Courageous Travels: Bloomington, IL Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Day 1

Hello Camp Courageous!

The Travel Group is spending the weekend in Bloomington, IL. Travel Intern, Kody Gafkjen and I started off our day meeting volunteers Diane Sneed, Hanna Steinberg, Treva Guyer, Carolyn Rundle at Camp Courageous. We then made our way to Coralville where we met travelers Michael Heffernen, Gary Keely, Sally Crawford and Kristin Knebel and volunteer Kristin Heath. Our next stop was Davenport, IA. We stopped for dinner at Culver’s and met travelers Ed Meyer, Dan Coyne, Larry Lucier and Roger Prior. After our delicious meal we made our way to Peoria, IL where will be staying for the weekend. At the hotel, we met our final two volunteers Rachel Kegley and Carina Hanson. We are now settled in our rooms and resting up for our fun weekend exploring Bloomington, IL. This is our first trip to Bloomington and the travelers are excited to explore the city!
– Travel Team

Day 2

Hello Camp Courageous!
The Travel Group had so much fun exploring Bloomington today! We had a delicious breakfast at our hotel before loading the bus and heading to Bloomington. Our first stop of the day was the McLean County Museum of History. The museum is located in the old courthouse building. The building consists of the Crusin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center and Gift Shop on the ground floor and three floors of exhibits. When we arrived we took a group picture outside before heading inside and splitting up into our groups to explore! The visitor center had two videos that we got to watch, one was one Abe Lincoln and the other was about Route 66. The visitor center had displays that talked about companies that originated in Bloomington such as State Farm, Steak N Shake and BeerNuts.
On the first floor, there were exhibits called “Making a Home”, “The Politics Gallery”, “Farming in the Great Corn Belt” and “The Lincoln Gallery”. The “Making a Home” exhibit showcased the experiences of individuals who settled in McLean County. This exhibit had different household items, clothing, and even a Native American Wigwam that contained different animal furs. “The Politics Gallery” had displays of different military gear, different court cases that took place in McLean County, we also learned that Abe Lincoln gained national prominence as the leader of anti slavery movement while in Bloomington. In this gallery, there were also displays that talked about teaching back in the 1800s. There was a big school bell that Michael Heffernen got to ring and a feather quill that we could practice writing with on a chalkboard. In the “Farming in the Great Corn Belt” gallery we learned that farming was the reason that the first settlers came to McClean County. We also got to watch a video about the big crops from this area, which wear corn, beans and oats. There was also an interactive display where Dan Coyne got to turn turn a crank which moved kernels of corn. Traveler Ed Meyer, loved the Lincoln exhibit! He said Lincoln is his favorite president!
On the second floor, there was a library and a courtroom. The travelers got to go inside of the courtroom and see the original Judge’s bench and jury box where court was in session from 1903 and 1974. Traveler Gary Keely got up behind the Judge’s bench and banged the gavel and told us we were guilty! On the third floor, we visited the “Harriett Rust Pioneer Discovery Room and the special exhibit, Pedal Power. In the Discovery Room, we got to view what the inside of a house would have looked like and a view of the yard. Travelers got a chance to practice sawing (not with a real saw) a log and opportunity to try on different bonnets and top hats, there was even a fake cow that you could practice milking! Travelers Dan Coyne and Gary Keely gave sawing the log a try! Traveler Sally Crawford and volunteer Diane also sawed the log and tried on some hats!
After we explored the museum and did some shopping we made our way back outside and explored a farmer’s market that was taking place right outside on the streets surrounding the museum, before heading across the street to Windy City Weiners for lunch. This was a nice little shop and we had some great food. The crew at Windy City were great, got our food out fast and were helpful with our group. After lunch we loaded back up on the bus and made our way to our next activity, the Prairie Aviation Museum.
As we were unloading at the Aviation Museum we were treated by a man named Doug, who is a volunteer at the museum and he used to be a pilot. Once in side we were greeted by 4 other volunteers. Doug lead us around the museum and pointed out different items such as a control panel from a plane, a trainer plane, memorabilia from the Bloomington Airport and different airlines and a tile from a space shuttle. We also learned that it takes 400 people to move the president. So whenever a president goes somewhere, there are 400 people involved! We also got to try on airplane gloves which were super fuzzy inside! There were lots of model airplanes and a giant engine! We got to push a button and we could hear a jet engine! It was pretty cool. Next up we headed outside to check out some planes! There was a helicopter, and a variety of different planes, including a plane from the movie, Top Gun! Traveler Gary Keely got to sit inside of the helicopter. He had a big smile on his face when we was inside! Afterwards, we checked out the gift shop and took a group picture! The volunteers gave each of the travelers a booklet about the museum, a postcard and a bookmark. The travelers were so grateful! The Aviation volunteers were wonderful and showed our group a great time! We thanked them and loaded up the bus. The volunteers told us about two fancy buildings that they thought our group would love to see so we decided to take a detour on the way back to the hotel to check them out.
Travel Intern, Kody looked up some information about the two buildings and acted as our tour guide! He gave the group some facts about each building as we stopped to get a view of the buildings. The first building was the David Davis Mansion which was built in 1872. David Davis was a Supreme Court Justice and he was very crucial to Abe Lincoln’s success. The next building was Ewing Manor which was built in the 1920s. It was a really cool building with pretty gardens and now it’s a cultural building. We thanked Kody for being our tour guide and made our way to the hotel. We gathered in the lobby and waited for our dinner to arrive. We had scheduled dinner from Panera to be delivered for us and it was there in no time. We had worked up quite the appetite! After our delicious meal, everyone headed upstairs to shower, pack and get rest. Tomorrow we head to the zoo! Stay tuned!
– Travel Team

Day 3

Hello Camp Courageous!

We started our final day of the trip by getting all of our luggage packed and ready to go before eating breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we loaded up the bus and made our way back to Bloomington, IL to visit the Miller Park Zoo. The travelers were excited to start exploring and discover all of the animals that live inside the zoo. Our travelers were greeted by many different animals from all across the world. While we were exploring the zoo, our travelers were able to watch Harbor Seals be fed and do amazing tricks, and traveler Roger was able to ask the zookeepers questions that he had about the seals. We made our way through the rainforest where travelers saw many different types of monkeys, birds, rodents, and even a waterfall. A lot of the travelers were excited to see some of their favorite animals at the zoo; Dan really liked seeing the Bald Eagles, Ed enjoyed the Tiger, Sally and Kristin got excited when they saw the beautiful Flamingos, Michael lit up when they met the Python, and Gary kept going back to watch the River Otters.

We decided to have a picnic in the zoo for our lunch. The travelers enjoyed the meals from Subway while also being able to hear different animal noises and watch the flamingos.

We loaded up the bus after we were done with lunch, and started to make our way back to Iowa. At the zoo, we said goodbye to two of our volunteers. Our first stop was Walcott, IA where we said goodbye to four of our travelers. We then made our way back to Coralville, IA where we departed from our four remaining travelers and one of our volunteers. Finally, we made our way back to Camp Courageous where we said goodbye to our last remaining volunteers.

We would like to thank the individuals that traveled with us this weekend; Gary, Ed, Michael, Larry, Kristin, Sally, Dan, and Roger. We would also like to thank the volunteers that traveled with us as well; Carolyn, Treva, Kristin, Diane, Hanna, Carina, and Rachel.

– Travel Team

2 Responses

  1. Jim Heffernen says:

    Great pics……………thanks!
    Please tell Michael H. aka “pickle” to be a “good kid”!

  2. Diane Sneed says:

    It is always such a fun time on trips with camp. I want to thank you for asking me to join you all on these trips with camp. I love them all.