The new, modern Peoria Riverfront Museum is quickly establishing itself as the crown jewel of the city's downtown landscape, drawing an estimated 360,000 people to this central Illinois town annually. The massive $82 million building made of concrete and glass replaced the outdated Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences but still devotes huge areas to both of those subjects. Other features include a 3D theater, state-of-the-art planetarium, the Illinois River Encounter gallery, history and art exhibits for all ages, children's Discovery Worlds and the IHSA Peak Performance Center.
This museum is a collaborative effort between Lakeview, Caterpillar, the Peoria Historical Society, the African-American Hall of Fame Museum, the Heartland Foundation and the Illinois High School Association, each of which helped raise money and will be represented in different portions of the facility. Plans for a nearby parking garage are underway.
Coupled with the neighboring $37 million Caterpillar Visitors Center detailing the farm machinery giant's past, present and future, the riverfront museum promises to infuse new life into Peoria's downtown. And it makes a nice addition to a destination that already offers poised-to-take-off restaurant and store development, a walking path, a riverboat and pretty fountains.