Five Places to Visit in Springfield
In Illinois, we experience all the seasons, sometimes on a single day, so with that in mind, we have selected a few interesting and family friendly places to visit in Springfield for all weather occasions. From the world-class Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library to a three-story children’s educational and play haven at Kidzeum, Springfield has so much to offer its visitors!
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library in downtown Springfield is a must-see if you are visiting the city. It is the most visited presidential library and museum in the United States. Located at 212 North Sixth Street and open daily from 9am to 5pm, the museum first opened its doors in April 2005 and was designed by architects Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum.
The museum features many inspiring exhibits on Lincoln’s life including the Treasures Gallery, a rotating exhibit of the most precious artifacts related to Lincoln. Many of the exhibited items are from the Taper Collection, acknowledged as the largest privately held collection of Lincoln memorabilia in the world before its purchase by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in 2007.
Staying downtown, Kidzeum of Health & Science is located at 412 East Adams Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 5pm. The 15,000-square-foot children’s museum features four main galleries: healthy body, healthy community, healthy environment, and a changing exhibit gallery. Active Alex, a three-story structure, is the only one of its kind in the world with climbing space and larger-than-life displays about nearsightedness, why the nose produces snot, the latest theory on taste buds, and more.
Kidzeum is accessible for children of all abilities and is designed for ages 2 to 12, but is fun for the entire family.
The many exhibits that promote conservation and sustainability at Kidzeum include a farm to a market gallery that teaches children about the seed through plant cycle, harvest, storage, processing, and distribution, all in an effort to promote buying local and reducing carbon footprints.
Designed by famed sculptor, Larkin Mead, and completed in 1874, this stunning granite monument is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons. Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The 117ft tomb is nestled in Oak Ridge Cemetery located at 1500 Monument Avenue .
At the Tomb entrance is a bronze reproduction of Gutzon Borglum’s marble head of Lincoln, installed in the 1930s.Visitors from around the world stop to rub the nose of the bronze bust for good luck. No one knows exactly how the tradition of rubbing Lincoln’s nose began. It sits on a concrete pedestal about 5 feet tall, which places the nose at about 6 feet high. When school children visit, caretakers place a step stool at its base so the youngsters can easily rub Lincoln’s nose.
A hop, skip, and a jump from Engrained, Scheels, is home to 200,000 square of retail shopping that showcases Illinois’ largest selection of sports, sportswear, and footwear under one roof. Unlike a typical sporting goods store Scheels features eight lifelike bronze sculptures; a 16,000 gallon saltwater aquarium, a 65 foot Ferris wheel built in Jacksonville, Illinois, an old fashion shooting gallery, and simulators for everything from golf, to baseball and hockey, where customers can test their skills. Ginna’s Cafe is famous for its fudge with 24 flavors of homemade fudge, and Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory is sure to take you back in time. Scheels is located at 3801 South MacArthur.
Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center
Lincoln Memorial Garden represents the landscape Abraham Lincoln would have known
growing up and living in the Midwest. Designed by internationally known landscape architect Jens Jensen, the 100-acre site features six miles of trails, footbridges, a pond, eight stone council rings, and dozens of wooden benches inscribed with Lincoln quotes. A contemporary and associate of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jensen was a leader of the Prairie School of landscape architecture and was one of Illinois’ earliest conservationists.
Though Lincoln probably never walked through the area now occupied by the garden., Jensen’s design concept was to create a sense of the Midwest landscape that would have been familiar to Lincoln.
The first planting at the garden happened in 1936, when Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts planted acorns that have grown into today’s towering oaks.
In 1995 the garden was expanded to include the 29-acre Ostermeier Prairie Center, which features a restoration area with prairie grasses and seasonal wildflowers, a small pond, public restrooms, a covered picnic area, and a half-mile accessible trail. At Engrained, we believe in leaving the earth better than we found it, so we appreciate everything the 150-plus volunteers at Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center do to nurture our environment.