Are we really starting the second half of 2022? Already? Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! And having fun, we are.
If you’re familiar with Wildlife Prairie Park in Hanna City, Illinois (near Peoria), you most likely associate it with its herd of bison or gang of elk. (Yes, a group of elk is called a gang.) Perhaps you also know that the park is home to wolves, coyotes, and other animals. But did you know that Wildlife Prairie Park also includes mountain bike trails, a disc golf course, and is a concert venue? Or that you can spend the night in the park inside a caboose or a grain bin? During our visit to Wildlife Prairie Park last fall, Brien Davis, Community Development and Events Manager showed us around. We discovered there is so much more to this 2,000-acre park than we knew. Here are twelve ways to enjoy Wildlife Prairie Park.
In our travels we often tour historic homes that were originally owned by prominent local residents. Those homes are usually furnished with very few of the original owner’s belongings. Instead, they’re filled mostly with period furniture obtained elsewhere. Not so with the Pettengill-Morron House in Peoria, Illinois. The last Pettengill-Morron House owner, Jean Morron, left the home to the Peoria Historical Society with all of her possessions intact. Entering the home, you feel like you’re stepping into somebody’s current residence.
Wheels O’ Time Museum. Is it about cars? Is it about clocks? I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turns out “Wheels O’ Time” refers to the passage of time. The museum near Peoria, Illinois, focuses on manufacturing from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. During this time. Peoria was a huge manufacturing city. It’s estimated that over 900 items, from bicycles to whiskey, were made in Peoria in the early 1900s. The Wheel O’ Time Museum recalls that era. Its 30,000 square feet of exhibit space spread across four buildings, plus outdoor space, is jam-packed with artifacts, mostly from the Peoria area.
The sun is warm on our faces as we sit in third row seats along the first base line at Dozer Field. We eat jumbo hot dogs drenched in tangy yellow mustard and wash them down with cold beer. We’re watching the Peoria Chiefs take on the Quad Cities River Bandits in a minor league baseball game. Later, as we stand for the seventh inning stretch, the team mascot, a dalmatian named Homer, leads us in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” This is the quintessential all-American summer afternoon.
The first stop when we visited the Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria, Illinois, was the 797 Theater. The theater sits in the bed of a 797f mining truck.