With snow falling, it’s too cold out in Illinois to go hiking in nature. However, it’s Friday and Friday is our day to feature amazing walks for you to take or plan. It’s so important to get out, be it physically or just out of your mental space. We thought a good alternative to the great outdoors, especially given the date, would be to hit sites related to Abraham Lincoln and celebrate the U.S.’ 16th president. Reaching Illinois in our digital road trip during the week of Presidents Day was too perfect for us to pass up the chance to speak about this great man.
Our first stop is at a federal building where President Lincoln is featured on pennies and five-dollar bills. The museum has three displays of a $1,000,000 in bills — one shows the amount in $100 bills, another in $20 bills the third is a giant cube filled with $1 bills. It also features an elevator shaft with $50,000 in coins. There are rare bills, an exhibit where you can try to spot real vs. counterfeit money and a lot of information on how the Federal Reserve functions. Admission is free, and you are given $300 as a free souvenir for the day — after the bills have been shredded. While the museum is free, be sure to bring photo ID as security at the door will check, while you go through airport-style security. Learn more here. (https://www.chicagofed.org/education/money-museum/index)
New Salem, the site of the town where President Lincoln lived as a young man from 1831-1837, has been rebuilt as a reproduction of the way it was in the 18th century. The site was renamed Lincoln’s New Salem to indicate that this was the way it was when Honest Abe lived there. The town crumbled by 1940 and, in 1906, William Randolph Hearst bought the land. It was given to Illinois in 1919. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln%27s_New_Salem) The site has 23 buildings and docents dressed in period clothing. There’s a visitor center and gift shop where you can learn more and make a donation to the site if you wish. Learn more here. (http://www.lincolnsnewsalem.com/)
Next, we come to the only house President Lincoln ever actually owned. From 1844-1861 the family lived there until moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The house and buildings on the four and a half blocks around it were designated as a national park by President Nixon in 1972. House tours are available, with free tickets distributed at the visitor center, to give you a peek into what President Lincoln’s life was like prior to the White House. The 12-room house was where the family called home for 17 years. Reviewers enjoyed the visitor center as well where you can see a film about President Lincoln’s life in Springfield and pick up maps of the site. Learn more here.
With five stars on Trip Advisor, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is praised for its attractions for the whole family. Reviewers say the museum portion is less a museum and more an experience as many of the exhibits are interactive. Adults liked the artifacts and knowledgeable docents. Kids enjoyed the special effects, such as “cannon smoke” and rumbling seats in the theaters where films about the Civil War are shown. There are waxworks and a room filled with Mary Todd Lincoln’s dresses. Some people who consider themselves Lincoln buffs preferred the library — located across the street — to the museum. The tickets, which include access to both buildings, cost between six to 15 dollars when accounting for discounts such as senior, military, student ect. Learn more here.
We hope you have an amazing day out in Illinois, digitally of physically. Happy weekend!