14 Best Places and Things To Do in Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois, is a charming city located in the heart of the state. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty, Decatur offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s heritage, immersing yourself in nature, or indulging in local cuisine, Decatur has something for everyone.

1. Scovill Zoo

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Scovill Park, Scovill Zoo is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. This family-friendly zoo is home to over 100 species of animals, including lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, and more. You can stroll through the beautiful grounds, interact with friendly animals, and even take part in educational programs and events.

2. Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center

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Rock Springs Conservation Area is a haven of tranquility. This expansive park offers scenic trails, picturesque landscapes, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking amidst the natural beauty. The park also features an interpretive center, where you can learn about the area’s geology, flora, and fauna.

3. Hieronymus Mueller Museum

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Decatur has a rich industrial history, and the Hieronymus Mueller Museum showcases the legacy of one of its most prominent companies. The museum pays tribute to Hieronymus Mueller, who revolutionized the plumbing industry with his patented inventions. You can explore exhibits displaying historic artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that highlight the impact of Mueller Co. on the city’s development.

4. Children’s Museum of Illinois

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Perfect for families with young children, the Children’s Museum of Illinois provides an interactive and educational experience. The museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits, including a construction zone, a grocery store, a veterinary clinic, and a science lab. Kids can engage in imaginative play and discover new concepts through fun activities.

5. Macon County History Museum

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Delve into the history of Decatur and Macon County at the Macon County History Museum. Housed in a former school building, the museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that trace the region’s past.

6. James Millikin Homestead

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The James Millikin Homestead is a historic site located in Decatur, Illinois, and holds great significance in the city’s history. The homestead is the former residence of James Millikin, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who played a pivotal role in the development of Decatur.

7. Staley Museum

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The Staley Museum is another significant historical attraction in Decatur, Illinois. The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, which played a vital role in the city’s industrial history and economic growth. The A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, founded by Augustus Eugene Staley in 1898, was a leading producer of corn-based products, including starches, sweeteners, and food additives.

8. Transfer House

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The Transfer House is a significant historical landmark in Decatur, Illinois. Situated in Central Park, it holds both historical and architectural importance and serves as a symbol of the city’s transportation heritage. The Transfer House was constructed in 1896 as a transportation hub where different streetcar lines converged.

9. Overlook Adventure Park

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Overlook Adventure Park is an exciting recreational destination in Decatur, Illinois, offering a range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Located near Nelson Park, the park provides a fun-filled experience with various outdoor adventures. Overlook Adventure Park is the aerial ropes course. The ropes course features multiple levels of challenges, including rope bridges, balance beams, and zip lines. It provides a thrilling experience as visitors navigate through the course while being securely harnessed.

10. Hickory Point Golf Course

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Hickory Point Golf Course is a premier golf facility located in Forsyth, just a short drive from Decatur, Illinois. Known for its well-manicured greens, challenging layout, and beautiful surroundings, Hickory Point Golf Course is a popular destination for golfers of all skill levels. The golf course features an 18-hole championship layout that spans over 6,900 yards. Designed by Roger Packard, the course offers a mix of scenic views, strategically placed bunkers, water hazards, and tree-lined fairways, providing both a challenging and enjoyable golfing experience.

11. Governor Richard J. Oglesby Mansion

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The Governor Richard J. Oglesby Mansion is a historical landmark located in Decatur, Illinois. Named after Richard James Oglesby, a prominent figure in Illinois politics and a three-time governor of the state, the mansion is a testament to the grandeur and architectural beauty of the 19th century. Governor Oglesby Mansion is a stunning example of Italianate architecture. It features intricate detailing, elegant proportions, and a distinct sense of opulence.

12. Lincoln Square Theater

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The Lincoln Square Theater, also known as the Lincoln Square Theatre, is a historic landmark located in downtown Decatur, Illinois. Built in 1916, it is one of the oldest operating theaters in the state and a significant cultural and architectural gem in the city. The Lincoln Square Theater has a rich history that dates back over a century. Designed in the Beaux-Arts architectural style, the theater features a striking facade with intricate detailing and a grand marquee that adds to its charm.

13. Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum

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Chevrolet Assembly Plant: The Chevrolet Assembly Plant in Decatur is a significant part of the city’s industrial history. Although the plant has gone through changes over the years, it has been a prominent manufacturing site for Chevrolet vehicles. While public tours might not be available, the plant’s presence showcases Decatur’s automotive heritage.

14. Red Tail Run Golf Club

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Red Tail Run Golf Club is a premier golf destination located in Decatur, Illinois. Nestled in the scenic landscapes of central Illinois, this 18-hole golf course offers an exceptional experience for golfers of all skill levels. The golf course at Red Tail Run is meticulously designed and well-maintained. It offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers. The layout features a variety of hole designs, including strategic bunkering, undulating fairways, and beautifully manicured greens. The course provides a mix of scenic views and natural surroundings, making each round an enjoyable journey.

Decatur, Illinois, may be a smaller city, but it offers a wealth of attractions and activities that cater to a variety of interests. Whether you’re exploring its natural beauty, immersing yourself in its history and culture, or enjoying its vibrant festivals and events, Decatur provides a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.