A Peoria Park District Facility

About the PlayHouse

“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

― Alan W. Watts

our mission

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum provides children with the tools and inspiration they need to be explorers and creators of the world. We do this in part through understanding, supporting, and promoting play in the fullest sense of the word, one that includes imagination and creativity.

our core values

We believe that a kid can be anything they want to be. They need only the opportunity and inspiration to imagine, practice, and become.

We believe that we are more effective when we collaborate with others. Collaboration with individuals and organizations throughout and beyond Peoria allows us to effectively support families and achieve shared goals.

We believe that the PlayHouse is for all children and families, regardless of income, abilities, or background.

We believe that we are catalysts. A good museum experience sparks experiences and ideas that happen after and between visits. Who knows where a visit to the PlayHouse might lead?

our History

For more than ten years, Junior League of Peoria volunteers spent countless hours researching the feasibility of a children’s museum for Central Illinois and have taken great care at every step to work with experts to make their dreams of a world-class children’s museum for Peoria a reality.

The Junior League officially joined forces with the Peoria Zoological Society and the Peoria Park District to launch the Power of Play campaign in 2012, which focused on revitalization of the campus at Glen Oak Park. Together, the PlayHouse, the Peoria Zoo, and Luthy Botanical Garden offer a daylong destination for families and school groups.

Meet the team

RSH upside down

Rebecca Shulman Herz





Kristin Vannatta

Operations Manager



courtney baby pic - use this one

Courtney Baxter

Education Manager

(309) 323-6896


Adrienne Baby Photo

Adrienne Watson-Livingston

Family & Public Programs Educator

(309) 323-6894



Tiffanie McNeese

Scheduling & Event Coordinator

(309) 323-6895



Wendy Ferguson

Development & Membership Coordinator

(309) 323-6892


Our Supporters

We are very grateful to the many individuals, corporations, and organizations who have contributed to the PlayHouse. A list of Capital Campaign contributors is available here.

The PlayHouse is currently raising funds for our Discovery Zone, a new exhibit that will feature fossils, minerals, and life-size replicas of dinosaur heads, teaching children about science, collections, and professions such as paleontologist, archaeologist, and geologist. Thank you to the Discovery Zone supporters, John Salch and Growing Smiles!

growing smiles

Press Archives

Below are links to selected press about the PlayHouse:

Peoria Journal Star, Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum program teaches children about other countries while celebrating Kwanzaa,   http://www.pjstar.com/article/20151213/NEWS/151219798

CINewsNow, Children's museum shows off city diversity with Kwanzaa celebration, http://www.cinewsnow.com/news/local/Childrens-museum-shows-off-city-diversity-with-Kwanzaa-celebration-361733281.html

Peoria Journal Star, Fossil collector donating items to Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum, http://www.pjstar.com/article/20151130/NEWS/151139942

CIProud, Checking in on the Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum, http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/video?videoId=261238269 

Vacation Idea, 15 Best Things to Do in Peoria, Illinois, http://vacationidea.com/destinations/best-things-to-do-in-peoria-il.html#slide4

Peoria Journal Star, Kids, adults enjoy Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum's 100th day celebration,  http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150920/NEWS/150929991/0/SEARCH  

CIProud, Peoria PlayHouse looking good after 100 days,  http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/peoria-playhouse-looking-good-after-100-days 

Central Illinois Proud, Tot Time at the Peoria PlayHouse,  http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/video?videoId=208363617

A Kid's Eye View of the Peoria PlayHouse,   http://www.jackrouse.com/2015/06/PROJECT-ANNOUNCEMENT-A-Kids-Eye-View-of-Peoria-PlayHouse.cfm 

Peoria Journal Star, Peoria PlayHouse officially opens after a decade of effort, http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150612/NEWS/150619781/0/SEARCH

The Community Word, Why Wondering Matters, http://thecommunityword.com/online/blog/2015/04/30/art-what-is-it-good-for-3/ 

Peoria Public Radio, The Peoria PlayHouse nears completion, http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/peoria-playhouse-nears-completion

Peoria Journal Star, Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum gearing up, http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150416/NEWS/150419369 

Peoria Journal Star, Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum names Rebecca Shulman Herz as director

InterBusiness Issues, A Place to Play

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum