Coles County Community Events February 2020

Lake Charleston Trails

Visit Lake Charleston for hiking, biking, walking, running, bird watching, fishing. Five trails available, connect to Lakeview Park, Woodyard Park, and Lake Charleston for a relaxing walk, run, or ride! Bring the whole family or take a quiet walk with your Big/Little. Visit the Lake View Trails Charleston Illinois Facebook Page to get up-to-date info on the current trail maps and volunteer opportunities to help make these trails great for everyone! More info at

FREE Movies at the LifeSpan Center

Monday-Friday at 1 pm. Free popcorn and lemonade with movies. For list of movie titles, visit


Last Monday of every month, 4-6p.m. DHNC – Youth (Ages 7-15) – Free ( $10 joining fee)

Started in 2013, the Nature Nuts Kids Club manages the Pine Tree Trail area on the Douglas-Hart Nature Center property. Meetings are dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of nature. The club will sometimes host special events throughout the year to raise money for their projects, as well as assist Douglas-Hart Nature Center staff with festivals and programs. The club will also plan special outings for the group such as book store excursions, touring museums, and more. There is a $10 new member fee due at your first meeting and some special outings have additional fees associated with them. Visit

Story Time

Mondays from 4:30-5:00pm and Tuesdays from 10-11am at the Mattoon Library Kids Space for ages 3-7. Storytime includes a story, crafts, and music. Visit

Ninja Warrior Classes

Tuesdays/Monthly 5-6pm or 6-7pm. Wednesdays/monthly 5-6pm or 6-7pm at Phoenix Elite, 1101 N Loxa Rd, Mattoon. Ages 5-12. $50/month. Train like a Ninja Warrior at Phoenix Elite. Class includes strength and coordination training. Obstacles include two warped walls, cargo net, rope swing, spider wall, monkey bars hurdles, and more. More info: 217-345-6897

Teen/Adult Open Gym

November-April, 8-10pm Tuesdays, 3$/per person at Jefferson Elementary Gym- 106 9th street Charleston. Bring your own basketball and come play some different games with your pals. Watch the newspaper/Facebook for exact dates.

Story Time & Snuggles

Last Wednesday of every month at 10am at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Take your little ones to a relaxing morning read filled with crafts and play time. (teddy bears and stuffed animals are allowed) To register online, email or call the nature center at 217-235-4644. Visit  

Home-School Game Club

2nd Thursday of each month at The Mattoon Public Library, 2:30p.m.- 4:30p.m. located on the second floor-general for children. Visit

C.A.R.E. Club

3rd Thursday of every month, 4-6pm at Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Ages 12-17 – Free! Douglas-Hart Nature Center is looking for members for our new Caring for Animals with Respect and Education (C.A.R.E.) Club! C.A.R.E. Club members will learn basic care and handling skills for turtles, salamanders, rabbits, and more! Members who meet volunteer goals will earn a free t-shirt and become Certified Animal Handlers at DHNC. Visit

Budding Naturalist

First Friday of every month at 10am at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Take your little to a fun day of adventures while learning about nature and its inhabitants. 1$ per person. (All ages are welcome, but double check when registering). To register online, email or call the nature center at 217-235-4644.

Saturday Morning Story Series

First Saturday of every month, at the Lincoln Log Cabin visitor center. Saturday Stories feature the reading of a historically-themed children’s book, followed by activities and crafts which help to engage youngsters in history and bring the stories to life. The programs, geared towards ages 5-10, are free and open to the public. All youth must be accompanied by an adult.

Goat Yoga

9-10:30am, Saturdays, at Lincoln Log Cabin for ages 14-18yo, 15$/person/class. Special instructor Linda Ross will be teaming up with the Lincoln Log Cabin for teaching yoga to the community while being surrounded and sometimes under baby goats! Join them in a fun time and some stress release. Check out their Facebook for dates.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

2nd and 4th Saturday each month at AMC Theatre. AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Please check your local AMC theatre listings for specific show times, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

