MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello has a lot to celebrate. Not only is it Robert Allerton’s 150th birthday and the first day of spring, but today also marks the opening of their new visitor center.

Allerton Park shared on their website that the McCraw Family Visitor Center (MFVC) officially opens to the public on Monday.

Renovations to Robert Allerton’s original garden shed located across from the Greenhouse Café began over a year ago. The park said that the museum-quality displays cover the history and highlights of the property. They said the MFVC will help visitors gain a better understanding of who Allerton is, and strive to embody Allerton’s vision of: “inspiring the community to utilize and value nature, history, and the arts, through accessible and sustainable programming, research, and facilities.”

Courtesy: Steve Hoffman

“It’s a great day to start the week,” said Steve Hoffman, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Allerton Park. “The project has been several years in the making, and we are grateful to the McCraw family for helping us make this happen.”

Tom and Jessica McCraw and their family members funded the renovation along with an endowment to provide salary support for the Visitor Center Coordinator. More information about their gift can be found here.

Monday’s grand opening event will include a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. followed by cake, punch, and a cash bar. The park said the space will be open for an ‘open house’ style viewing until 6 p.m. The Slow Spark BBQ food truck will also be on-site from 4-7 p.m.

This event is free, but registration is appreciated for planning purposes.

Courtesy: Steve Hoffman