Peoria Riverfront Museum: Take Two

A few months ago I wrote about the Peoria Riverfront Museum. We had taken our granddaughter to the museum over the Thanksgiving holiday. I made a return trip there last month, arriving shortly after the museum opened on Sunday. Being one of the first guests of the day, and without time constraints and holiday crowds, I was able catch things I didn’t see the first time around. I also had a chance to try more of the interactive exhibits, including those in the popular IHSA Peak Performance gallery.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

IHSA Peak Performance Gallery

Most everyone who grew up in Illinois is familiar with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The IHSA is the non-profit organization that leads interscholastic competition throughout the state. I’ve always connected the IHSA with sports. However, the organization goes beyond sports to scholastic challenges, debates, and chess. The museum’s IHSA Peak Performance gallery challenges your physical abilities as well as scholastic. I put myself to several tests.

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On the vertical reach, you touch the highest button you can with your feet flat on the ground and then hit the highest button you can reach as you jump.

Vertical reach 2Reaction time is tested by hitting buttons as they light up, similar to playing Whac-A-Mole without a mallet.

Reaction timeI tried the balance and arm strength tests, too, and discovered that I’m not as athletic as I was as a teenager.

I did better at basketball. The rotating basket makes it more challenging, but I really did get this one in.

BasketballAnd I did okay at dribbling the ball into each of the circles as they lit up.

DribbleI could boast that I had the best scores so far that day in everything I tried, but the truth is I was the first to try them that day.

The Pin Pixel was easier, pushing the pins from one side to create a 3-D image on the other side. I leaned my entire arm into the pins.

Pin Pixel

In other interactive stations, take the scholastic challenge, the school mascot challenge or look up school championship records.

More interactive museum fun

Elsewhere in the museum, I played with the locks and dam system, saw (but didn’t play in, although I was tempted) the areas designated for 0-6 year olds and 7-12 year olds, watched a father and son race the vehicles they made down a ramp and witnessed the magnification power of the 50 X hand-held microscope.

Locks demo

child area

child area water

Car races


There were other things that I missed the first time around, like the collections of duck decoys and arrowheads. Have you ever seen a meteorite? Everyone is invited to not only look, but to touch, the meteorite in the Peoria Riverfront Museum.



I learned more about Peoria’s history, and that the state fossil is the Tully Monster. Who knew?

Tully Monster

Sculpture garden

Because we were there at night on our last visit we had missed the outdoor sculpture garden.

Sculpture 2

Sculpture 1

Art exhibits change periodically, as do the IHSA challenges. I’ll have to go back again when they change the challenges and try to redeem myself.

If you visit the Peoria Riverfront Museum

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is located at 222 SW Washington Street, next to the Caterpillar Visitor CenterCheck the museum web site for hours, admission fees, and current exhibits and shows.

Accommodations: We stayed at the Mark Twain Hotel during our Peoria visit. Check hotel rates here.

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Peoria Riverfront Museum - 2


Disclosures:  My visit to the Peoria Riverfront Museum was hosted by the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the museum, However, any opinions expressed in this post are strictly mine.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through the “Check hotel rates” link above, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

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One thought on “Peoria Riverfront Museum: Take Two

  • January 12, 2015 at 8:11 am

    It’s awesome to hit up museums like these at less trafficked times/days– great to be able to see everything at your own pace. Thanks for sharing.


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