Have you ever sat in the seat of a roller or tried your hand at operating an excavator? Have you stood near the massive tire of a Cat 797 mining truck? The Caterpillar Visitors Center offers you the opportunity to try all of these experiences and more, and a trip to the center makes a fascinating field trip for people of all ages.
The opportunity to sit in the cab of a variety of large construction vehicles is a highlight of the center. Visitors will be impressed by the massive size of a Cat 797 mining truck on display; a movie theater with rumble seats is built into the bed of the truck, where visitors can watch a film about Caterpillar's operations around the world. Other features of the center include a Heritage Gallery with antique Caterpillar vehicles, interactive simulators where people can pretend to operate a construction vehicle and computers where visitors can select the color and style for a truck of their own design. Small theaters around the center show short films about Caterpillar's extensive operations.
The Caterpillar Visitors Center is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Ticket sales end daily at 3:30 p.m., and no new visitors are admitted after that time. The center is closed Sundays and holidays. The adjacent Cat Merchandise Center is open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday; admission to the Caterpillar Visitors Center is not required for entering the shop.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. General admission is $7, and seniors (55 and older) are $6. Active military personnel and veterans are $6, and military seniors are $5. Children 12 and under are admitted free, but must be accompanied by an adult; there is a limit of four free child admissions for each paying adult. A $1 service fee is added to each ticket purchased online. Group rates are available for parties of 25 or more people; call the center for details on group pricing.
The Caterpillar Visitors Center is located at 110 SW Washington St., Peoria, Ill. The Caterpillar World Headquarters is nearby. Call 309-675-0606 for information.
A trip to the Caterpillar Visitors Center would make an excellent field trip for homeschool students of all ages. Young children, who are often fascinated by construction vehicles, will simply enjoy sitting in the huge machines. Older students might receive inspiration to pursue a career in one of the many industries affected by Caterpillar's operations. Even parents and grandparents will have a good time on a visit to the center; it's a exciting field trip that appeals to people of all ages.