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IHSA March Madness in Peoria

IHSA March Madness in Peoria

For the 23rd year, Peoria hosts IHSA March Madness!

The March Madness Experience is a family-centered extravaganza of basketball, interactive games, good times, historical exhibits, and- most importantly- a lot of fun!

The city of Peoria has hosted the event since 1996 so this year will be the 23rd time that the city can proudly accommodate the event and the tens of thousands that will enjoy this fantastic sports-related manifestation.

March Madness has for all those years been an integral part of the Peoria Boys State Finals. The event is located just across the Carver Arena where the tournament takes place.

The March Madness Experience is filling up the huge Exhibition Hall of the Peoria Civic Center and it is freely accessible to game ticket holders and everyone else pays just $2 to enjoy the event. Once you’re inside, there is no charge whatsoever to enjoy any of the great attractions.  So when you visit the Illinois Boys State Finals, there’s nothing that should hold you from enjoying the March Madness Experience as well in Peoria.

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The rich history of Abraham Lincoln’s hometown

The rich history of Abraham Lincoln’s hometown

Are you a history buff and fan of our 16th president? If so, then you’ll love diving into the rich history Abraham Lincoln’s hometown has to offer! The state’s capital, Springfield, is home to more Lincoln sites than anywhere else in the nation. Explore everything from Abe’s house to his outstanding presidential museum with these three must-see suggestions!

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Start the historic journey by traveling back in time to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The intimate tour gives visitors a look at the Lincoln Home, the only house Honest Abe ever owned. Located in a quiet four-block neighborhood, the house gives a glimpse into what life was like with his wife, children, and friends in Springfield.

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The City of Peoria, Illinois

The City of Peoria, Illinois

The City of Peoria offers you big city amenities and entertainment with the feeling of a small town setting. The city is located in the heart of Illinois, about halfway between the major urban metro conglomerates of Chicago and St. Louis.

Peoria is beautifully nestled on the banks of the Illinois River and boasts a vibrant riverfront area where many festivals and concerts take place. This is also the spot for some fine dining, grab a bite when you feel like, or stroll some of the breathtaking trails Peoria has to offer.

Peoria has so many amenities to offer. From the best in outdoor recreation to several great golf courses, from bringing your entire family for a great day at the Peoria Zoo to watching elk and buffalo that can freely roam the city’s Wildlife Prairie Park, be sure to have a great experience that certainly won’t disappoint you.

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Exploring Illinois’ Amish Country

Exploring Illinois’ Amish Country

If you’re seeking a unique cultural experience in Illinois, Rockome Gardens, located in Arcola in the state’s Amish countryside, is a great destination to explore!

Rockome offers an Amish country tour, guiding visitors through a variety of destinations in the area – a truly authentic Amish experience. One stop on the tour is the Illinois Amish Museum, which takes tourists through a number of exhibits that tells stories of the Amish people and the history of the Amish settlement from its start in 1865.

Additional destinations and activities on the tour allow visitors to experience the lifestyle of the Amish community through traditional experiences. Some of those opportunities include touring an Amish home, enjoying a meal at the table, and meeting an Amish woodworker.

Beyond the home experience, visitors also have the chance to view the lush countryside. During this time, a well-informed tour guide highlights the farms, homes, schools, and businesses in the area, explaining how they relate to the Amish way of life.

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Bradley University Braves Basketball

Bradley University Braves Basketball

The Peoria Civic Center is also home to Bradley University’s Men’s Basketball team that plays its home games at the Carver Arena, the centerpiece of the Civic Center. Check out this 2016 video of Bradley’s Braves:

In 1902, Bradley University, a mid-sized, top-ranked, private university, introduced basketball. Initially, the Bradley team played its home games in downtown Peoria, at the YMCA sports center. Through the years, the Bradley Braves Basketball Team moved twice moved to play their home games. First to the Hewitt Gymnasium at the school’s hilltop campus where they played from 1909 to 1924, and from 1949 to 1982 the Braves played their home games at the Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse. Eventually, they came back to downtown Peoria in 1982 to the Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center.

