Allerton Park & Retreat Center

Allerton’s New Hidden Gem

Tucked away on the Wetland Boardwalk, but within sight from the Allerton Mansion lies a new hidden gem for intimate events -the Dome.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.
View of the Dome from the Allerton Mansion.

The Dome is just a short walk on the beautiful path leading from the Allerton Mansion and has seating available for six. Allerton Park & Retreat Center already exudes uniqueness and this additional outdoor rental space is icing on the cake.

The Dome at Allerton Park & Retreat Center
View of the Dome walking on the Wetland Boardwalk.

Donated to the University of Illinois by Robert Allerton back in the 1946 (you can read more about the history here), Allerton Park & Retreat Center is the perfect setting for a host of numerous events. Personally, I have experienced the magic of Allerton in many capacities; weddings, work retreats, and simply to take in the scenery. Truly the atmosphere is like nothing else and upon entry it becomes quickly apparent why Allerton Park & Retreat Center is one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois.

Entry to Allerton Park & Retreat Center
You know you are entering Allerton Park & Retreat Center when you see these pillars. When the trees are colored in leaves or dusted with snow, this winding road looks like something straight out of a fairy-tale.

As a recipient of Allerton’s newsletter, I stopped my scroll when I saw the announcement and picture of the new Dome. Immediately I thought of Chicago as I’ve seen these at The Godfrey, Aba, and City Winery Chicago on the Riverwalk to name a few. The “igloos” along the river have been on my Chicago bucket list ever since I saw them. Now, for us Central Illinois peeps, we’ve got one in our backyard -and for a fraction of the price!

The Dome at Allerton Park & Retreat Center

Currently you can reserve The Dome in the evenings on Tuesday-Saturday from 6PM-9PM for $50 or on the weekend there are two time choices for a bargain price of $30; 9:30AM-11:30AM and 12PM-2PM (of course, I assume these prices are are subject to change over time). My 96 year old grandma is in town and I thought a brunch with my mom and 3 sisters would be a perfect outing for all 6 of us gals to enjoy.

Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.

Being that Valentine’s Day is this week I went with a Galentines theme for the brunch, hence all the heart balloons from Party City.

Galentine’s Balloons from Party City

Balloons are a hot commodity in our household right now, my boys love them so I figured I’d be able to double the use.

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Galentines Day Party
Photo Props from Target and Rose Gold Marble Pitcher from Keen Kutter. Enter code “sprinkledsunshinegift” in the comments section at checkout of Keen Kutter for a free candle gift with your purchase!
Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.

I booked the 9:30AM time slot for a Saturday. Unfortunately, one of my sisters had something come up for work and my mom and grandma stayed home due to the cold temperatures that we’ve had lately. In any case, the three of us went and we look forward to returning again in the future.

Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.
My youngest sis!
Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.
Second to youngest, and youngest sister -love them! Wish our other girls could have joined!

Lately the temps in our area have ranged anywhere from below 0 to mid-30s, we’ve had a few crazy days where it has been near 50 or so. The morning that we went it was pretty chilly, not single digit chilly, though. I also was carrying a lot of things to and from my jeep so I worked up a bit of a sweat -got my excercise in! Had that not been the case, I still would have been plenty warm. The Dome was nice and cozy upon arrival due to the space heaters that Allerton had running beforehand. All three of us were comfortable as can be and grandma would have been just fine had she come along.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center Dome Rental
Space heaters are the cute kind! Grabbed these cute paper mugs from Target.

Allerton also provided the gray throw blankets pictured below. Being the overprepared person that I am (sometimes), I grabbed some Opalhouse throws to have in addition and to give my sisters as part of their favor gifts. Ya’ll know I love coming up with cute ideas for favors! It was so cozy in the Dome that we didn’t have to use either of the throws.

Galentines Day Party at Allerton Park & Retreat Center in the Dome
Galentine’s Guest Favors
Mini cards from Checkered Moon and beauty items from Target…again. Love beauty and planet is seriously one of my favorite brands!

The Greenhouse Cafe, which is onsite, provides catering options for the Dome. The options aren’t available on the website yet, but will be soon. I was sent a menu to look over and the choices were mouthwatering and pricing was reasonable too.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center

I hope to go back for a date night and take advantage of the catering menu (hint, hint – Ben). I failed to place an order 48 hours in advance so opted to bring in my own food, an option that I love to have available.

Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.

Voss bottled water, Welch’s Sparkling Rosé Grape Juice (you can’t bring your own alcohol in – University policy), fresh berrries, cookies from Checkered Moon, and an assortment of baked goods from Pekara Bakery.

Galentines Day Tablespread
Fresh fruit for entertaining.
Galentines Treats
Chambana Baked Goods.
Pekara Bakery Scones
Allerton Park & Retreat Center Dome

A perfect little setting to catch up on each other’s lives. The natural aesthetic inside the Dome makes it adaptable for pretty much any occasion. Greenery, wood, and whites -you can’t go wrong. Get a group of friends and family together for brunch on the weekend, host a small bridal or baby shower, plan an intimate date night (maybe even a proposal!?), host a game night, eat a family dinner together (my 3 and 5 year old would be super excited about this), have a brainstorming session with work colleagues -the options are endless! Bottom line, I rate this rental an A+, you won’t find anything else like it in the Chambana area.

Girls Get-together at Allerton Park & Retreat Center -the dome.

I highly recommend checking it out -feel free to invite me too :-). If you haven’t ever been to Allerton Park & Retreat Center make sure to check out their website beforehand, plan your trip, and take advantage of everything that they have to offer. While you could spend hours simply touring and hiking the grounds, they also host events such as concerts, beer tastings, yoga, movie showings, races, and so forth -there is a little something for everyone.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center

If you choose to stay in the Allerton Mansion maybe you will even get a glimpse of the Lady in White…but seriously everyone, go check out the Dome at Allerton Park!

The Dome at Allerton Park & Retreat Center


2 responses to “Allerton’s New Hidden Gem”

  1. Maggie says:

    What a fun experience! I’ve lived in Champaign for 13 years and have never been to Allerton. Sounds like I need to remedy that!

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