31 Unexpected Adventures


Discover Peoria


Whether your ideal adventure is a leisurely stroll, a wild night of cabaret and comedy, a perfect playground, gourmet foodie specialty bites, eclectic art galleries and home decor shops, history buff tours, a fashionista paradise of high-end designs, or unique whiskey heritage. Discover these unexpected tailor-made adventures.

Banner Marsh State Fish + Wildlife Area {Canton} // Breathe in the wild air at Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area, which covers 4,363 acres of land. Located just 25 miles southwest of Peoria on U.S. Route 24, Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is a beautiful destination for peaceful nature, clear water and plenty of birds and wildlife. Park activities include boating, fishing, hunting, dog training and wildlife observation, but this destination is especially known for fishing. No matter if you prefer boat or bank fishing, there’s plenty of water for fishing at this location and numerous species of fish including walleye, sunfish and northern carp.

Bicycle Safety Town {Peoria} // Most kids look forward to the day they will be able to get behind the wheel and out onto the road. Thanks to the Peoria Park District, they don’t need to wait to make this dream a reality. With nearly 4,000 feet of one-way streets, bridges, fun curves, and 70 various traffic signs + traffic signals, Bicycle Safety Town allows kids to hit the road and ride bicycles at a safe and unique venue.

Breweries {Peoria, Metamora, Peoria Heights} // Peoria may be the Whiskey City, but it’s also a great place for a beer! With 7 (soon to be 9) breweries in the region, they all offer tasty, sudsy brews—each with its own unique personality. Check out these beloved breweries and take a growler home with you.

Caterpillar Visitors Center {Peoria} // This one-of-a-kind museum is a great way to spend an afternoon. As the hometown of Caterpillar, this interactive and educational stop in Peoria is a fascinating exhibit showcasing the history and innovations throughout the growth of Caterpillar, Inc. Get up close and personal with Caterpillar diggers, massive machinery, and vehicles from modern to vintage. Experience hands-on activities like the backhoe digital simulator, exploring the cab of a real bulldozer, and measuring up to a life-sized Cat 797F Mining Truck tire—a massive two-and-a-half story machine.

Central Illinois Ballet + Peoria Ballet {Peoria} // Peoria is home to two professional ballet companies offering spectacular dance performances year-round with guest artists from across the globe. These companies unite tradition and innovation in world-class performances, bringing the magic of Ballet to life for children, teens, and adults of all ages.

Contemporary Art Center {Peoria} // The Contemporary Art Center is Peoria’s cultural hub, featuring art exhibitions, artist studios, art instruction, comedy improv, poetry nights, yoga + tai chi classes, and jazz + blues performances. The Contemporary Art Center exhibits the work of living artists at the forefront of their fields. About 20 resident artists are constantly creating art on-site as well as prolific artist and co-founder Preston Jackson continues to maintain his sculpture and painting studio.

Dickson Mounds State Museum {Lewistown} // Dickson Mounds, a branch of the Illinois State Museum, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the most notable on-site archaeological museums in the United States. This historical site offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of the American Indians in an awe-inspiring journey through 12,000 years in the Illinois River Valley.

Dome Planetarium {Peoria} // Experience the vivid sights of space and a bright ‘real-sky’ at Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Dome Planetarium. The Uniview technology uses real-time satellite feed plus the latest digital astronomical data to provide viewers with the most timely, realistic and accurate full-color view of our Universe. Relax on incredible, guided trips from the solar system through the galaxy and across the Universe—without ever leaving Peoria!

Eagles Landing Observation Tower {Chillicothe} // Take a walk on the wild side at Cutright Park. With a 50-foot-tall observation tower, you can easily spot different animals along the Illinois River. A staircase and two telescopes allow visitors the perfect view of wildlife. Relax in nature as you spot different wildlife with a birds-eye view. Who wouldn’t want to see majestic creatures close up!? You won’t want to miss this river view! You won’t want to miss this river view, and with wildlife and birds at every corner, you can explore the park as well. You’ll have so much fun it should be ill-eagle.

Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge {Havana} // Wander where the wifi is weak at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest. Explore 11,122 acres of wetlands, lakes, forests, bluffs and prairies. This land represents the abundant natural resources that have supported over 600 generations of civilization and feature many diverse communities of plants and animals. With boardwalks, canoe launches and hiking trails, there’s so much to do and explore. Seek adventure by fishing, bird-watching or boating. Who knows what species you will discover as you spend time on this beautiful land.

