Mary Sinker, child development specialist and museum exhibit developer who is consulting for this project, states, “Children’s museums should not seem to have dropped from the sky and landed in a community. They must grow from the rich soil that shapes the lives of those who will visit the facility regularly. They must be cut from the cloth of the community and be filled with the history and uniqueness of that area.” As such, it is critically important that we all ‘play’ a part in its development.

Children’s museums provide a safe and supportive environment where children and families learn and play together, shaping their impressions of themselves, each other, and the world. The interactive learning experiences at The Peoria PlayHouse will encourage creativity and diversity while building stronger families, strengthening communities and promoting lifelong learning.

The Peoria PlayHouse is designed for children ages 0-8, featuring six themed exhibit areas that offer hands-on learning for boys and girls of all abilities. Galleries created by world-renowned designers and education experts meet Illinois Early Learning Standards, and special programs and traveling exhibits encourage repeat visits. Older children, as well as adults, are also able to enjoy and participate in each exhibit.

You can view the master plan here.

List of Exhibits

view larger image All Construction Great and Small
Kids don hard hats to build bridges spanning a faux river and use real tools to build objects. A magical bridge triggers a musical surprise.
view larger image By Your River Gently Flowing, Illinois
Rushing water, native trees, animal puppets and pop-up bubbles for a “barge’s eye view” invite children to explore the Illinois River.
view larger image Family Farm
By picking fruits and vegetables, gathering eggs, milking a soft-sculpture cow, riding a tractor and more, kids gain an appreciation for our agricultural heritage.
view larger image Motion Commotion
Exploring momentum, gravity, speed, force and distance is fun with balls that roll down ramps, travel through shoots, launch into nets and stand on air.
view larger image Peoria, Then and Now
Kids explore the past by wrapping up in animal pelts, riding a train and trying on vintage clothing—then jump to the present as scientists studying insect management in our SciLab. "Will it play in Peoria?" - yes it will!
view larger image Sand Porch
The enclosed porch is the perfect place to dig, build, scoop, pound, and sculpt. In the vacuum room, kids can brush and suck the sand right off.

The Peoria PlayHouse
“Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me; it was play—delightful play, vigorous play, adventurous play—and I loved it . . .”
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