Make it the most wonderful time of the year with these Peoria Park District holiday happenings!
The Peoria Park District has many choices for you and your loved ones to continue your holiday traditions or begin new ones! A winter wonderland awaits, whether it’s a stroll through a seasonal setting, enjoying visits with Santa, tasting seasonal treats and beverages, hearing joyful music, or shopping for and making gifts for loved ones.
November 17-December 31: Holiday Poinsettia Show/10:00am-5:00pm/Luthy Botanical Garden – The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Luthy Botanical Garden, where the tropical collection blends with hundreds of poinsettias to create a wonderland unmatched anywhere in Peoria! Or, come enjoy the show at night under the warm glow of hundreds of candles while live holiday music plays. These special Candlelight Walks are Fridays and Saturdays, November 17 until December 23, from 6:00-9:00pm. Closed on November 23 & December 25. Donations appreciated. For more information, call 309-686-3362.
November 18-December 31: Nature Art Show & Sale/ Mon-Sat from 9:00am-5:00pm; Sun from 1:00-5:00pm/ Forest Park Nature Center – This art show features a diversity of media and unique artwork all created by talented local artists. Find nature-related photographs, paintings, woodcarvings, handmade jewelry, and more. This event will kick off with an Open House from 2:00-4:00pm on November 18 when visitors can meet some of the artists. For more information, call 309-686-3360.
December 1, 8, 9, 15: Holiday Shop & Stroll/6:00-8:30pm/Forest Park Nature Center – This one-of-a-kind event has become a holiday tradition in central Illinois. Experience a nighttime stroll on a forest path lit with luminaries; enjoy live holiday music, storytelling and caroling; hot wassail and seasonal treats. View and/or purchase nature-related artwork from the Nature Art Show & Sale, and shop for earth-friendly and Fair Trade items at the Trailhead Nature Store. Perfect for all ages. For more information, call 309-686-3360.
December 2: Breakfast with Santa/10:00am-12:00pm/Franciscan Recreation Complex – Santa is taking a break from his busy schedule to stop by FRC. Waffles, donuts, coffee, and OJ will be served. Santa will be available for pictures, and there will be games and fun for all. Donations accepted. For more information, call 309-677-6705.
December 2 & 3: Santa’s Woodland Workshop/Saturday: 10:00am-12:30pm & 2:00-4:30pm; Sunday: 12:30-3:00pm/Camp Wokanda – Be one of Santa’s helpers at a workshop to construct a handcrafted gift to take home. A variety of nature projects for all ages will be available. Enjoy hot cocoa, treats, and a visit with Santa. Spaces are limited and registration is required by contacting 309-579-2157 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $8/elf; $2/adult helper.
December 2: Critter Christmas/9:00-11:00am/Peoria Zoo – Enjoy Christmas Zoo style! Enjoy a light breakfast and crafts with Santa in the lodge before heading out into the Zoo. Beginning at 10am, the animals get their own gifts! Every creature from meerkats to lions to tigers will receive special treats throughout the day. Member cost is $6/child and $9/adult. Non-member cost is $12/child and $18/adult. For more information, call 309-686-3365.
Letters from Santa; deadline of December 5 – Your child, grandchild, neighbor, or friend can receive a special letter from the jolly old man. Santa can tell them how good they’ve been or give them a gentle reminder to clean their room. Cost is $4 for first child and $2 for each additional child. Forms that have return information and allow parents to personalize the letters can be found in the Fall Playbook. For more information, call 309-681-2859.
December 8, 9, 15 & 16: A Garden Christmas Party/5:00-7:30pm/Luthy Botanical Garden – Get into the Christmas spirit with a visit to Luthy Botanical Garden! In addition to the beautiful poinsettia display, there will be music, prizes, the Hall of Christmas Trees, s’mores, a lighted fairy garden and more. Cost is $6/child, $8/adult. For more information, call 309-686-3362.
December 15: Trailhead Nature Store’s Annual Christmas Sale/9:00am-8:30pm/Forest Park Nature Center – On December 15 ONLY, all visitors will receive 10% off all purchases and members will receive 20% off all purchases. For more information, call 309-686-3360.
December 16: Skate with Santa/2:30-4:30pm/Owens Center – Santa loves the chilly air inside Owens! Come see him for yourself while skating with your family and friends. Cost is $4 for ages 12 and under, $5 for ages 13 and over. For more information, call 309-686-3366.
December 17: Celebrate Peoria: Christmas Around the World /12:00-5:00pm/Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum – Come see how Christmas is celebrated by Christians of various ethnic backgrounds in Central Illinois. Enjoy family-friendly activities and learn how the holiday is celebrated across cultures from Mexican Posadas to German Christmas Trees. Free with regular museum admission. For more information, call 309-323-6900.
You can find a full schedule of all Peoria Park District events and programs in the Peoria Park District Playbook, which is available in a searchable format online at www.peoriaparks.org/playbook, or can be picked up at any Park District facility, area libraries and businesses.
Public stewards of nearly 9,000 acres of park and greenspace and another 185 buildings, the Park District’s mission is to contribute to a healthy and vibrant Peoria community by responsibly using our District resources to offer high quality parks and recreation experiences to those who live, work and play in our District. To learn more, please visit www.peoriaparks.org.