Fon du Lac Farm Park {East Peoria} // Fon du Lac Farm Park offers visitors a unique glimpse of Central Illinois farm life in the 1920’s. 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.

Fort Crèvecoeur {Creve Coeur} // Fort Crèvecoeur was the first public building erected by Europeans within the boundaries of the modern state of Illinois and the first fort built in the West by the French. The location is now home to a historical recreation of the 1680 fort established by Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and Henri de Tonti. The fort annually holds interpretive historic events and is available to tour.

Fulton Sheen Museum {Peoria} // Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen is known for his contribution to television and radio earning him two Emmy Awards as one of the first televangelists in the nation. Fulton Sheen never forgot his Peoria roots or his home diocese. The Sheen Museum is located on the same historic campus where young Fulton Sheen graduated Cathedral grade school. The museum displays a wide variety of artifacts from the Archbishop’s life and journey to sainthood, including writings, books, photos, a selection of his vestments + Episcopal regalia, and many other personal + religious artifacts.

Golf Courses {Peoria, Canton, Lacon, Toluca, Pekin, Washington, Metamora, Elmwood, Eureka, East Peoria, Secor, El Paso, Bartonville, Minier, Edelstein, Peoria Heights} // Get into the swing of things with some ‘tee‘-rific golf courses in Greater Peoria, including several hidden gems that are occasionally overlooked. Discover where to tee off next.

Grand View Drive {Peoria Heights} // Peoria’s famous Grandview Drive wasn’t named “the most beautiful drive in the world” for no reason! Hop in the car and cruise down this 2.5-mile scenic drive for unforgettable sunset views over the Illinois River. With lookouts all along the route, feel free to pull over and get settled at the picnic benches and take it all in. Whether you are in the car or having a picnic on the grass, the sunsets on Grandview Drive are truly unmatched!

Historical Tours {Peoria} // Did you know that Peoria was once the Whiskey Capital of the World? The Greater Peoria Area is packed with history and stories that have led it to become the region we know and love today. The Peoria Historical Society provides the opportunity to learn about the region with their summer and fall walking and bus tours. Walking tours include destinations filled with adventures, such as Moss Avenue and Grandview Drive. With many options for themed bus tours, you’re sure to find a topic that sparks your interest. Discover Peoria’s most notorious crime, the Bernie Shelton murder, or explore the darker side of the city with the Haunted Peoria and Springdale Cemetery tours.

Luthy Botanical Gardens {Peoria} // Take a visit to Glen Oak Park and stroll through Luthy Botanical Garden, which features over five acres of stunning gardens, tropical greenhouses, and seasonal botanical shows. Be amazed by the beauty of various flowers from around the globe, the display of blooms, and the range of vibrant colors.

Metamora Courthouse Historic Site {Metamora} // Experience a slice of history at the historic Metamora Courthouse—best known for being one of only two surviving Illinois circuit courthouses where future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln practiced law. Now, a museum dedicated to early local history, the 1850s court system, and Lincoln’s journey as he traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
Be sure to grab a photo opp in the Metamora Square across from the Courthouse with the life-sized bronze statue of Lincoln, which stands side-by-side with Melissa Goings, his last Woodford County client on trial for murder.

Par-A-Dice Casino {East Peoria} // Docked upon the Illinois River, the Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino couples Las Vegas excitement with the finest Central Illinois hospitality. Four decks offer a wide selection of new slots, old favorites, and a magnitude of casino table games. Grab some excellent cuisine at one of many on-location restaurants, and try your luck on a day at the boat!

Peoria Civic Center {Peoria} // The Peoria Civic Center is the premier arena and concert hall playing host to professional sports events, concerts, theater events, and more. The arena, theater, ballrooms, exhibit halls, and flexible meeting space is home to Bradley University Braves men’s basketball, the Peoria Rivermen hockey team, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, and Peoria Ballet. The Peoria Civic Center is also home to Ameren Illinois Broadway, which features the best in Broadway right here in Peoria! Check the Discover Peoria Calendar of Events for shows, games, and performances at the Civic Center.

Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park {Peoria} // Dozer Park, home to the Peoria Chiefs, the St. Louis Cardinals high Class A minor league franchise, play from April through early September. Dozer Park is booming during the summertime with crowds of fun. Enjoy America’s Pastime, the famous mascot Homer’s dancing skills, and numerous nightly crowd contests. Check the Discover Peoria Calendar of Events for the game schedule.

