Peoria’s Wildlife Prairie Park offers endless entertainment

Destination Illinois

See a bison, ride a train, or take a hike – outdoor entertainment is endless at Wildlife Prairie Park near Peoria.

If you’re in Central Illinois this summer, you won’t have to worry about being bored.

“There’s always something to do around here,” said Calli Smith, the programming specialist at Wildlife Prairie Park.

The 2,000 acre zoological park works to bring education, conservation, and recreation to the community, all while throwing in some fun along the way.

“Not only do we have educational programs about animals and different things in Illinois, we, of course, have the animals here,” Smith said.

Animals like the rare North American bison, goats, elk, and the newest addition: Winny, the 4-month-old otter.

“We’ve seen everything,” Smith said. “Seeing her go through a lot of her stages. So, right now, we’re trying to teach her how to swim and be okay with some vet checks.”

This year is a big year for Wildlife Prairie Park as it turns 40, so there are plenty of ways to celebrate its history.

“We have tons of hiking and biking trails. I think it’s over 14 miles on this side alone, let alone our West side, which is our mountain biking trails,” Smith said.

If you’re not interested in all of that walking, you can always explore the scenery on the Wildlife Prairie Park Railroad. The two-mile trip loops around the park.

“Things you’ll be able to see would be the park that you don’t normally see, so some pretty good areas to look out for. Pretty good selfie areas,” Smith added.

If you’re interested in more thrills, you can try out the 58-foot long slide, also known as the Golley Whopper.

“It’s one of our staples,” Smith said of the attraction. “For people that have been around here, or are members, they know also to bring wax paper. – as long as you take it back out with you – so you can go down the slide and even go faster.”

So whether you’re sliding, riding, or just exploring, Wildlife Prairie Park may be the next adventure you’re looking for.

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