in childcare (once a child is registered). Lodgic Kids Camp is open Monday through Saturday, every night. Saturday nights often have themed activities.
Activities: Games, arts, crafts, free play, dinner.
Register: For more info on Lodgic Kids Camp, visit the Lodgic website. 

Champaign Park District
What: Parents Night Out 
Who: Grades K-5; also a Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation version for ages 5-22 with special ne
When:  TBD. When offered, have been 5 to 9 p.m.
Activities: Screen-free; gym fun and other activities. Dinner not provided, kids must bring a meal (means price is lower).
Register: When offered, online registration is available.
For more information, call 217-398-2571

I-Power School of Gymnastics (215 South Staley Road, Champaign)
What: Parent’s Night Out and Sleepover
Who: Ages 4 and up for Parent’s Night Out; 6 and up for sleepover option when available
When: Special events held sporadically throughout the year. Parents Night Out goes until 10 p.m.; sleepover pickup has been 9 a.m. when available.
Activities: Supervised gymnastic activities, games, movie, pizza. Also: Sleepover option!
For more information, call 359-FLIP.

Stephens Family YMCA  (2501 Fields South Drive, Cdhampaign)
What: Y Nights
Who: For ages 6-12
When: Typically offered one Saturday night per month.  Time: 6:15-10 p.m.
Activities: Games, arts, crafts, movie, swimming, dinner.
Register: When offered, online registration is available
For more information, call 217-359-9622.

Champaign Gymnastics Academy   (219 South Mattis Avenue in Champaign)
What: Movie Night
Who: For ages 3 and up (must be bathroom independent)
When: TBD, none scheduled at this time. Subscribe to the CGA emails to get info about upcoming events.
Activities: Supervised gym time, dinner, popcorn, and movie
For more information, call 217-398-4242

Orpheum Children’s Science Museum
What: Night at the Museum
Who: Kids ages 4-12
When: Typically offered one Saturday night per month. These events have been 5-8 p.m., which is nice for younger kids who have earlier bedtimes.
Activities: Science fun, museum play, dinner
Register: When offered, online registration is available.

Leaders for Life Martial Arts
What: Parents Night Out
Who: Ask for info on kids ages
When: Typically offered one Saturday night per month, from 6:30 pm to 10pm
Activities: Martial arts, themed activities
Register: When offered, online registration is available.

Does your organization have a Parents Night Out? Let us know. (Email