Exploration Station...a children's museum


Exploration Station Facility Rentals
Are you planning a party, fundraiser, school event, business meeting, or holiday party? Let us offer you a unique setting for your event! . Dining is available for up to 50 at a time and the museum can accommodate up to 200 guests. Please contact us at (815) 933-9905 ext. 353 or drop an email for more information on museum rentals.

If you are interested in an Exploration Station Birthday Party Click Here!


Exploration Station® Special Events

frosty Express

Frosty Express...a Journey to the North Pole!
The Exploration Station...a children's museum is excited to introduce a NEW event on Saturday, December 14. “Frosty Express...a journey to the North Pole”  will takes guests on a carriage ride through Perry Farm Park that will conclude at the Exploration Station...a children's musuem.  Inside guests can get warm refreshments, tinker with the elves in their workshop, write a letter to Santa, decorate a cookie with Mrs. Clause
and visit with Santa Clause himself!
Tickets are available now at all park district facilities. 
Pre-registration is required as tickets will sell out fast. Get yours today!

The Exploration Station...a children's musuem will be closed on Friday, December 13 & Saturday, December 14 for the Frosty Express event.

Click Here for a Printable Flyer

Age(s): All Ages (children must be accompanied by an adult)
Date(s): Saturday, December 14
Time(s): Journeys will depart at 10am, 11am, 12 pm, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm
Location: Exploration Station...a children's musuem
1095 W. Perry Street in Bradley, IL 60915
Fee per person: $10 for Residents/ $12 for Non-Residents
Pre-registration is required, tickets are on sale now through December 13th!
Get yours today before they are gone!




Earth Day Celebration!
Become a Globe Guardian! Here is your chance to enjoy the wonderful outdoors and become an ambassador for the Earth. Exploration Station is partnering with Earth Stewards and Master Gardner’s to encourage everyone to Go Green! Explore the ponds on the beautiful Perry Farm Park, go on a guided nature scavenger hunt, learn about the unique properties of Bamboo, and help create a colorful flower garden behind the children’s museum. Other activities will include the Panda Bounce House, live turtle races, games and crafts. 

Age(s): 3 years & older (children must be accompanied by an adult)
Date(s): Saturday, April 20, 2013 (Rain Date – April 21)
Time(s): 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Perry Farm Park
459 N. Kennedy Drive, Bourbonnais IL
Fee: $2 per person

Art in the Park

Art in the Park
A traditional fine arts festival with a twist! ~ The adults shop for unique, hand-crafted fine arts & crafts while the children create art projects instructed by professional artists! Located just outside the Exploration Station on beautiful & historic Perry Farm Park. Artist! There will be food vendors, so plan to spend the afternoon with us! Proceeds from this festival will go to benefit Exploration Station…a children’s museum

Age(s): All Ages
Date(s): Saturday, June 8, 2013
Time(s): 11:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Perry Farm Park
459 N. Kennedy Drive, Bourbonnais IL
Fee: Free to attend! Children's Art Projects will be a small extra fee

Call to Artists

We are currently accepting applications from Fine Arts & Crafts Artists & Artisans! Our registration has been extended through April 19th! For detailed information on Art in the Park, please view (and download, if you'd like) the Artist Information Sheets. Also click to view and download the Artist Application Form (please share with any of your artistic friends who might be interested in applying!
Click for Registraion information

A Night In Sleepy Hollow

Centuries later stories continue of the Headless Horseman riding through Sleepy Hollow from those who have claimed to witness the ghoulish event! Can it be just their imagination or is the legend of the Headless Horseman really true?

Only you can discover the answer. We dare you to venture out into the dark of night into the Perry Farm Park woods and listen for the thundering hoof beats of the Horseman's stallion. The legend will be told! Witnesses will come forth! You just may see it for yourself!

2013 Dates & Times:

Fridays, October 11 & 18 from 5:30-11:00 p.m.
Saturdays, October 12 & 19 from 2:00 - 11:00 p.m. (new earlier time!)

Perry Farm Park, 459 N Kennedy Drive, Bourbonnais, IL 60914

Sleepy Hollow Village - FREE ADMISSION!
Free Village activities include:

  • Monster Egg Hunts (Fridays 6:00 p.m. & Saturdays 2:30 p.m & 6:00 p.m.)
  • Campfire with Storyteller
  • Photo Spots
  • Food & Craft Vendors
  • Roaming Zombies and Monsters (after 8:00 p.m.)
    Games & Activites in the village require activity tickets. Tickets will be on sale at the event for $1.00 per ticket at ticket booths.

