Arcola, Illinois: Rockome GardensAn Amish-inspired attraction that has a horse-powered saw (to make your own souvenir log slab) and pebble-crusted works of outdoor art.
- 115 N. County Rd 425E, Arcola, IL
- I-57 exit 203 and follow the signs.
- M-Sa (Call to verify)
Visitor Tips and News About Rockome Gardens
Rockome Gardens has alas changed quite a bit once again. The buggy driver said they have changed hands about 5 times in five years. The gardens are looking shabby, with the model railroad torn up, the house and candy shop closed for remodeling, the barn and lookout were closed, the jail moved across the street, and most horrifying, the bottle houses were torn down! Also, the old big train has been replaced by a new smaller one, apparently because the neighbors sold the land that the old train used to run on. Also no more educated animal machines, other than the tic tac toe playing hen.
However, there is a nice new children's play area, and a very nice new food store where they make cheese on site. The cheese curds are hands down the best I have ever had. In my life. We had a good time and I hope that the park is on an upswing.[Jamie K., 10/13/2010]
Rockome gardens is a great attraction. Along with the pop bottle houses, there are a lot of cement crosses and hearts with various items stuck into them. There's a petting zoo with crazy goats, an ostrich, and a deer-- all living together in harmony in the same cage. The authentic 1950s Amish home is great, but not as excellent as the Amish Interpretive Center located in the Arcola business district. That place was super and they happily will hook you up with an Amish family to have supper with. Also check out the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum a block away, and the visitor's center by the Hippie Memorial boasts the largest collection of brooms in the world.[Amey, 06/23/2004]
Rockome Gardens does sport a good haunted house, but it was better when I was a kid and it was still a haunted BARN. This had an upstairs and downstairs. At some point when I was a teenager, they moved all the attractions to the "haunted cave" which is actually aboveground. This explains why a ghostly calf is in a cave in the first place. The "tilt room" used to be bigger and better, and they actually let you swing on the vertigo producing tilted swing.
Also at Rockome Gardens are: two houses made from pop bottles, a giant chair, Paul Bunyan's hat, performing chickens and ducks, the horse driven buzz saw, and assorted other very strange things.[Jamie Kozma, 12/02/2001]
Arcola - Rockome Gardens is still aging (they had to tear down the treehouse at the end of last season. One of the trees was rotting.) I had a chance to walk through the Haunted Cave. It is so rare to find a good walk through haunted house anymore. The cyclops calf is still there.
One of the performing chickens went on strike while we were watching. (they are from Educated Animals, Hot Springs, AR. My daughter got to pet the chicken as it was taken out of the "basketball" machine and got the prize free from the new chicken that replaced it as the caretaker tested the chicken.
One very bizarre (but popular) attraction is the Horse Powered Buzz Saw. They have reconstructed a buzz Saw that one could have purchased via mail order at the turn of the last century. For $1 you ride on the Belgian Draft Horse "Betty" as she circles two or three times, just long enough to saw off a circle of wood. After the ride you cross over to the blacksmith shop and have a bored employee brand letters into the slice of wood at $1 for the first 4 letters and 20 cents for each additional letter. Warning - three days after we returned home last year, some sort of grub ate its way out of the circle of wood.[Kirby A. Bartlett-Sloan, 07/09/1997]