Family Field Trip to Springfield, IL: Part One

Wecome to Springfield

For Columbus Day weekend, Ed and I decided to take a little trip for our anniversary. We thought it would be fun to take a trip to Springfield to see the Lincoln sites, even though Emmy protested because she “doesn’t like to learn things on vacation.”

Even though the girls had a three day weekend off from school, they didn’t have an early dismissal. So of course we had a little delay getting out of town due to the infamous Chicago rush hour traffic. When we were finally south of Joliet, we started looking for a place to eat. You know my Ed; he likes to eat at local places. So when we saw a sign for the Whistle Stop Cafe, we had to try it. I thought it sounded interesting because it has the same name as the cafe in one of my favorite books, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Even though I didn’t see fried green tomatoes on the menu, it was a charming small town cafe!

Downtown Springfield

We arrived at our hotel in Springfield late that night, and went promptly to bed so that we would be able to explore the capital the next day. It was pretty quiet the next morning when we arrived, and we discovered that street parking is free on the weekends! I had brought along blank pieces of paper and pencils for the girls to do rubbings of the medallions that are all over the downtown area. They are on plaques  called “Looking for Lincoln,” and Lily and Emmy had fun finding new plaques all day.

Looking for Lincoln
I have wanted to visit the “new” Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum ever since it opened. I read an article about it in the paper and it sounded like a great place to visit. Well, it turns out the museum is already ten years old! There are some amazing exhibits, and the museum was great for kids and adults. While Emmy did get bored while Ed and I were reading some of the exhibit signs, she really enjoyed the movies. (Don’t miss the movies! The special effects are very cool!) I loved how the exhibits were divided into two parts; the left side of the museum was Lincoln’s early life and his time in Springfield; the right side was Lincoln’s years in the White House.

Lincoln Museum

We spent about 3 hours in the museum and felt like that was plenty of time to see most of the exhibits. Then it was time for lunch (I had a horseshoe) and a visit to Lincoln’s Springfield home. The National Park Service has taken over Lincoln’s old neighborhood, and we needed to stop by the Visitor’s Center first to get our tickets to tour the house. The tickets are free, and they assign you a time and a tour guide.

Lincoln's House
Lincoln's desk
Our last stop for the day was Lincoln’s tomb. We made it just in time; the inside of the tomb closes at 5:00 p.m.

Rubbing Lincoln's nose for good luck.
Rubbing Lincoln’s nose for good luck.

The next day, it was off to Lincoln’s New Salem. Part Two here!


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