In central Illinois, you can’t swing a backhoe loader without hitting an employee of Caterpillar. One such employee is my brother-in-law, who introduced us to the super cool Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria.
When you walk into this mini-museum, you’re guided into the theater that sits in a recreation of the Cat 797 truck. The thing’s like driving around a city block! You’re treated to a short movie that’s a nice commercial for Cat, but entertaining enough for the kids to sit through (even though there’s some talking head stuff). It helps that they make the theater rumble during the truck footage.
The theater exit leads you to kid heaven… a room full of Cat machines for kids to climb in. Ozzie was beside himself, climbing up and down stairs and in and out of trucks. He always made sure to buckle up in each one, which I thought was a nice safety measure. There are so many times when we’re walking down the street and one of these construction vehicles will be parked next to the sidewalk, firing up the kids’ curiosity. To climb inside was very satisfying, even for Olive.
Olive also enjoyed the simulations, where you could sit and work the controls of the excavators. Or attempt to. The combination of controls is tricky! I might have bursted open a water pipe when I tried.
We had a great time, especially with our own personal guide who knew the machines so well. If you’re passing near Peoria, IL, I definitely recommend checking it out with the kids. In the meantime, you can take a virtual tour on Google Maps. Next time we’ll have to schedule a factory tour.