Perched on the Illinois River, Peoria is tied to the glory days of steamboat travel and is home to the Caterpillar Company, which revolutionised farming in America. You can explore historical museums, take steamboat cruises, hike through nature preserves and engage in family-friendly activities.
Things to do in Peoria
Stop at Peoria Riverfront Museum on SW Washington Street, which is filled with ethnographic arts, regional folk art and natural science-based exhibitions. It’s also home to a sculpture museum and first-class planetarium. At the Caterpillar Visitors Center, you’ll find retired CAT equipment, virtual rides and farm-related simulators.
The great outdoors in Peoria ranges from elaborate cultivated gardens to pristine nature preserves. Stroll Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden and pop into the conservatory to see rare orchids and tropical plants. Hike through forests and prairies at Forest Park Nature Center for spectacular views of the Illinois River.
Dedicated environments at Peoria Zoo include the Africa Exhibit, where you’ll enter the enclosure on boardwalks to view zebras, giraffes, gazelles and rhinos. You can also explore the Asian Trail and Australia Walk-About exhibits. Across the street, enjoy scavenger hunts, workshops and interactive displays at Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum.
Segway tour providers offer 30-minute to two-hour narrated Segway or Quadracycle glides along the Peoria Riverfront. In the evening, take a sunset cruise on the Spirit of Peoria, a genuine paddlewheel-driven vessel offering themed cruises, such as the Zombie, the Moonlight and Fireworks.
Getting around Peoria
You can rent a car at General Wayne A Downing Peoria International Airport, about 15 minutes’ drive from the city. Other transportation options include taxis, rideshares, bike shares and CityLink buses.