Neighborhood Spotlight: Peoria, IL
Peoria, the largest city located on the Illinois River, was founded in 1691 by the French explorer Henri de Tonti and is the oldest surviving European settlement in Illinois. The settlement was initially founded as Fort Crevecouer, transitioned into Fort Clark, and was eventually named after the local Peoria tribe, a member of the Illinois Confederation. The village of Peoria, Illinois as we know it today, was incorporated in March 1835. Peoria, Illinois is rich with history and activities for families and travelers of all ages, and makes for a great budget-friendly weekend trip.
The Peoria Zoo originated as Glen Oak Zoo in the 1800s, when a herd of elk was donated to the Peoria Park District. Since then, the zoo has undergone many changes and growing pains, and landed at its current space in 1997. Through its collection of animals and educational courses, the Peoria Zoo seeks to further the goals of conservation in the United States. The zoo in Peoria, Illinois, is a great place to visit that your whole family will enjoy. Tickets to enjoy the Peoria Zoo cost less than $10 each, making this activity budget-friendly.
Grand View Drive
Peoria, Illinois’ Grand View Drive and Park is another historical and family friendly activity in central Illinois. The drive is two and a half miles long and overlooks the Illinois River Basin. Drivers can stop at numerous historical residences along the way. There are even picnic tables, playgrounds and parking areas so you can stay a little longer and enjoy the area that President Theodore Roosevelt called, “The world’s most beautiful drive.” The best part? Grand View Drive is free to enjoy.
Luthy Botanical Garden
The Luthy Botanical Garden is another free, family-friendly attraction in Peoria, Illinois. The garden is home to a tropical conservatory, 15 theme gardens, floral shows, horticulture gardens, and a number of classes for adults and children to learn about the natural world around them. If you’re visiting in spring, summer, or fall, Luthy Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to enjoy the season – and it won’t break your budget. Though the garden is free to visit, donations are appreciated.
Peoria Riverfront Museum
The Peoria Riverfront Museum is a not-for-profit science, art, and history museum affiliated with the Smithsonian. The museum’s goal is to become an extension of the classroom, and students young and old can learn about everything from Renaissance Art to space to the American Revolution during a day-long visit to this Peoria, Illinois museum. Admission ranges from $9-$11, depending on age, and fits in perfectly to your budget vacation itinerary.
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