When traveling with my kids I always try to find something that is going to be fun but also to find something that is going to be educational. As a parent I strive to always challenge my kids so they grow and learn something new each day. While traveling through Illinois we stopped in Champaign and I was pleased to find the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. As a science buff I am always trying to teach them about technology and how things work. Orpheum was the perfect place to do this. We got into town on a Monday but had to wait till Tuesdays to go because they are closed on Mondays but open the rest of the work week from 10-4pm and from 1-5 on the weekends. I got in for just $4 and my kids got in for $3 a piece which was great because I’m not loaded. We arrived early and spent the entire day enjoying the many exhibits that were open. Among one of my kids favorite exhibits was the Critter Corner, this mini zoo like area is a great place to learn about reptiles, turtles, insects, and spiders. There is a family of Australian Bearded Dragons named uniquely as Pete, Papa Pete, and Li’l Pete. You can see windy the Box turtle or even Galatea the Rose haired Tarantula. There is also an impressive colony of Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches. These guys are usually quite but sometimes hiss as gusts walking by. Orpheum has other great exhibits and the Critter Corner is not their most popular just one of my kids favorite, check it out for yourself anytime.
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One of my favorite parts of traveling is finding great local cosine. There is nothing better to eat in the north east then great pizza. I could eat it every meal for a week and would still want it again. In Champaign there is two really great places to get pizza one location is “At the Crossing” and the other is the Restaurant and Tavern. Each location serves up the same food and is absolutely delicious. The place goes by Papa Dels. Papa Dels has been over for a really long time, while I was there I ran into a man who ate Papa Dels while in college 25 years ago. He said over the last 25 years Papa Dels has been constantly the best Pizza in Illinois. While visiting Papa Dels we tried both his Sicilian pan pizza and the All American thin crust pizza. I have to say that I love Thin crust pizza but the Sicilian Pan pizza took the cake here. The thin crust covered in delicious cheese and by the recommendation of the longtime customer we got it covered with sausage. The sausage was in another league all its own it tasted as if it was just rolled. Papa Dels uses only the freshest of ingredients found locally and I think that’s why their pizza has lasted over the years, they get what they can from the local markets buying sausage from the butchers nearby. The Sicilian Pizza is fantastic but if you are hungry now be prepared to wait as the deep pizza can take 45 minutes to cook.