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Starved Rock State Park – Great Outdoor adventures

Starved Rock State Park – Great Outdoor adventures

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois, just about an hour and a half drive northeast of Peoria. Winter offers a whole new world of opportunities at Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park. For those who love the peaceful wintry scenery, venturing to Starved Rock in the winter provides an entirely different experience than other times of the year.

Maybe you’ll spy a view otherwise obstructed by trees full of leaves in the summer, or perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of some wintertime wildlife. No matter the experience, there’s something special about nature in the winter. Crisp cool air beckons hikers to cross through frozen terrain while the crunch of snow underfoot keeps the time of a march along the trail.

Starved Rock State Park and the area around Utica offers many winter experiences for you to take part in, such as beautiful hiking trails and outdoor activities. While snow is on the ground, visitors can take advantage of cross-country ski rentals at nearby Matthiessen State Park.

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Peoria Rivermen Hockey Team

Peoria Rivermen Hockey Team

The Peoria Rivermen Hockey team is based in Peoria and the team has played in the Southern Professional Hockey League (Minor Professional hockey) since 2013. The Rivermen’s home base is the Carver Arena in the Peoria Civic Center.

This is actually the third franchise that uses the name “Peoria Rivermen” as they started off in October 2005. it is, in fact, the oldest hockey franchise extant in the minor league previously playing under the names the Springfield Indians and the Worcester IceCatsand.

Overall. the franchise is the fourth oldest in the National Hockey League behind the Canadian teams Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the US Boston Bruins.

The Peoria Rivermen is among North America’s longest-running hockey teams and they have been continuously operational since the season of 1982-83 when they played in the International Hockey League as the Peoria Prancers.

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Peoria County Schools

Peoria County Schools

Over one hundred years have passed since the organizing of the first school in Peoria County.  With each ensuing year, our older settlers become fewer and our existing possibilities, to gather data about our early education, melts away as snow before a tropic sun.

With these thoughts in mind, and a desire to preserve the interesting activities of our forefathers, we have tried to secure from all the school districts, a brief history of the educational activities from the earliest time.

From these historical reports, we find that the first school taught within the boundaries of Peoria County as it now is, was taught by Peter Grant at Fort Clark in 1821. This school and the subsequent schools until 1855, were, for the most part, provided for and operated as a subscription school.  Isaac Essex, who was appointed a teacher to the Indians by Rev. Jesse Walker, taught the hero of Methodism in Illinois the second school.  Although this school was intended more especially for Indian children, white children were permitted to attend.

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Peoria Civic Center

Peoria Civic Center

Peoria Civic Center, with its centerpiece the Carver Arena, is the city’s top-notch sporting venue that is home to Peoria’s best sports teams,  the Peoria Rivermen Hockey Team, Bradley Braves Basketball Team in Carver Arena, and the Civic Center is also host to March Madness, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Boys’ Basketball tournament that’s organized here for the 23rd time.

Peoria’s sports teams never fail to demonstrate athleticism and enthusiasm to their great and loyal fans, so when the residents of the greater Peoria region feel like enjoying a hockey match or basketball game, they will come to the city’s Civic Center. There is no sporting venue in the city that can match the Peoria Civic Center.

The Civic Center was one of the main efforts when the city’s downtown area was redeveloped. The venue is not only an important sporting venue for the city’s residents, it plays a vital role as well for the entire Central Illinois region as it offers world-class sports events in a top-notch facility.

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The Presidents of Illinois

The Presidents of Illinois

Illinois has a history as rich as its food – and if you don’t believe us, just take a trip to Springfield and grab a horseshoe sandwich! Illinois is home to some of the United States’ most famous presidents, and history buffs can find information about these American leaders in all corners of the state.

But, if quirky facts are more your style, take a look below at a few little-known details about these great American leaders.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, 1861-1865

Likely the most widely recognized Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln is more than just a former president: he is a state icon. But, Honest Abe is not just known for his policy. With his large frame and long limbs, the tallest president of the U.S. is also enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. According to history.com, Lincoln has an impressive track record of only being defeated once in nearly 300 matches.

Learn more about Lincoln at one of these exciting Springfield attractions:

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site

Mini Abe knows he’s number one!

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