Peoria, Illinois

The Illinois port was established in the north-central region of the state. Peoria is the third-largest city in the state following Springfield and Chicago. The scenic location also has a history that dates back to the 17th century. Today, there are many activities and attractions that entertain locals and residents alike.

City History

The French explorer Henri de Tonti founded the Illinois area in 1691, which was originally called Fort Clark. The name was changed in 1825 in order to commemorate the Native American people who made the location their home. A decade later, the town became an incorporated village and as a city in 1845. It was here in 1854 that Abraham Lincoln presented a speech speaking against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Demographics and Statistics

The 2010 census reported that the city had a population of 115,021 and 373590 in the greater metropolitan area. There are approximately 47,202 households. Statistics indicate that 29 percent have school-aged children. Peoria has four public schools that educate youngsters from kindergarten through high school. There are more than nine private schools in the city. Eight local institutions provide the opportunity for higher learning.

Transportation

The city has multiple state highways that pass through the city. These include Route 6, 8, 29, 40, 91, 116 and the future 336. The BNSF, CNR, Norfolk Southern and the Union Pacific Railroads all have hubs in the city. The General Wayne Downing Peoria International Airport services passengers and commercial clients. The mass transit district has 21 routes that carry passengers daily around the city.

Attractions

The Peoria Riverfront Museum contains exhibits related to art and science. The facility remains one of the most popular destinations in the city. The museum’s collection includes pieces representing the decorative, ethnographic, fine and folk arts. Exhibits also depict the natural sciences. There is also a planetarium and a giant screen theater.

The George L. Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden encompasses 4.5 acres and features an all-season garden, an herbal garden, a perennial garden and a rose garden. A 2,500 square foot conservatory houses orchids, other tropical plants and seasonal presentations.

The local zoo cares for animals from Africa, Asia and Australia. Boardwalks enable visitors to view the various species in a natural habitat like environment.

Guests have the opportunity to travel down the Illinois River on the authentic Spirit of Peoria paddlewheel riverboat. The vessel offers cruises that span one to five days. Special themed cruises are also offered. The Spirit holds up to 487 passengers and has four decks.

Additional Points of Interest

Grand View Drive spans 2.5 miles and meanders through the city and along the riverfront. Hiking, cycling or driving the road provides the chance to enjoy scenic views of the valley and historic or prestigious homes of the community. The Wildlife Prairie Park has miles of trails for hiking and cycling. The property is home to wildlife native to the state and additionally features a playground, restaurant, safari bus and a giant slide. The park also hosts seasonal events throughout the year.

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