Getting to Know the Different Sides to Normal, IL, on a Bus Trip
Take our Bus to Normal’s Tourist Attractions, Historical Sites and Recreational Facilities
The city had its humble start in 1854 as North Bloomington when it was founded by Joseph Parkinson and designed by Jesse W. Fell. Along with its founding came the creation of Chicago Alton Railroad; later, it was renamed Normal after the former Illinois Normal University in 1865. When mentioned together with Bloomington, they are figuratively referred to as ‘Twin Cities’, hence, whenever you visit Normal, Bloomington will eventually come into the picture. Normal has gone on to win a variety of awards which includes Bronze Bicycle-Friendly community, Mayor’s Climate Protection Awards, Tree Cities USA Community Award and National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.
The city boasts of many fun and entertaining attractions like the countless restaurants and shops in Uptown Normal, Children’s Discovery Museum, Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Normal Theater and Atr Deco, just to name a few. You can also celebrate a birthday, anniversary, have a bachelor or bachelorette party at Stave Wine Bar and Market, cheer on a Redbird game at The Redbird Arena, learn up about the region’s history at David Davis Mansion State Historic Site and have a field trip learning about all the different types of cheese at Ropp Jersey Cheese Farm.
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Fun Things to do when you are Visiting a City Like Normal, IL
Normal is the kind of fun and charming city that is suitable for people from all walks of life. You can bring the charter bus to educational historical points of interest, go shopping in a local market or head out to the parks for field trips. Read on to find out more about these fun attractions.
- Entertainment & Amusement Parks — Kids learn through play the best and if you are a teacher trying to find a place to have a field trip, you’re in luck because Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal is one of the best museums of its kind in the region. It has a very complete and creative art studio, an ever-evolving innovation station and also permanent and touring exhibits. The exhibits are thought out by children and they are are suitable for toddlers right through to pre-teens.
- Art & Culture — Normal Theater is an old theater that continues to provide countless hours of fun to residents and visitors alike. Said to be Americana at its best, we reckon that foreign visitors will take a trip down memory lane and learn about what it was like to catch a movie in this historic theater decades ago. Located a short distance from the Illinois State University is the University Galleries in the mintly new Uptown area of Normal. The art gallery is a place to showcase some inspiring works of art from students, aspiring artists as well as famous artists from all around the state. The touring exhibits are what keeps each visit a refreshing experience for returning visitors so, check the official website for a schedule if you have been to this wonderful gallery before.
- Restaurant & Shopping — Stave Wine Bar and Market is where you would want to be if you love learning about local wine and craft beer. Bring the charter bus to this wonderful, friendly and cosy attraction and take your pick from a good selection of wine and beer. Visitors are taken on a tour, get to learn about the wine and beer making process and also, at the end of the day, sample the wine and purchase some if you find them delicious. Sometimes the best type of shopping experience means getting off the bus and shop at locally and family-run businesses and for Normal, this can be done at the Shoppes at College Hills. There are lots of places that sells seasonal products as well as a healthy number of places to eat, have a massage, do some people-watching at a coffee outlet or make friends with the locals on the ground instead of shopping in a mall. But if it is a mall you prefer, bring the charter bus around to Eastland Mall in downtown Bloomington instead.
- Golf Courses & Sports Venues – The name The Corn Crib could be misleading but this wonderful sports venue is where you can catch soccer and minor league baseball games. Take advantage of the nice, comfy seatings, great view and ample concession stands during your visit. If there isn’t a game on, it is fine to just take a tour around the venue. The Redbird Arena was built in 1989 next to ISU’s Hancock Stadium as a home to Illinois’s Redbird’s basketball team. However, over the years, there are volleyball tournaments held at this arena too and visitors have come to love the up-close-and-personal feel whenever they catch a game at this stadium because of its low-ceiling design and it can seat more than 10,000 people at each game and each game draws fans from surrounding communities like Galesburg, Taylorville, Teutopolis and Morton. When there isn’t a sporting event being held at Bloomington’s U.S. Cellular Colliseum, there are fun, family-friendly community events held on its grounds. Sometimes there is an ice-skating show and other times, a dance performance. Find out more on this attraction’s official website before heading over.
- Historical Sites & Landmarks — If you like historic homes, history or architecture, bringing the charter bus to David Davis Mansion State Historic Site is a must. Extensive effort had been put into restoring this historic site to its former glory; it displays exhibits related to social and historical changes that has been made to the city and the state of Illinois, especially the country’s Civil War era. You will also get easy access to another historical attraction in Bloomington - McLean County Museum of History. Housed in an old courthouse, visitors are treated to a whole host of historical artifacts, jail cell, take a selfie at a mock mug shot area while taking a tour to learn about the region’s and country’s history. Other recommended historical sites includes the Prairie Aviation Museum, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and the Adlai E. Stevenson II Memorial Statue.
- Parks & Outdoor Activities — Rader Family Fun is a cool outdoor attraction for children to have a good time picking pumpkins but that is not where it ends. Children and adults alike will get to enter and figure out a huge corn maze, have hay rides, bug ride, do some rope-climbing, challenge each other to a giant tubes race and also feed animals like goats and other friendly farm animals. If you’ve never really made some fresh cheese before, maybe it is time to hop onto the bus and head out to Ropp Jersey Cheese Farm for the experience of your life. Many tourists who are on roadtrips would make quick stops at this farm to learn how to make cheese curds and the staff would often provide patrons with delicious scoops of ice-cream to complete the trip. A visit to Constitution Trail can be romantic, fun, family-friendly and healthy all at the same time. There is a nice number of places to sit down for a romantic date, have a social gathering or picnic, do some people-watching or hike around its trail.
- Zoos & Aquariums — Miller Park Zoo is an amazing place to bring school children for field trips. The zoo is run by passionate people who care a lot for the animals and more are always being added to the exhibits, including endangered animals from all around the world. There are unique events held all year round, like Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving and special themed holidays.
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