Re-Enactment Play Tickets- $10.00 each (Tickets go on sale October 1st)

Haunted Hayrides (NEW!)- $5.00 each (8:00-11:00 p.m.)

*This is an outdoor event, tickets are NON-refundable regardless of weather
**Credit and Debit cards are now acepted!!!!


Sleepy Hollow Village - Non-Scary till 8:00 p.m.

Monster Egg hunt (Fridays 6:00 p.m. & Saturdays 2:30 p.m & 6:00 p.m.)-Free
Campfire with Storyteller-Free
Photo Zones- Free
New!! Carnival Style games- 1-2 tickets per game
Kiddie Corral (games for the little ones) - 1 ticket for all 4 games
Monster & Regular face painting- 1 ticket
Sand Art- 1 ticket
Barrel Train Rides- 1 ticket
Hayrides (sponsored by the Old Time Farm Show) - 1 ticket (ends at 7:30 p.m.)
Glo Golf- 1 ticket/per game
NEW!! Pony Rides- 4 tickets (3:00-6:00 p.m. Saturdays Only)
New!! Petting Zoo- 3 tickets (3:00-6:00 p.m. Saturdays Only)
New!! Pumpkin Patch- 3-5 tickets/pumpkin depending on size
Pictures with the Headless Horseman- 5 tickets (7:00-9:30 p.m.)
Bamboo Bounce House-1 ticket (2:00-6:00 p.m. Saturdays Only)
New!! Skee Ball - $0.50 (this is a cash only game, tokens can be bought with the skee ball vendor, sorry no credit cards)

Sleepy Hollow Village After Dark - Things Get Scary after 8:00 p.m.

Campfire with Storyteller - Free
Roaming Zombies and Monsters- Free
New!! Carnival Style games- 1-2 tickets per game
Zombie face painting- 2 tickets for full face
New!! Skee Ball - $0.50 (this is a cash only game, tokens can be bought with the skee ball vendor, sorry no credit cards)
Haunted Glo Golf- 2 tickets/per game
New!! Pumpkin Patch- 3-5 tickets/pumpkin depending on size
Pictures with the Headless Horseman- 5 tickets (7:00-9:30 p.m.)
Haunted Hayrides - $5.00 Hayride ticket (can be purchases at ticket booths)

Sleepy Hollow Re-Enactment Play- 6:30 - 11:00 p.m.
(arrive 10 min. prior to show time)

Sleepy Hollow visitors can choose a time slot to see the Sleepy Hollow Reenactment Play performed by the Acting Out Theatre Company. Each night performances will start every 30 minutes starting at 6:30 p.m. The last show will start at 11:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale October 1. Please remeber show times will sell out.


The Re-Enactment Play - Performed by Acting Out Theater Company
Again this year, the Bourbonnais Township Park District and the Exploration Station are teaming up again with Acting Out Theatre Company to bring you a one of a kind perfomance. 

Acting Out Theatre Visitors will hear the story of Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow how Washington Irving had envisioned it through campfire visits, you'll join the party in one of our 1840's barns, and even a ride through the hollow itself.  Be prepared to duck as you follow Ichabod down Old Church Road, where you just may encounter the headless horseman yourself!

Because of the intense nature of the Hollow we do not recommend it for young children and those with medical conditions that may be sensitive to stressful situations.

  For more information on Acting Out Theatre Company, please visit www.actingouttheatreco.org

The re-enactment could not be accomplished without use of this nationally registered historical 170 acre property and also help from our friends in Thee Olde Time Farm Show.