Creature Feature

3rd Saturday of every month, 10am-noon at Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Youth ages 7-12, $6/Non-Member, $4/Member. Feb. – Wild Weasels, Mar. – Cheers for Chickadees, Apr. – Hooray for Herps, May – Beetle Bash. Creature Feature is a monthly animal program for ages 7-12 with activities, crafts, books, and games. To kick-off our January Creature feature, we welcome ALL AGES to join us for a special LIVE RAPTOR SHOW hosted by the Illinois Raptor Center! Registration is strongly encouraged. Seating is limited.  Tickets are $7 per person or a max of $25 per family household. Member pricing is $5 per person or max o $20 per family household. Enjoy crafts, activities, and refreshments before and after the one hour show featuring owls and hawks! To purchase tickets to this show, click here:


Third Sat. of each month (Jan. – Mar.), 1 – 3p.m. DHNC – Family – $5/Family. Cabin fever gets the best of us during cold winter months, but come on out to Douglas-Hart Nature Center for the cure . . . creativity. Families will be able to “make what they can take” during these craft programs, while getting cozy with a cup of hot cocoa. Visit

Youth Open Gym

November-March, Noon-2pm (Sundays) for youth in 1st-12th grades at the CHS West Gym 1615 Lincoln Ave, Charleston. 3$ per person/ per session. (Closed Dec 22, Dec 29, Mar 15). Bring your own basketball and come let off steam playing games such as HORSE and Pick Up.

Make and Take

February 1st, 10:30 am -4:00pm, at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library in the KidSpace Atrium. This event is for kids. Kids under eight, please bring an adult to help. Drop in to make one, some, or all our crafts, then take them home with you! Visit

Teen Buttons

February 4, from 4:00pm-5pm, at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library. Teens in grades 7th-12th grade, create custom buttons to wear and share in the Zone. Limit of 2 buttons per student. Keep it clean, keep it kind! This is a free program and a library card is not needed to attend. Visit

Creative Kids

February 5th, 3:30pm- 4:30pm at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library. Creative Kids in grades 4th-6th, join us for Amber Polishing. Get your own piece of amber and polish it into whatever shape pleases you. Inclusions (plant or insect) are possible—just please don’t resurrect a dinosaur. First come, first serve while supplies last. No registration, no library card needed! See you there! This is a free program and is open to the community. Visit

Sweetheart Gift & Craft Show

February 7th-9th at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters GLO BINGO Fundraiser

February 7th at the Carriage House Event Center in Altamont. Doors open at 6pm, BINGO starts at 7pm. Must be 18 or older to attend. The event will include BINGO with cash prizes, music, cash bar, food for purchase and LOTS of FUN!!! Fee: $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Reserved seating available for purchase online, Tickets can also be picked up at the Effingham Dairy Queen or the Carriage House in Altamont or contact Christy by phone, 217-540-1413, or email, All proceeds will benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Effingham County program.

Daddy Daughter Dance

February 8, at 7:00 PM at the Charleston High School cafeteria. Dads and daughters- get ready for fun at the annual dance. Featuring Illinois Party Booth and WEIU TV & FM. Snacks and punch will be provided. Sign up early! The pre-registration deadline is the Thursday before at 5:00 pm!

Ages: 4+ with an adult

Pre-Registration fee: $25 per couple; $10 for additional child

Walk-up fee: $30 per couple; $10 for additional child

Register online at or stop by our office at 520 Jackson Ave.

For questions, call us at 217-345-6897.

EIU Jazz Festival

Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30 PM

Over 300 student musicians coming to EIU’s Jazz Festival

Special guest Andy Martin headlines EIU’s 59th Annual Jazz Festival

Eastern Illinois University is getting ready to host its Annual EIU Jazz Festival. Hundreds of high school and junior high age student musicians will converge on the Charleston campus to hear great jazz performances and sharpen their musical skills from an outstanding lineup of professional jazz players and educators.

Tickets for the opening concert $17 for general admission, $13 for seniors (62+), $7 for students, and can be purchased online at or at the Doudna Fine Arts Center Box Office. Box Office hours are Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and one hour prior to the scheduled performance.