Peoria 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. It features major traveling exhibitions, a permanent collection, interactive galleries, a dome planetarium, giant screen theater, and educational programming.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra {Peoria} // The Peoria Symphony Orchestra presents excellent live musical performances, innovative music education programs, and engaging community outreach efforts, which significantly impact the cultural life of Central Illinois. This professional orchestra was founded in 1897 and attracts world-renowned artists as guest soloists. Join the PSO for its 126th season performing through April 2024.

Peoria Zoo {Peoria} // Visit all of your favorite animals as you walk through Africa and discover the Asian Trail. Stop into the Tropics building to see snakes, geckos, spiders and bats. Walk through the Australia Walk-About and come eye to eye with emu and wallabies. Feed the budgies, and hang out with donkeys and goats at the contact barn. The Peoria Zoo is more than just viewing animals, take advantage of their many opportunities for learning and interaction through camps, classes, tours and programs. This destination is the perfect balance of sun and shade, and relaxation and learning. It’s easy to spend the day exploring, don’t miss the daily presentations and stop into the Safari Gift Shop on your way out to shop for eco-friendly products.

Rock Island Trail {Toulon > Peoria} // Escape the city traffic and experience the natural and architectural attractions of Rock Island Trail State Park, a 26-mile-long trail that stretches from Alta to Toulon, passing through Peoria and its surrounding areas. The trail earned its name because it runs along the old train lines of the Rock Island Railroad Company trains that once ran passengers through our region. As you follow the trail, see what wildlife you come across! Tall prairie grasses and wildflowers allow visitors to experience what Illinois was like to its early settlers. Take a break and adventure through undisrupted nature, taking part in activities such as camping, hiking and skiing. This destination is especially popular for mountain biking, so get ready to shift your gears!

Ronald Raegan Museum {Eureka} // Nestled on the historic Eureka College campus is the Ronald Reagan Museum and Peace Garden. Explore over 10,000 items from President Reagan’s student days on campus, his acting career, California governorship, and two terms as President of the United States of America, collected since 1975. You can even find a section of the Berlin Wall!

Sand Ridge State Forest {Forest City} // This destination is the largest of Illinois’ state forests with over 7000 acres of land. Experience native oak-hickory woodland, pine plantations, open fields, unique sand prairies and grasslands. The amount of unspoiled nature offers a truly unique opportunity for adventuring and exploring wildlife. We have nothing to lose and a world to see! Enjoy recreational activities like archery, camping, mountain biking, snowmobile trails, skiing, geocaching and equestrian trails.

Tower Park {Peoria Heights} // Tower Park is a gathering place for the community complete with a staged gazebo, wishing fountain, playground, and a 200-foot water tower—complete with three observation decks. The lookout allows for panoramic views of the Peoria Area and breathtaking sunsets like you’ve never experienced before. Community festivals and gatherings are often held here, so don’t be shocked if you stumble across live music, food trucks, and local vendors.

Wheels ‘O Time {Dunlap} // Open from May to October, the Wheels O’ Time Museum encompasses five buildings with more than 30,000-square-feet of restored national and local treasures. Begun as an automobile museum by two Caterpillar, Inc. retirees, the museum has since grown to house one of the most diverse collections of nostalgia in the Midwest.

Wineries {Mackinaw, Lewistown, Metamora, Canton, Manito, Washington} // Come explore the unique wineries Greater Peoria has to offer. From horse-drawn carriages to endless acres of captivating views, stop into these 7 wineries for tours and tastings, trivia nights, murder mystery dinners, concerts and live music or for a stroll through the grapevines to get away from the hustle and bustle of today’s hectic world.

Wildlife Prairie Park {Hanna City} // You will feel wild and free exploring the 60 different species and 150 animals at Wildlife Prairie Park. Listed as a top 10 destination to visit in Illinois, Wildlife Prairie Park is known not only for being a hidden gem in our area, but also as a great destination for family fun. Different daily program offerings ensure that every visit to Wildlife Prairie Park is unique and holds its own excitement. Discover wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bears, stunning natural landscapes and more. With animal trails, fishing, educational programs and lodging, there’s plenty of opportunity for recreation at Wildlife Prairie Park as well.

Discover Peoria
Discover Peoria, IL