We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Holy jumping carp, this was fun”

Spirit of Peoria - Day Tours
Ranked #1 of 3 Tours in Peoria
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Spirit of Peoria is an authentic paddlewheel driven vessel. The Spirit has no props or thrusters, and is powered by twin Caterpillar 3412 diesel gensets, producing 700 kilowatts combined in 208 volt 3-phase voltage. The power is rectified using railroad-style rectifiers, probably from a GM GP38. The DC voltage goes to two traction engines, also from a GM locomotive, which drive the paddlewheel via two forty-foot-long by one-foot-wide chains. This allows the boat to be comparatively fast and efficient, burning approximately 15 gallons (57L) of diesel fuel an hour, with a top speed of over 15 mph (24 km/h). Its shallow draft of 4' enables the Spirit to land in just about any river town. Boarding is by 30' long boarding stages The boat is owned and captained by G. Alex Grieves, and co-captained by Alice Grady and Dylan Masonholder. It routinely travels up and down the Illinois River and Mississippi River.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Reviewed 16 November 2013

We put together a family reunion mixed with an overnight to Starved Rock. Birding was the theme but it was Fall, and it was fun. They had meals, music, historical and natural interpretation.

I am not a fan of cruise ships or overtly "tourist" events but this was relaxing and fun.

We are from Montana and we had read about the invasion of Asian carp but the boat would flush huge groups of them from time to time. Huge. They would all jump, some landing on the deck. You could probably go fishing with a shotgun! Interesting.

1  Thank vintagetrailer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (94)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

74 - 78 of 94 reviews

Reviewed 26 September 2013

Last weekend my husband and I took the 3 day, 2 night trip from Peoria to St. Louis...two days on the Illinois River, one on the Mississippi. The Illinois was remarkably unspoiled, with trees lining both banks and birds galore: eagles, herons, gulls, pelicans and more. It's a narrow, winding river, which adds to its beauty. The Mississippi, in contrast, is broad and straight, more developed yet well-worth experiencing.

Enough can't be said of the entire crew...dining room ladies, deck hands, entertainers...all hard-working and eager to please their guests. Thanks to all of them for one of the most enjoyable trips we've ever taken.

1  Thank nanischicken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2013

We boarded the Spirit of Peoria for a 3 day trip, not knowing what to expect. WOW! From the moment we boarded we had fantastic food, incredible entertainment, and a rip-roaring good time! "Fox", Ted, and Barry provided the entertainment, through storytelling plays and music. We heard tales about the Explorers, Civil War times, and Abraham Lincoln. Ted conducted a sing-along that lasted at least an hour, and also played the calliope for us. Each night was spent ashore, once in Springfield (Abraham Lincoln Hotel) and Grafton (Pere Marquette Hotel). While in Springfield, we spent the morning at the Abraham Lincoln Museum. Although they only have a tiny galley, they produce wonderful buffets, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. One night, dinner was Prime Rib (fantastic), and the second night we had smoked brisket (which was all the more appetizing because we smelled it all day!).

2  Thank lincassel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2013

We boarded the Spirit of Peoria in Peoria, Illinois, for a 2-day cruise on an authentic paddlewheeler. This was a special cruise of "Magic and Music", with performers on each deck, playing piano, guitar, banjo, and the old calliope. There was never a lack of food, which was prepared right on board...and all the meals and snacks were wonderful. The boat traveled a relaxing 6 miles per hour on the Illinois River. We stayed overnight at Starved Rock Lodge in the State Park, then made the return river journey the following day. A great experience!

Thank rtirdtchr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2013

This is a great time for older kids and adults that enjoy a good "whodunnit" while eating a delicious meal. (little ones would NOT do well here- maybe on a regular trip out but not a Event like this one) We had read other reviews that the food quality was really good on this Paddleboat and they were spot-on correct. Not giant selections on the buffet but what was offered was well prepared and much better then standard buffet foods. The cast of characters begins OUTSIDE of the boat while you are waiting to board to pay attention to anyone wearing name tags as they probably will be in the play. They have these a few times each year and are sold out by the go date so try to book it early. Money well spent for the experience received!

2  Thank Gloria A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Spirit of Peoria - Day Tours also viewed


Been to Spirit of Peoria - Day Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing