Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Land of Lincoln - a great Spring Break Vacation!

My daughter went through that ubiquitous childhood phase of loving Lincoln. (To me, it seems to follow the I-love-dinosaurs phase.) Last year, we took advantage of her fascination to learn more about our 16th president.

Located a mere 4 1/2 hour drive from Waunakee lies history-rich Springfield, IL. Last spring break, we traveled there to investigate this land of Lincoln. Lincoln said of Springfield, "To this place...I owe everything." It was one of the most fascinating trips we've ever experienced. Here are our personal recommendations.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


There are 2 shows held at the Museum which are mandatory during your visit:
  • Ghosts of the Library - A magical presentation which addresses the question, "Why save all of this stuff?" The Lincoln historian/narrator is joined by Civil War ghosts and Abraham Lincoln, himself. We viewed it twice and were mesmerized both times.
  • Lincoln's Eyes in the Union Theater - This is a multi-screen presentation showing the Civil War through Lincoln's eyes. Unexpected special effects!
Mrs. Lincoln's attic is a place for children to play dress-up with period clothing and to play with toys from Lincoln's time. The Treasures Gallery contains many of Lincoln's personal artifacts and one of five existing copies of the Gettysburg address.

Info here:
http://www.alplm.org/


Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore.
"Using the Lincoln sites as the backdrop for the ghostly & strange stories about Lincoln's life and his death. History, mystery, séances, sanity & ghosts! This 90-minute tour is heavy on factual history, but plenty of lore as well." This ghost walk is a tour with a costumed guide after dark and it is plenty spooky! My daughter kept asking if I thought that we were going to see any ghosts. :)

Information on Ghost Walks here:
http://www.springfieldwalks.com/


Your visit wouldn't be complete without a stop at Lincolns' Tomb.

The 117-foot tall granite tomb contains the bodies of Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of his four sons -- Edward, William and Thomas (Tad). Inside the building, there are several Lincoln statues and some of his most famous speech excerpts on display.

Other sites to visit in downtown Springfield:
  • Lincoln's home
  • Lincoln Depot
  • Lincoln church pew
  • Lincoln law office
  • Old State Capitol
If you can spare the time during your visit to the area, I highly recommend spending a day at Lincoln's New Salem Village, which is a reconstruction of the village where he spent his young adulthood.

Information here:
http://www.lincolnsnewsalem.com/

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