Playful Places on Campus

Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

The Fab Lab is an open and collaborative workshop space for computer-driven innovation, design and fabrication. We enable makers of all kinds to imagine, design and create using open source software and DIWO (do it with others!) methodologies. We do this by working with a local and international network to actively cultivate public engagement through community-focused art-entrepreneurship, research and education.

Location: 1301 South Goodwin Avenue, Art Annex 2, Urbana, IL 61801

Contact: (217) 265-5342,

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois

Krannert Art Museum’s collection of over ten thousand works of art represents the cultures of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum offers outstanding temporary exhibitions that are complemented by a full program of public lectures, music and dance performances, and film screenings. Krannert Art Museum’s Giertz Education Center serves educators by providing workshops and a free-loan collection of over 5000 art and cultural objects and instructional items.

Location: 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, Contact: 217-333-1861,

Siebel Center for Design

The new Siebel Center for Design is one component of a larger cross-campus, multidisciplinary effort to harness the potential of design thinking and design learning in our teaching, research and engagement. Through this effort, we will channel our students’ outstanding talents to develop expertise, passion and creativity toward issues and lives of consequence. Students from across campus and all fields of study will explore ideas and master skills through action—immersing, designing, making, doing. The mission of the Siebel Center for Design at the University of Illinois is to foster multidisciplinary collaborations across campus, using design thinking as an approach to promote human-centered design and mandated quick iterations. Construction is expected to be completed in Spring 2020.

The Spurlock Museum

The Spurlock Museum represents cultures of historic and contemporary peoples from around the world. Our permanent and temporary exhibits help interpret the diversity of cultures, and serve as a springboard for unique programs, tours, and special events.

Location: 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL 61801, Contact: 217-333-2360,

UIUC Undergraduate Library Gaming Collection

This collection includes video games, board games, consoles, and research materials to support gaming-related teaching, research, creation, and co-curricular activities on campus. Contact David Ward ( for more information.

CU Playful Organizations

CUDO Plays

An Illinois-local board game design competition hosted by the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization that brings together gamers, makers, and designers to bring their game ideas to reality!  CUDO Plays follows each team’s progress, assisting and supporting them as needed. The competition offers workshops led by industry experts, highlights community resources, and hosts public playtests and a Grand Exhibition at the end of the competition.

CUBED: Champaign-Urbana Board Game Engineers and Designers

A group of tabletop game designers, publishers, and playtesters in the East Central Illinois area. Who emphasize creation, collaboration, and execution of quality board and card games. They meet regularly twice a month: Discussion/special topics meetings on the first Monday of every month. Open playtesting meetings on the third Sunday of every month.

Chambanavoy Gamers

A Meetup Group created to foster a gaming environment in the Champaign/Urbana/Savoy area. Meeting periodically at various establishments to play games such as Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride and many others. The group is designed so that adults can meet other adults to forge new friendships amongst the battlefields of board games!

Other Gaming Groups

There are many gaming groups in the CU community both on campus and off. Please send details of your organization if you’d like to be added here to Playful by Design,

CU Escape Rooms

Brainstorm Escapes

Brainstorm Escapes is an Escape Room business that offers immersive and exciting escape rooms, each with their own unique theme. Their experiences  encourage participants to work together in a high pressure situations by using their wits, intuition, and logic. It’s great for building communication and teamwork, or just having fun!

CU Adventures in Time & Space

CU Adventures in Time & Space is a real-life escape room game for friends, family, and coworkers. Teams of 2-10 players have 60 minutes to find clues, complete puzzles, discover secret doors, and solve a greater mystery. Each game takes place in a different themed setting and time period. From dispelling evil spirits in a haunted cabin to foiling the plot of tyrannical wizard, the scenarios are designed to make players feel like they are living out a movie! We currently have five adventures: REVENGE OF THE CABIN, THE WIZARD’S CURSE, SWORD OF THE DRAGON, THE LOST TEMPLE, and ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, as well as the upcoming CALLING ALL VILLAINS. Each features a different set of challenges as players use observation, communication, and critical thinking to win! Tickets cost $25 per person, or $20 per person for students. Registered participants in the Symposium may use the code PLAY19, during the Symposium for 10% off through Saturday. Book now at!]!


