This past weekend my in-laws were visiting nearby and graciously invited us to tag along on a day trip to Springfield. Instead of zipping there on the interstate, we opted to take a well known, but lightly treaded path known as Route 66.
Even though we only drove along a short section of the historic roadway, we did pass by several iconic, larger than life, roadside attractions. This Paul Bunyan statue is holding a giant hot dog. We learned from reading the sign that a single Paul Bunyan mould was used to create a number of statues. The original mould was designed for him to hold an ax, but as other businesses adopted the giant mascot, they retrofitted him with whatever merchandise they were peddling (or whatever they thought would get motorists attention).
Nearby, partially obscured by trees was an old mural advertisement for a business.
While Frugal Boy slept for most of the car ride, these scattered diversions would be great for kids. Not only does it give them a chance to get out and run around for a bit, it also provides points of reference for future traveling. Now when I drive past these towns on the interstate, I will be able to remember something about them and the whole trip will go by a little bit faster.
Well Mr. Giant Lincoln, how about we visit your last residence. Okay, maybe a recreation of your last house, because that was the first place that we visited upon reaching Springfield.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL tells the story of our 16th president from his humble beginnings in Kentucky and Indiana to his rather tumultuous political career in Illinois and Washington D.C. The museum is definitely worth a visit and seeing as photography was disallowed in most areas, you will have to see it for yourselves. Plan your visit during non peak days as the layout and flow of the museum can get a bit constipated.
Outside of the museum, we paused for a quick photo op.
There are a number of attractions within walking distance. The first one we visited was the “old” state Capitol.
This was actually the 5th state capitol and the first one located in Springfield. The General Assembly was a tidy room.
The 6th and latest state capitol, built after the Civil War, is a much larger building.
There’s a happy couple
While we were trying to figure out where the handicap accessible entrance was (for Frugal Boy’s stroller) we somehow ended up at the Illinois State Museum.
This free museum spans 3 levels. The basement houses a large hands on activity area for kids. Frugal Boy found a comfy nest and waited for momma to feed him birdy style.
The main floor exhibit is centered around the natural history of the state.
By this time, Frugal Boy was doing his best zombie impersonation and we decided it was time to move on.
After scouting out the perimeter of the capitol building, we surrendered ourselves to the fact of dragging a stroller up some stairs and gained entrance. We had made it just in time for the last tour of the day and because it was a weekend you had to be a part of the tour to see anything past the first floor.
I have a soft spot for a big pretty rotunda.
By the 1980s, due to a combination of gas lights and smoking, the entire rotunda was black. It took a massive cleaning effort to clean up the filth.
Here is the current House of Representatives.
Near the end of the tour we saw the largest mural in the capitol depicting a peace treaty being signed with the native americans. In the 1800s the state spent $2000 on this mural. Today it is considered priceless (inflated cost of initial work is about $34.5k).
We had a great time and it was fun seeing a part of our state’s Capitol. A big thanks to my in-laws for coming down and letting us tag along on a little adventure!