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Wildlife Prairie Park Unveils New Lodgings Overlooking Bison Pasture

Wildlife Prairie Park is unveiling six new lodging cabins near the elk and bison pasture.
Executive Director Roberta English said  the new "Legacy Cabins" are expected to increase overall lodging revenues from around $98,000 to $300,000 this year as the cabins attract more people to the park, particularly from the Chicago area.

"So it takes a lot of money to keep this park going. And what lodging does, particularly new lodging, is it triples our revenue from what we've previously made with our existing lodging units," she said. "So this is a really good opportunity to recoup some funds, make some money, and then reinvest in the park."

She said that provides money the nonprofit Wildlife Prairie Park needs to fulfill its mission of bringing people closer to nature and helping them better understand the state's native animals.

"You can't get any closer to the animals than this. They're right there. You can sit on your patio, and you can watch the bison and the elk," English said. "And that's the experience we want people to have. To understand animals more, to appreciate nature, and also to create memories with their families."

English said the cabins are appealing to families who may be leery of hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dwellings are called "Legacy Cabins" in honor of Bill Rutherford, who founded the park in 1977.

She said the park eventually plans to have 18 cabins available for lodging. The first cabins opened around July 4.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.