The paper has been ripped off and thrown out. New toys are scattered all about. The Elf has left the shelf.
“Mom, I’m Bored!” is starting to ring throughout the air.
Schools out, but winter break is still in full swing Looking for something to do? Pack the kids in the car for a day trip to our neighbors in the West! The activities listed are open during winter break- but note that a few of the locations are closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
What Plays in Peoria? A lot of fun for families!
Our day trip includes: A Zoo, Bass Pro Outdoor World, hands-on fun at the Riverfront Museum, hanging with some big Cat’s at Caterpillar Visitor’s Center, visiting with some native animals at the Wildlife Prairie State Park, and then catching the East Peoria Festival of Lights on your way back to Champaign-Urbana, Peoria is close enough for a day trip, and packed with family fun.
We featured the Peoria Zoo this summer, but zoos aren’t just for when it is balmy outside. If the weather allows, letting your little ones run outside and burn off steam while looking for their favorite animals is a great way to spend a couple of hours in the winter time. Zoos are less crowded in the winter, and some of the animals more dynamic when they aren’t battling the Central Illinois heat and humidity. The Peoria Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday, but is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 2218 N Prospect Rd, Peoria. (309) 686-3365.
East Peoria Bass Pro Shop: A true destination shopping experience, the Bass Pro Shops and Outdoor Center caters to families with an indoor bowling alley, restaurants, and tons of animals mounts to inspect. The Bass Pro Shops have an indoor fresh water aquarium complete with fish feedings. Hours: Bass Pro Shops. 1000 Bass Pro Shops Drive. East Peoria. (309) 427-3400.
Peoria Riverfront Museum: Another road trip feature on our site this summer, this family-friendly museum is also perfect for a winter day’s excursion. Featuring a Titanic exhibit until April, holiday week boredom buster events, planetarium, and more. Peoria Riverfront Museum Hours: Sunday 12 p.m.- 5 p.m.,Tuesday- Friday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Closed most Mondays, but open Jan. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 222 SW Washington St. Peoria. (309) 686-7000.
Caterpillar Visitors Center: Have a tractor enthusiast in the family? Make a pit stop at the Caterpillar visitors center on the Peoria river front. A list of exhibits includes a virtual mining truck experience, heritage gallery, and Visualization Center (where your future engineers can dream up their own massive digging vehicles.) We’ve not been here yet, but I’ve heard that it is really cool, and my husband (who had a Cat internship once upon a time) is chomping at the bit to go. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Last ticket sale and entry is at 3:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and holidays. 110 SW Washington St. Peoria. (309) 675-0606.
Wildlife Prairie State Park: We featured this hidden gem park last spring, and it is open seven days a week year-round (excluding some holidays, so check the website; they don’t publish the full list). It is definitely on our list of places to visit- either winter or summer! The park is located just outside of Peoria, and is home to over 150 animals. Guests of Wildlife Prairie State Park can learn about wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bears, elk, cougar, otter and much more. Wildlife Prairie State Park. (309) 676-0998 3826 N. Taylor Road. Hanna City, IL 61536.
Festival of Lights East Peoria, IL (FOLEPI): My kids go to this Christmas Light event every year with a family friend, and they have labeled it “The Best Lights in Central Illinois.” The drive-through electric park is the Festival of Lights’ signature event, this year featuring a new route! Folepi’s Winter Wonderland features the majority of the Parade of Lights floats and many other lighted displays. The popular ski jumper display will still be featured in Winter Wonderland along with the Parade of Lights floats, traditional displays including lighted arches and circus animals, the Western town, and holiday carolers; and some two-dimensional displays that have not been included in the event for 10 years or more. Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday- Thursday. 5 p.m.- 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Open until December 31, 2013. Admission $10 per car. Folepi’s Winter Wonderland. 123 Par 3 Lane, East Peoria, IL 61611 (in VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road.)
Are you getting ready to take a family day trip? What’s your favorite thing to see and do in Peoria?
Some ideas on trips you can take with your family:
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- Road Trip: Visiting Wisconsin Dells
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- Winter Break Day Trip: Family Fun in Peoria
- Travel Back in Time at Lincoln Log Cabin