When you walk in, you are greeted by a 16,000 gallon tank of salt water fish, a large Ferris wheel, and several wild life displays. We are not at the zoo, we are at Scheels, my 3 year old’s favorite store in central Illinois!
A few months ago, we discovered that Alex was just tall enough (36 inches) to ride the huge 16 car, 64 feet tall Ferris wheel. He proudly handed over $2 to pay for his and my husband’s tokens at the cash register then pulled us anxiously towards the ferris wheel for his first ride. As much as I try not to be an over protective, “helicopter mom”, I couldn’t help but feel concern that he may be scared or disrupt the ride as they rose towards top of the store. Little did I expect how excited his little face would be as they came back around where I could see them. Alex behaved perfectly and begs for a ride on the Ferris wheel each time we visit Scheels!
On the first floor of the store, you’ll also find a play area near the kid’s shoes. While it isn’t huge, it is still a great energy release for the kids while you are out shopping. Just slip off their shoes and let them climb on up and take the slide down. Please keep a close eye on your little ones though! We had an accident where my 2 year old slipped on the spiral staircase heading up to the slide and has been left with a scar. Normally he’s a great climber and follows right behind his brother but he must have lost his footing and came out crying with a huge bump and cut by his eye. I would like to note how fast the Scheels employees were to rush to our assistance and insist that we visited the local express care to ensure everything was going to be ok. They quickly brought us ice wrapped in paper towels to reduce swelling and followed up a few days later to see how he was doing.
Think you’ve seen it all? Don’t feel like looking at hunting or sporting gear and clothing? Don’t worry – there are still more fun things to see! Head upstairs to find an archery lane, a golf simulator, race car simulator, and so much more. Don’t want to spend money? Take a walk through and check out the wild life displays. On the East side of the store is Wildlife Mountain, a 35 ft tall exhibit with deer, foxes, bears, goats, and other animals. When riding the Ferris wheel, you can catch a glimpse of Wildlife Mountain like in the photo above that I took on one of my rides with Alex. Head around the center of the store (where you’ll catch a nice view of the ferris wheel) and you will find “The Walk of Presidents” featuring an animatronic Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.
Before you leave, check out Gramma Ginnas deli and fudge shop. If you want a quick, low cost snack, you can even grab a bowl of ice cream for a dollar! It’s enough to feed both my toddlers and sneak a few bites for myself. The deli serves sub sandwiches so if shopping and playing has built up your family’s appetites, you’ll be sure to find something delicious to satisfy that hunger!
With more to offer than just hunting and sports gear, Scheels is a great place to take the family. Just off I-55, within view from the interstate, it is easy to stop by if you are just passing by Springfield. Be prepared to let the time slip by though – before you know it, you may have spent a couple hours here!
3801 South MacArthur Blvd
Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.