Parks and Rec: On the Go

With reimagined programming, the state’s largest park district gears up for the post-COVID era.

by Emily Cahill, Peoria Park District
Walking in the woods
The Peoria Park District is proud to have served our community in unique ways during the pandemic.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When the world gives you a global pandemic, you reimagine yourself to be more flexible and impactful… and hopefully, you change for the better!

As the Peoria Park District welcomes spring this year, we do so with a renewed sense of who and what we are in our community. When the pandemic forced us to shelter in place last spring, we were able to keep our parks and trails open, serving as a respite for many who needed a break from screen time and Zoom squares. Record numbers of people safely came outside and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine, with more leisure time than they were used to—and they loved it!

We know, however, that our lives are starting to get busy again, and people will go back to what they know. That makes it essential that we figure out the best parts of what we were able to share during 2020, and blend it with the best ideas to serve when life is busy. As the flowers bloom and restrictions loosen even further (hopefully), here’s what we have planned. I hope you’ll let us know how we do!

  • Our parks and trails will remain open. Public restrooms will reopen this spring. We look forward to continuing to be a valued resource for the community. Please note: for those of you who discovered a love for hiking, we hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of our Hundred Mile Hiker Club and find encouragement and celebration.
     
  • Our golf courses are ready for play, with prices remaining unchanged from 2020. We saw new players and families last year, and we want to continue to encourage and support family time reimagined. If you have a young golfer at home, did you know the District offers junior season passes for just $1?
     
  • Peoria Zoo’s animals can’t wait to see you! They’ve been “lion” in wait and look forward to “takin” with you… The Zoo’s indoor exhibits will also reopen soon.
     
  • Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum will soon reopen its doors. The facility has been able to virtually encourage exploration and innovation since it closed last March, but the time is coming to reopen its physical doors as well, and we’re over the moon! Beginning in late May, visitors will be able to sign up in advance for play shifts in the museum. Limited capacity and stringent safety and cleaning protocols are in place to keep our kiddos and staff safe as we get back to playing again.
     
  • Camps and sports are coming back in 2021 with continued emphasis on safety and fun.
     
  • New for 2021: Movies in the Park, mobile recreation, and Parks on Tap are coming to a park near you this summer. With the goal of being more flexible and impactful, our staff has been hard at work reimagining programming to reach more people with all the District has to offer. Instead of gathering large crowds of people in one centralized location (which was our foundation pre-COVID), the District is working to bring programming to the people where they are. Neighborhood parks will become home to movies, programming and a traveling taphouse. A final calendar is coming soon, and we can’t wait to see you in your neck of the woods!

The Peoria Park District offers many activities

The Peoria Park District is proud to have served our community in unique ways during the pandemic—but we can’t wait to get back to spending time with all of you as we work to find our new normal. We think that being on the go has never been more fun—especially now that we can appreciate how awesome it is, and go on our own terms!

Go play, go run, go learn, just go. There’s always more to explore when you’re on the go with the Peoria Park District. To learn about our current programming and offerings, visit PeoriaParks.org today! PM

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