LabEscape is the world’s first science-based escape room, located at Lincoln Square Mall. Agents can look forward to an exciting adventure with family, friends or coworkers (or enemies, for a REAL challenge!), trying to solve the mystery of the missing Professor Schrodenberg before time runs out. At the LabEscape project we are committed to creating an innovative escape game unlike any other. First and foremost, we want to provide a rewarding and thrilling experience that will leave participants fondly reminiscing long after they’ve left. We also want to show that science can be amazing, useful, beautiful, and yes, even fun! We’ve created a series of jaw-dropping puzzles based on various science phenomena. You will literally see an object disappear before your eyes—no CGI tricks here! We have Escapes every evening and all weekend, and we’re only $15/student, $20/non-student (we’re non-profit). Book anytime in April (or buy a gift certificate, good anytime) using the code PlayfulDesign30 for a 30% discount.  So grab several of your friends (4-6 Agents, age 12-and over, including at least one adult), and plan your escape today, at

CU Playful Businesses

Enchantment Alley

A one-stop geek superstore in Urbana where you can purchase memorabilia from your favorite movie or card game as well as stay and play in their event center.

Dr G’s Brainworks

Puzzle and Game store located in the  Market place Mall in Champaign. This store is divided into sections based on cognitive benefits. Games that promote Critical Thinking are grouped together, as well as games promoting Language, Sensory & Perception Skills, Early Childhood Development, Science & Engineering, and much more. Dr. G’s also hosts community events like Chessworks.

G-Mart Comics

For over 20 years, G-Mart has been the best place to buy comics in Champaign, hidden in the heart of downtown. This shop hosts a variety of gaming meetups and events and they have begun selling gaming items such as magic the gathering cards. T

Gopher Mafia Games

A card game and board game store in Urbana specializing in miniature games like War Hammer and card games like Magic the Gathering with a collection of current boardgames for sale.  Open gaming on Sundays hosted by CUBED: Champaign-Urbana Boardgame Engineers and Designers.

Titan Games

A card game and board game store in Champaign with a large collection of current board games for sale. Titan Games also hosts Magic the Gathering drafts and local RPG groups.  Open gaming on Wednesdays features a well-stocked “free to play” pile of games and knowledgeable staff are available and willing to demo any games they have on the shelves.

CU Museums & Libraries 

Champaign Public Library

The Library has Fab Lab equipment and programming available in their Teen Space many days after school.

Location: 200 W Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820.

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Champaign County Forest Preserve District

The Homer Lake Interpretive Center features a variety of exhibits, live animals and a wildlife viewing area. We also offer programs and activities throughout the year. Connect with family and friends as you follow the paved trail to the overlook tower, enjoy picnic areas around peaceful Homer Lake, and explore over 10 miles of trails. During your visit be sure to stop by the Natural Playscape, where you can explore the stream, logs, boulders, and more!

Location: 2573 Homer Lake Road, Homer, IL 61849, Contact: 217-896-2455,

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Champaign County Forest Preserve District

Explore the cultural and natural history of East Central Illinois! Learn about glaciers and mammoths, discover daily life in the 19th century, try on a Civil War uniform and shake Abraham Lincoln’s hand. Play in the Discovery Room, or shop at the Museum Store. The Museum of the Grand Prairie has fascinating exhibits and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Free programs every Monday throughout the summer. For a full program schedule consult our webpage.

Location: Illinois Route 47 North, Mahomet, 61853

Contact: 217-586-2612,

Oakwood Public Library

Oakwood library has a small mini fab lab (3D printers, silhouette cutters, soldering irons, digital embroidery, small electronics) sponsored by UI Extension and 4-H. They run programming once a month on Saturdays and can facilitate some walk-in activities on a daily basis.

Location: 110 E Finley, Oakwood, IL 61858

Orpheum Children’s Science Museum

The 1914 Orpheum Theatre is home to Champaign-Urbana’s only children’s science museum. Live exhibits (a snake, tarantula, turtles, bearded dragons, moon crabs and two species of cockroaches), a water flume, Vet Clinic, and more create exciting hands-on fun. A Dino Dig, giant bubbles, Archaeology Field Station, Butterfly Garden, and playhouse offer outdoor discoveries (open late spring-early fall). At the Museum, children explore science informally at their own pace. We have wonderful weekly programs, special events, summer camps, and clubs. Check our website and social media pages for more information! Call if you’re interested in birthday parties, field trips, visits for groups of 10-40, or even renting our theatre space for a special occasion.

Location: 346 N. Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820

Contact: 217-352-5895,

The Urbana Free Library

The Urbana Library hosts Teen Open Lab most Tue/Wed/Thu – 3 to 5:30 pm.

Location: 210 W Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801

Urbana Neighborhood Connection Center

UNCC has scheduled Fab Lab workshop programming and digital media production tools for eligible enrolled youth. UNCC operates most Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri – 3 to 5:30 pm.

Location:Hartle and E Main Street, Urbana, IL 61801