24 Must-Visit Springtime Activities


Emma Bakken, Guest Writer


April showers bring May flowers! As the rain begins to clear and the temperature starts to rise, take advantage of the many adventures and locations to explore during one of Greater Peoria’s most beautiful seasons: springtime.

12 Bar Lounge {Peoria Heights} // There’s no shortage of beautiful views at 12 Bar Lounge, located in Peoria Heights. Start off the spring season with a quality and delicious meal, and indoor or outdoor rooftop seating featuring an outdoor fireplace. Enjoy local live music, draft beer and a selection of hand-crafted cocktails.

Bushwhacker {Peoria} // Now that the weather is warmer, it’s time to ditch your car and hit the bike trails. Make Bushwhacker, located in the Junction City Shopping Center your go-to destination for any outdoor gear you may need this spring. Stop in and browse their huge selection of bikes, boats and spring footwear and apparel.

Cyd’s in the Park {Peoria} // Located in Donovan Park, Cyds in the Park offers outdoor patio dining, making it the ideal spot for an outdoor spring-time meal. Choose from a full lunch and dinner menu and enjoy a casual and relaxing experience. Don’t forget to end your meal with a dessert from their bakery.

Dozer Park {Peoria} // Spring is here, and so is baseball season. Dozer park is home to the Peoria Chiefs, which have a full spring schedule, packed with exciting games running until mid September. Get ready to enjoy all your favorite ballpark snacks and cheer on your favorite team!

Eagles Landing Park {Chillicothe} // Have you ever been bird watching? Eagles Landing Park is the perfect springtime destination, featuring a 50-foot tall observation tower that will give visitors the chance to scope out eagles, wildlife and birds along the Illinois River. You never know what animals you might spot!

Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge {Lewistown} // Enjoy the spring weather and get some sun at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in Havana. This beautiful destination has many bird watching platforms as well as recreational activities including hunting, fishing and hiking. Enjoy the abundant communities of wildlife, fish and plants as well as wetlands, lakes, prairies, forests and bluffs.

Fon du Lac Farm Park {East Peoria} // Fon du Lac Farm Park offers children a unique glimpse of what 1920’s farm life was like on a Central Illinois farm. Enclosed within six acres of Neumann Park, Farm Park includes a country kitchen museum, playgrounds, a silo slide, gift shop, concession stand, and (of course) an opportunity to meet, pet and feed the animals. Spring is an exciting time to visit the farm—there are always new baby animals to meet.

Forest Park Nature Center {Peoria Heights} // Get outdoors this spring by taking a visit to Forest Park Nature Center. Enjoy seven miles of hiking trails, featuring prairie openings and forested woodlands. Guided hiking tours are also available, and you can end your day outdoors by browsing their gift shop.

Hoerr Nursery {Peoria} // Looking for a one-stop shop for all things plants and gardening? You have to take a visit to Hoerr Nursery, where you can wander through the beautiful grounds and greenhouses and find the perfect plants for your landscape or home. When you’re done, shop from a selection of gifts and boutique items.

Luthy Botanical Garden {Peoria} // Take a visit to Glen Oak Park and stroll through Luthy Botanical Garden, which features over five acres of gardens and a tropical conservatory. You will be amazed by the beauty of various flowers from around the globe, the display of spring blooming bulbs and the range of vibrant colors.

Mineral Springs Park {Pekin} // Mineral Springs Park should be your next outdoor springtime destination. Whether you decide to relax under the pavilion, or spend your day paddle boating on the lagoon, you’re sure to get some sun and enjoy the spring weather.

Oliver’s Main Street Pub {Toluca} // Head out to the charming Downtown Toluca and enjoy a meal at Oliver’s Main Street Pub. This gastropub features fresh, homemade pub food and a selection of craft beers. Plus, you can’t beat their famous pizza, juicy burgers and outdoor seating.

Pearce Community Center {Chillicothe} // With the warm weather approaching, now is the perfect time for swimming lessons. Pearce Community Center offers lessons for ages 4 and up, teaching both basic and fundamental swimming skills. Develop your swimming skills and you’ll be ready to hit the pools in no time.

Peoria Zoo {Peoria} // Celebrate spring by taking a visit to the Peoria Zoo, where you can spend the day enjoying the spring weather and discover many unique animal exhibits. Visit your favorite animals as you walk through Africa, the Asian Trail, the Tropics Building and the Australia Walk-About. Make sure you don’t miss their daily presentations!

Picket Fence Garden Center {Chillicothe} // Nothing screams spring like flowers and gardens! Picket Fence Garden Center has one of the best greenhouses in the area, bursting with color and texture. Select from a huge variety of flowers and plants, and get some spring-time shopping done in their boutique. Packed with gifts and accessories including home decor, jewelry and gourmet foods, you’re sure to find something to love.

Quail Meadows Golf Course {Washington} // Springtime brings with it golfing season, and Quail Meadows Golf Course is a great location to visit and get in a round. You will surely enjoy your game on this course featuring beautiful scenery, water, and many naturalized areas that are home to a variety of birds and animals. While you’re there, get some extra practice at the golf simulator or driving range. You might even spot some wildlife.

Riverfront Museum {Peoria} // Take a trip to the Peoria Riverfront Museum and discover something new. This Peoria gem is the only multidisciplinary museum of its kind in the nation! The Peoria Riverfront Museum uses art, science, history and achievement to inspire confidence, lifelong learning, and talent.

Sculpture Walk {Peoria} // Get outside this spring and discover all of the public art that Downtown Peoria has to offer. The Peoria Sculpture Walk offers the experience of learning about each art piece and its artist as you walk through Downtown Peoria and find the different sculptures placed throughout the area. Get some fresh air and explore our region at the same time.

Seasons Gastropub {Morton} // Take a trip to Seasons Gastropub for phenomenal food, great wines, craft beer and live entertainment. Their beautiful indoor seating with open-air garage doors and an outdoor patio ensures you will experience the beauty of the spring season during your meal.

Spoon River Junction Winery {Canton} // Visit the tasting room at Spoon River Junction Winery for a unique wine tasting experience! Spoon River Junction creates creative wines for adventurous people that not only taste amazing, but incorporate new and unique blends of flavors. Spend a day tasting all of their sweet and dry wines, shopping from their wine selection and spending time on their new outdoor patio.

Stag Tap {Havana} // Located in the middle of downtown Havana, Stag Tap is a local favorite destination to unwind, grab a drink and have some fun! Known for their beautiful outdoor beer garden, soak up some sun this spring and enjoy the company of others, good food, cold drinks and live music. While you’re there, take advantage of their karaoke, video gaming and pool tables.

Uncle Bob’s Ice Cream {Eureka} // Cool down this spring with fresh, homemade ice cream from Uncle Bob’s Ice Cream. Uncle Bob’s has been serving the area with classic and unique ice cream flavor combinations since 1980. Treat yourself and make the trip next time you’re craving something sweet.

Wildlife Prairie Park {Hanna City} // Make Wildlife Prairie Park your go-to destination this spring for outdoor adventuring. Home to 60 different species, all ages will love the beautiful nature views and discovering over 150 animals. With daily programs offered, every visit to Wildlife Prairie Park is full of excitement.

picket fence mineral springs park

(left) Picket Fence in Chillicothe, Illinois (right) Mineral Springs Park in Pekin, Illinois

Emma Bakken, Guest Writer