A Night in Sleepy Hollow Cast 2012 ~

Campfire 1 Storytellers-Jeanne Benson & Rosanne Patton
Campfire 2 Storytellers- Tina Pourroy & Dan Horton
Ichabod Crane- Kyle Ronchettto
Katrina Van Tassel- Hannah Tumblin
Baltus Van Tassel - Bob Guastalli
Matilda Van Tassel - Paula Denault
Brom Bones -Michael Keigher
Tom - Eddie Juarez
Peter- Cory Campbell
Agnes Closson- Shannon Woodruff
Jacob Closson - David Sacks
Rose Closson - Kayelyn Woodruff
Kristina Van Tassel - Britton Fischer
Nathanial- Nathan Pranger
Abraham - Ryan Woodruff
Isabella- Gretchen Fischer
Emma- Baily Testerman 1st weekend
Emma - Kayla Ronchetto 2nd weekend
Jack - Jonah Pettet
Samantha - Samantha LeBeau

History of Event
Once upon a time there was a Children's Museum located in the quaint little town of Bourbonnais, Illinois. This museum, a part of the Bourbonnais Township Park District, was a favorite place for children and families to visit. The Children's Museum, called Exploration Station...a children's museum, struggled to provide enough money to update and repair its exhibits. The museum's director decided to host a special event to raise funds to benefit the children museum's exhibit fund. This was to be no regular event.  Museum staff wanted it to be a great family event that was fun, recreational and educational. It, also, had to fit into the museum's mission to create a magical place where children can ignite their imagination. 

In 1991, through the creativity of the museum director and staff, the Night in Sleepy Hollow event was developed. The event was held outdoors on the Park District's Perry Farm Park. Over 200 visitors attended A Night in Sleepy Hollow during its first year. The Sleepy Hollow event was so well attended that the Exploration Station staff decided to hold it every year in October around Halloween. 

A Night in Sleepy Hollow has evolved into the Bourbonnais Township Park District's most popular event. The event is still connected to its roots as fundraiser used to support the children's museum.
The event has added several new attractions and is visited by 4,000 people annually. For locals, A Night in Sleepy Hollow is an annual family outing in October. Some patrons, who had attended the event when they were teenagers, are now old enough to bring their own families.  

This event also gives older children and teens in the community something to do when they are too old to trick or treat and too young to see most Halloween movies or haunted houses.

horseman drawing

An unexpected and welcomed result of the event is the response from local teachers and school children.  By bringing Washington Irving's story to life, the event attracts local teachers who use the event to promote reading. Teachers often incorporate the event into their curriculum and give extra credit to students who help volunteer at the event. The re-enactment portion of the event can spark a child's love of literature by seeing the pages they have read come to life.


Event Tips

  • Fridays are typically less busy than Saturdays so to avoid crowds consider checking out the event on one of the two Fridays.
  • Show Tickets will sell out. We encourage you to purchase your tickets early.
  • Remember to bundle up. The Night in Sleepy Hollow event runs late and the temperature can drop quickly from the time the event starts. Another good tip is to check out the hot apple cider or hot chocolate from the concession wagon.
  • The event does take place at night so parents should be watchful of their children so they don't get lost or separated. If someone does get lost please contact the nearest Park District employee or the front gate to send a lost child alert (or lost adult alert).
  • If you want to get you picture with the headless horseman at the photo booth, it is recommended to get you pictures early as the photo booth typically stops taking pictures 15 minutes prior to the event closing time.
  • Part of the Reenactment will take place in a barn with hay and straw. Those with allergies please be prepared.
Sleepy Hollow

Our Night in Sleepy Hollow special event truly does create a magical place for children to ignite their imagination. This story re-enactment is like a fable for a child. Families bond together as they laugh and scream throughout this event. The learning experience and family bonding that is formed is invaluable. The knowledge and sparks for learning literature and  history will stay with them throughout their school years.


We Love Our Volunteers!
Volunteers for the event are recruited from local schools, community organizations and the local chamber of commerce.

Each night 20-50 volunteers run activities including hay rides, games, horseman helpers, gate helpers, glow golf supervisors and movie tent attendants. Volunteers also assist each night in set-up and clean-up. Volunteers make this event possible and the Park District and Exploration Station...a children's museum extends their gratitude to all those who have helped!

New for 2013! - Monsters, scarers and make-up volunteers are needed! Please contact our volunteer coordinator to get signed up for these limited opportunities. Please email or call Cathy Gagnon at (815) 933-9905 ext 353.


For more Special Events Check out the
Bourbonnais Township Park District
Special Events Page!

©2013 Bourbonnais Township Park District
459 Kennedy Drive, Bourbonnais, IL 60914

Exploration Station ... a children's museum is a facility of the