Our dear friends, Dave and Elizabeth, who used to live in Texas but now live in Illinois gave us a GREAT idea to go to the Wildlife Prairie State Park on our trip. We were hoping to have the chance to meet them there, too. (They have boys that are almost exactly our boys' ages.) Though it didn't work to see them on this trip, we were able to still check out the state park on our own. It was really fun!
We had reserved Caboose #4 as our "cabin" for spending the night. Ian, still as much of a train lover as ever, thought it was AMAZING that we got to stay inside a caboose!
After getting all settled in the caboose, we started to explore the park -- a zoo of sorts for native Illinois wildlife. We explored the "nursery," where they were keeping a few hurt animals, like a woodchuck.
and then we played in the train "museum" (basically just lots of fun trains and vehicles)
before we got on the train.
We ended up being the only passengers on the train! The boys seemed to enjoy the 30-minute ride. We saw a deer but mainly just enjoyed the ride. The tunnel was a highlight of the train ride for Ian.
At the end of the ride, Ian got to climb on the engine.
If any of you are ever in the Peoria area, we'd highly recommend the Wildlife Prairie State Park. It wasn't busy at all and was very kid-friendly and educational! Perfect for preschool and early grade school kids!