Destination Illinois: Wildlife Prairie Park

Destination Illinois
Hanna City, Ill. — If you’re in Central Illinois this summer, you won’t have to worry about being bored, especially if you visit Wildlife Prairie Park just outside of Peoria in Hanna City.
 
“There’s always something to do around here,” said Callie Smith, the Wildlife Prairie Park Programming Specialist.

The 2,000 acre zoological park works to bring education, conservation, and recreation to the community with 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.
 
At the park you’ll find rare North American bison, goats, elk and the newest edition–Winny the 4 month-old otter.
 
“We’ve seen everything–seeing [Winny] 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,” Smith said.

This year is a big year for Wildlife Prairie Park. It’s turning 40 years old, so there are plenty of ways to celebrate its history.
 
Smith said, “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.”
 
If you’re not interested in the walking, you can always explore the scenery on the Wildlife Prairie Park Railroad. The two-mile trip loops around the park.
 
For even more thrills at Wildlife Prairie Park, you can try out the 58-foot long slide, also known as the Golley Whopper.
 
“It’s one of our staples. For people that have been around here or for members, they know also know 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,” said Smith.
 
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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