Destination Illinois: Welcome to Amish Country

ARCOLA & ARTHUR, Ill. (WCIA) – When you think of Amish country, you often think of a slower, more peaceful pace of life. The care and craftsmanship put into the Amish craftsmanship, furnishings and of course Amish food is of the highest standard. You should also watch out for the occasional horse and buggy on the road. Douglas County, specifically Arthur, is the center of activity. You’ve got the famous Yoder’s Kitchen (more on that in a minute!), crafts and antiques, but in central Illinois you can also add camels, zebras and even dinosaurs to that list. !


Aikman Wildlife Adventure, located on the outskirts of Arcola, is unlike anything else in the area. It’s a drive-in animal park that’s home to around 200 animals from six continents! Local brothers James and Andrew Aikman came up with the idea for the park and in 2016 they made it a reality.

We have children who love us, and we have 90-year-old ladies who love us!

Andrew Aikman, Vice President of Aikman Wildlife Adventure

You can choose between a drive-through pass or a more hands-on adventure with the wagon tour or the UTV tour where you can feed the animals along the one-mile loop!

The good thing about the drive-through pass is that you can take your time. You can upgrade your pass for a behind-the-scenes tour that gives you more access to the park.

There is also a separate walking tour with a petting zoo and the Museum of Prehistoric Life which is open all year round. It’s the newest addition to the park and features huge 3D printed animals that roamed millions of years ago.


Every time we go there is a new experience. I’ve done thousands of wagon tours there, and I always tell my wagons that I’ve never had one like this before. You never know what you’re going to experience!

Andrew Aikman, Vice President of Aikman Wildlife Adventure

Even during Covid, park visitors come from all over the Midwest to experience this one-of-a-kind park in Illinois. It’s hard work caring for all these animals, but Aikman says the smiles are worth it!

We want to create memories for people and for families. We want to have a safe, family-friendly place to come and not just pass once, but continue to pass over the years. That’s why we do it

Andrew Aikman, Vice President of Aikman Wildlife Adventure

Now that you’ve seen all those animals, I’m sure you’ve worked up an appetite for some good old-fashioned food!


If you are in Arthur, it is mandatory to eat at Yoder’s Kitchen. It is an institution and it is the reference on which the Amish cuisine is based! The fried chicken is juicy, the pies are fresh, and the servers are as friendly as they come.

The Yoder family opened the restaurant in 1994. Anna Herschberger and her husband Nelson are the current owners of Yoder’s Kitchen. In keeping with family traditions, she worked there as a waitress from 1994 and was able to buy it in 2002. Her two sons are also on staff.


Keeping what was here and adding some of my own touches helped us become who we are today.

Anna Herschberger, owner of Yoder’s Kitchen

Despite the slower pace of change enjoyed by the Amish, Yoder’s has been the opposite. It has grown several times and now includes catering and the gift shop. The most recent addition is called the porch.

Growing up, my mom used to eat on her porch, so I kind of wanted to bring that here, so we made this addition.

Anna Herschberger, owner of Yoder’s Kitchen

Once you’ve gone to the buffet and stocked up, don’t forget to look in the gift shop!

Amish Country in Central Illinois, a different way of life in our backyard!

Toya J. Bell