Peoria, nestled along the Illinois River, is in the central portion of Illinois. This city of around 115,000, as of the 2010 U.S. census, is about three hours from Chicago and St. Louis. If you're looking for something entertaining to do with your family, you'll find a variety of activities to choose from in Peoria.
Games and Go-Karts
Have some family fun at Kartville (kartville.com), a year-round entertainment complex. Race your children on the go-kart course or have some giggles in the bumper boats. You can play a game of mini-golf, hit some baseballs in the batting cages or give the dune buggies a try. Or, visit Jillian's (jillianspeoria.com) for a bite to eat and some game time. You can shoot some pool, play air hockey or try your luck at some of the other games, such as skee ball, Deal or No Deal, simulation games and the prize claw. When you're all done, trade your game tickets in for a prize to take home.
Are you kids like fish in the water? If so, have some watery fun with your family. Go to the Lakeview Family Aquatic Center (no website; 1017 West Lake Ave., Peoria; 309-686-3377), in Lakeview Park, during the summer, where your family can enjoy the zero-depth entry swimming pool with water slides, diving boards, interactive water features and sand play area. You also can go to the Gwynn Family Aquatic Center (no website; 809 W. John Gwynn Ave., Peoria; 309-676-2891) throughout the summer for some water activities. You'll find a large swimming pool with children's play equipment, a water slide and a wet sand play area.
Get outside for some fresh air and sunshine at the Forest Park Nature Center (no website; 5809 Forest Park Drive, Peoria; 309-686-3360). This nature preserve is situated along the Illinois River and covers 540 acres. Enjoy 7 miles of hiking trails, a natural history museum, bird observation room and an assortment of programs throughout the year. Or, you could take your family for a day of fishing. At the North Charter Oak Lake (no website; Orange Prairie Road, Peoria; 309-681-2900), you'll find a 6.4-acre lake stocked with bass, sunfish, bluegill, carp and catfish, along with a paved trail and three fishing piers. Fish for bluegill, sunfish and bass in the small pond at the Sommer Park North (no website; 6600 N. Basket Oak Drive, Peoria; 309-681-2900). Your family can also enjoy the walking trails, basketball courts, playground and skateboard park while you're there.
Skating and Bowling
Take your family for some bowling at Mt. Hawley Bowl (mthawleybowl.com), where you'll find 24 bowling lanes with automatic scoring. Your kids can participate in youth programs such as the youth bowling league and after school bowling. Other activities available at this bowling center include mini-golf and arcade games. Or, drop by Owens Center (no website; 1019 West Lake Ave., Peoria; 309-686-3368) in Lakeview Park for some family time. You and your kids can go during the public skating hours to do some ice skating or you can sign your kids up for ice skating lessons, figure skating or hockey.