The Doudna Fine Arts Center is located at 1860 South 7th Street in Charleston on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Convenient free parking is located near the fine arts center. For more information, visit the website To arrange accommodations for those needing special assistance, contact Doudna Fine Arts Patron Services at 217-581-3110 or

Feb. 9, 1 – 4p.m. & Sat., Feb. 15 9a.m. – 1p.m. at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center for Cadette scouts. Fee – $13 per scout.  Trained by the education team at the nature center who sees thousands of children every year, cadettes will receive first hand training. Plus, you will try your hand at babysitting during an event program at the Nature Center! To register, visit

Family Movie Angry Birds 2

February 11, 4pm – 6pm. Charleston Carnegie Public Library. Families, come and watch “The Angry Birds Movie 2” Rated PG, with us on the Big Screen in Rotary Room B at our Family Movie Afternoon. Feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks! Free program open to the public, no library card required. Kids under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Visit

Line Dancing

February 10th & 24th at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Visit

Teen Movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

February 13, 4:00pm – 6:30pm. Charleston Carnegie Public Library. Teens, come and watch “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (PG) on our big screen in Rotary Room B. Feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks! This free program is for teens ages 13-18. Visit

Hunter Education

February 14th 6-9pm, February 15th 8am-4pm, FREE, Ages 10 and up, must attend both days.  As of 3/1/14, any person over the age of 16 will not be issued a hunting license unless they take this course.  Children under the age of 16 may still hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult.  In order to hunt solo, persons under 16 must take and pass this course to obtain a hunting license and also have a valid FOID card.  Course topics include first aid, field safety, hunter responsibility, wildlife conservation & identification, basic archery & muzzle loading, wildlife management, firearms & ammunition, and state regulations.  Participants must attend both days to pass the class.  No personal guns allowed.  Charleston Gun Club, 5244 NCR 1400E, Charleston.  To register, call 217-345-6897 or visit

Kids Chess Club

February 15 and February 29, 10:00am-11:00am. At the Mattoon Public Library, the programming room. Kids Chess Club is an opportunity for kids grades 2 through 12 to come and play against other players of their own age or to learn the basics of the game. Visit

Bear Cub Scouts: Super Science

Feb. 17 (Presidents’ Day), 10a.m. – Noon at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center for Bear Cub Scouts. Fee- $5/scout. During this elective, scouts will become super scientists by asking scientific questions and completing experiments to answer those questions . . . or create new questions! Registration required. To register, visit

SOHO: School’s Out Hang Out:

Mon., Feb. 17, 10a.m. – 3p.m. at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center for youth ages 7-12 years. Fee – $12/Non-Member, $10/Member. Throughout history, many presidents have had pets like cats, dogs, alligators, elephants, hyenas . . . wait what?! Join us for a day of exploring and learning about the unusual past presidential pets through hands-on activities, games, and crafts! Please dress for indoor and outdoor play. Participants must bring a sack lunch. Registration required. Keep your child engaged and learning in one of our SOHO programs for the Mattoon/Charleston area. SOHO classes are scheduled on days school is out of session. If the program is a full day (10am-3pm), please send a sack lunch with as well. A household form MUST be on file before you can sign your child up for programs. Household forms are available in the Visitor Center or online at Online registration may close a few days prior to program. Please call, 235-4644, or email the Nature Center directly to check availability.

Teen Craftivity

February 18th, 4pm-5pm at Charleston Carnegie Public Library. Paint Pen Rock Painting is February’s Teen Craftivity. In the Zone for 7th-12thgrade. Grab a stone in whatever shape pleases you and using our fine-tipped paint pens, add as much detail as you like. First come, first serve while supplies last. No registration, no library card needed! See you there! This is a free program and is open to the community. Visit

Library Legos

February 20, 4pm – 5pm. Rotary Room A, Charleston Library. Grades K-8. Kids under eight, please bring a grownup. If you love Legos, join us as we build together, take on challenges, show off building skills, and just have fun. Visit


February 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the Wesley United Methodist Church located at 2206 4th Street, Charleston.

