The City of Peoria sits on a river bluff looking on the Illinois River. Known as a mainstream American town, it is the birthplace of the famous "Will it play in Peoria?" phrase that belies its importance in the entertainment industry of the early 20th Century. Port of Peoria residents consider their city to be a smaller, less expensive Chicago. With an economy based on industry, the Port of Peoria has produced some very famous Americans: comedian Richard Pryor and author Betty Friedan to name two. The Port of Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau stands ready to help individuals and groups plan fun visits to the city.
The Port of Peoria has a humid continental climate with hot humid summers and cold snowy winters. Winters bring plenty of snow, and spring and fall tend to be rainy. Like other cities in this climate zone, the Port of Peoria experiences weather extremes. Temperatures range from an average high of 30° C (86°F) in July to an average low of -10°C (14°F) in January. The Port of Peoria gets about 36 inches of precipitation each year, most of it falling from April through October. Snowfall of 26 inches lasts from late November until early April.
The Port of Peoria's regional Lakeview Museum emphasizes science and art, and its rotating galleries change every few months. The Museum features an outstanding collection of regional folk art. A member of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum in the Port of Peoria is also a teaching facility with classes and activities for local schools. Visitors will enjoy the shows at the museum's Daily Planetarium. The collections at the Lakeview Museum include fine arts, natural sciences, decorative arts, ethnographic arts, and folk art.
Kids of all ages will want to visit the Peoria Zoo in Glen Oak Park. The zoo boasts a great collection of smaller animals like meerkats, monkeys, and cabybaras. Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, the Port of Peoria Park District operates the zoo. Major exhibits include the natural habitats and animals of Africa including White Rhinos, African Lions, Zebra, Gazelle, Mandrill, African Crested Porcupines among many others. The Asia section of the Port of Peoria Zoo displays Sichuan Takin, Amur Tigers, and Binturong. The Australia exhibit houses wallabies, emus, and black swans.
The Port of Peoria's Luthy Botanical Gardens in Glen Oak Park is a five-acre collection of native plants and ornamental collections that glorify spring and autumn colors. The Conservatory and theme gardens lend an air of traditional grace, and the rotating sculpture exhibit introduces magnificent art into the gardens. Theme gardens in the Port of Peoria Luthy Botanical Gardens include an herbs, roses, hosta, and woodlands. A plentiful gift shop offers just about everything a gardener could want including collectibles and jewelry. The Gardens also host a number of special events that bring music and art to the setting. Concerts at the Conservatory feature local jazz and blues, and there are several special-feature shows focusing on lilies, chrysanthemums, and poinsettias. For a very small admission, the gardens are open every day except Monday.
The Wheels O' Time Museum in the Port of Peoria is a fun attraction that presents the world of wheels whether they are in old washing machines, clocks, carnival machines, antique cars, farm equipment, or trains. The mechanical barbershop quartet of former US Presidents is a treat, and most of the exhibits contain old-fashioned and antique items. Open from May to October, this Port of Peoria museum is well worth the reasonable admission.