A Peoria Park District Facility

Who We Are

What is a Children's Museum?

A children’s museum is defined as a nonprofit educational and cultural institution committed to serving the needs and interests of children by providing exhibits and programs that stimulate curiosity and motivate learning.

Children’s museums are unique community institutions where…

  • Children are valued citizens with the right to developmentally-appropriate and high-quality learning experiences.
  • Play is learning, and it is critical to the healthy social, emotional, and cognitive
    development of children.
  • Family, culture, environment, and society are recognized as critical factors in all children’s lives to effectively serve them.
  • Pursuing equity and inclusion is a best practice that reflects a commitment to serving all children and families and advancing the growth of our field.

There are more than 300 children’s museums in the world serving millions of families, but every institution is unique!


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 the revitalization of the campus at Glen Oak Park.

The PlayHouse opened to the public in June 2015. Together, the PlayHouse, the Peoria Zoo, and Luthy Botanical Garden offer a daylong destination for families and school groups.



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.

Along with our mission, we have four core values:

  • We believe that, with support, a child can be anything they want to be. The PlayHouse provides children with the opportunity and inspiration to imagine, practice, and become. A PlayHouse visit sparks experiences and ideas that keep kids playing, exploring, and creating. Who knows where a PlayHouse experience might lead?
  • We believe 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 the PlayHouse is for all children and families. We are committed to equity – the fair treatment of all people and ensuring everyone has access to the opportunities and resources they need to thrive. We embrace people of all abilities, ages, cultures, genders, national origins, races, religions, sexual orientations, and any socio-economic status.
  • We believe the PlayHouse is a safe space for the exchange of ideas. We believe in science and the positive affirmation of all people and their identities. Listening to and understanding each other’s ideas and beliefs enriches and strengthens individuals and our community.


Impact Report

View our 2020 Impact Report to see how we are bringing our mission to life.

From the Archive:

2018 Impact Report

PlayHouse Staff

The PlayHouse staff brings expertise in art, education, history, administration, and more to the museum. Behind the scenes, our office staff help brings education programs, special events, field trips, and more come to life. Our Floor Staff, Playologists, and Admissions help to welcome families and facilitate play and learning throughout the museum.

A list of all current staff members can be found here.


Advisory Board

Jay Scholl, Chair

Alissa Williams, Vice Chair

Greg Tomlins, Treasurer

Ashley Miller, Secretary

Ashvin Babu

Scott Loftus

Abbey Cook

Christina Dean

Colleen DiGiallonardo

Michael Murphy

Valerie San Juan


Matthew Hendrickson

Emily Howe Pieper

Laura Meints

Ashley Miller

Joshua Smith

Jana Stevens

Laura Gleissner

Erin Pike

Corinne Olson

Amanda Walner-Cutwright

Brooklyn Birchenall

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum