The historic city of Peoria is located on the beautiful Illinois River. The city is offering quite a few unique museums and attractions, and there are many interesting activities. You can explore Peoria’s Caterpillar Visitor Center, pay a visit to the city’s Riverfront Museum, take a stroll through the beautiful Luthy Botanical Garden that includes a beautiful and one-of-a-kind conservatory that’s full of tropical plants and orchids. Family attractions include the Peoria Zoo, the Forest Park Nature Center, and the marvelous PlayHouse Children’s Museum.
Caterpillar Visitor Center
At the Caterpillar Visitor Center, you will get introduced into the rich history and the world of the Caterpillar Company. The company dates back to 1886 when engineer Benjamin Holt constructed the world’s first combined harvester. Over the years, Caterpillar has evolved into a leading manufacturer of an impressive variety of bulldozers, construction equipment, farm implements, and tractors. Caterpillar has been a world-renown company for many decades and the company has been helping with several large-scale projects such as the construction and widening of the Panama Canal. The company also played an important role in developing and engineering equipment for the famous Apollo 11 mission. The Caterpillar Visitor Center opened in 2012 and offers visitors a fascinating look into the company’s impressive and long history.
Caterpillar Visitor Center, 110 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602, Ph: (309) 675-0606
The phenomenal Peoria Zoo is operated by its owner, the Peoria Park District. Peoria Zoo started out as Glen Oak Zoo in the late 1800s when the city’s Park District received a herd of elk as a donation. Over the years, the Peoria Zoo expanded several times which caused the zoo to relocate as many times. Today, visitors can enjoy exhibits like the zoo’s Africa Exhibit that has been around since 2009. This is a very special exhibit as visitors can walk through an enclosure on boardwalks to look at animals like giraffes, gazelles, zebras, rhinos, and more. Other exhibits at the Peoria Zoo include the Australian Walk-About and the Asian Trail.
Peoria Zoo, 2320 N Prospect Rd, Peoria, IL 61603, Ph: (309) 686-3365
Peoria Riverfront Museum
This impressive Art & Science Museum belongs to Peoria’s top attractions. The Peoria Riverfront Museum includes permanent collections of the finest artifacts and pieces of folk art, decorative art, natural science, ethnographic art, fine art, and a lot more. The museum also features temporary exhibits and offers displays such as GENOME (Unlocking Life’s Codes) and Titanic (The Artifact Exhibition). The complex additionally houses a planetarium, a sculpture museum, and a giant-screen theater. School field trips and groups are welcome and the museum also offers the Riverfront Museum Bus for rent that holds 28 individuals who need transportation. Read more about the City of Peoria right here.
Peoria Riverfront Museum, 222 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602, Ph: (309) 686-7000
Luthy Botanical Garden
Luthy Botanical Garden is named in memory of George L. Luthy. The Garden is located in Glen Oak Park, comprises 4.5 acres, and includes conservatory. Luthy Botanical Garden was established in 1951 and offers an interesting variety of individual gardens such as a herb garden, an all-season garden, a perennial garden, and a rose garden, just to mention a few. The botanical garden houses many species and varieties of plants with an emphasis on herbs, annuals, roses, hosta, and perennials. The conservatory is a 2,500 square ft-facility that offers seasonal displays and houses many orchids and a variety of tropical plants. If you visit Peoria, Abraham Lincoln’s hometown, Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden is a must-visit place.
Luthy Botanical Garden, 2520 N Prospect Rd, Peoria, IL 61603, Ph: (309) 681-3506
PlayHouse Children’s Museum
You can find the PlayHouse Children’s Museum in the Pavilion of Glen Oak Park, next to the Peoria Zoo. At this great museum, your children will be inspired to learn through a variety of fun and educational activities. The museum could be built thanks to Peoria’s Junior League and the facility is available to all children no matter their background or skills. The museum features a great program called Tot Time which is a 1-hour-long activity that’s available on Mondays and Wednesdays and includes scavenger hunts, read-along activities, and programs around themes like colors, animals, or shapes. Some other of the museum’s programs include Transformation Events, Family Workshops, and Kids Workshops. Thre’s also the possibility to rent the museum for special events such as birthday parties. Read more about Peoria County Schools here.
PlayHouse Children’s Museum, 2218 N Prospect Road, Peoria, IL 61603, Ph: (309) 323-6900
In a next post, we’ll highlight some more interesting places in Peoria