Polar Plunge

February 29th, 10:00 AM  at  Lake Sara. #LeapIntoLakeSara on Leap Dayand #BeBoldGetCold for Special Olympics Illinois – Region I! The 16th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge at Lake Sara in Effingham provides funding for the year-round Sports Competitions, Trainings, Healthy Athletes’ Initiatives, Family Fun Events, and Young Athletes programs in Region I, including Effingham and the surrounding counties. To register, visit For more information, call Vanessa at 217-345-2424 or email

Family Feuds Murder Mystery Dinner by Nature Nuts Kids Club

February 29 at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Fee- Family – $8/Child, $12/Adult. Doors open at 5:30p.m., Dinner begins at 6p.m. YOU’RE INVITED! The Nature Nuts Kids Club is hosting The Families of the Year Awards Dinner for iconic families from literature and television at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center. It is sure to be a Full House! Come meet the Flintstones and Jetsons, and many other ‘super’ families. Some of the families are creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky; they’re all together ooky! It will be a family-friendly evening . . . assuming no family feuds break out!

The Nature Nuts Kids Club is an active group of young naturalist who care about the environment. Proceeds from this event will go towards purchasing a new bench for the White Pine Tree trail that the club manages.

Those attending this event should expect:

Catered meal by Joe’s Pasta and Pizza

Family-friendly murder mystery

Child actors

Adult narrator

Optional guest participation

Chance to win a prize

Fun for all ages

EIU Glow Polar Plunge, Special Olympics Region I

March 1st. The Polar Plunge, presented by Law Enforcement Torch Run and GEICO, is a unique opportunity to support Special Olympics athletes by taking a flying leap – a leap into the frigid waters of Eastern Illinois University Pavilion. Participants must raise $100 in donations from friends, family, and co-workers in exchange for jumping into the icy waters.

Event Details

Where    Eastern Illinois University Pavilion

Charleston, IL

Starts     03/01/2020 @ 6:00 PM

Ends       7:30 PM

Check-in Time     5:00 PM to 5:45 PM

Registration Cutoff            02/29/2020 @ 11:45 PM

Donation Cutoff  04/30/2020 @ 11:45 PM

Contact Vanessa Duncan

Phone    217-345-2424

Email Address

Plunge Time Information

The plunge will take place on 03/01/2020 at Eastern Illinois University Pavilion located at 2150 S. 4th Street in Charleston. Plunger registration will begin at 5:00 pm with the Plunge itself taking place at 6:00 pm.

Plunger Incentive Prizes

Plungers will receive incentive prizes based on the amount of money they raise. By raising the minimum of $100, you’ll receive an official Plunge hooded sweatshirt. Sweatshirts will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis the day of the plunge. All individuals who do not receive a sweatshirt on the day of the event will have one mailed to them in April. Other prizes are awarded at the $250, $500 and $1,000 levels. An email with a redemption code will be sent to all eligible Plungers in early April. 

For additional information visit our main plunge site at

Robotics Classes

Session 2 March 2-30 (Mondays for 4 weeks) 3:30-5pm, $25/child at Jefferson School, Mrs. Cline’s room.  The Charleston Rec Dept & CUSD are teaming up to offer a unique Lego opportunity. Join other Lego fanatics in learning how to create and program super robots.  Sessions will work on improving your programming and building skills!  217-345-6897 or

ECIA Farm Show

March 6th-8th at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Visit

Line Dancing

March 9th & 23rd at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Visit

Interested In Helping With Prescribed Burns?

The Douglas-Hart Nature Center conducts prescribed burns as part of their land management practices. In the spring, the Nature Center is offering the community the opportunity to train in S130/S190 burn crew training. S130/S190 refers to basic wildland fire training courses and covers incident management and organization, firefighting techniques, equipment, safety, strategy and tactics along with fire behavior. With this certification, volunteers can assist with prescribed burns for agencies that require S130/S190 certification. The course consists of two parts.

The first is an online component completed on participant’s own time, prior to the field day training. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate to bring with them to the field day training. You MUST register for the online component at: For directions on how to register, visit

Part 2 is the field day training. The date of the field day training will be March 12th from 9am-4pm, at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center, weather permitting.  Please register for the field day with the Douglas-Hart Nature Center. For more information or to register, visit:, or email:

ECIA Antique Tractor and Quilt Show

March 13th-15th at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Visit