Five Springfield IL Stops for Kids!

five Springfield Illinois stops

Check out these fun five Springfield Illinois stops! The grandkids and I had a few days last week to spend in Downtown Springfield. “I love the older part of downtown grandma,” my granddaughter told me.

I have to agree. There is a lot to do in the historic Land of Lincoln.

When you come to town with the kiddos, here are a few tips from the grandkids on where to go and what to do! These are stops that can be made from one parking spot all in one day or make it in two like we die!

Stop #1 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

five springfield illinois stops
This is one of the scenes at the Abraham Lincoln museum.

Although we have been to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM ) several times, with the changing exhibits, the museum is a favorite of the grandkids. They are old enough now that we finally went through the entire museum this past Columbus Day.

Although it still seems new to me, the ALPLM was dedicated on April 19, 2005. It quickly became one of the most popular Presidential museums around, reaching the one million visitors’ mark on January 6, 2007, followed by the two million visitor mark on July 4, 2009, and reaching the three-millionth visitor mark on August 21, 2012!

There is something awe inspiring about our 16th President to all ages. The kids enjoyed a walk through the Treasure Gallery featuring precious artifacts relating to Lincoln’s life. They even commented on the exhibit Mary Todd Lincoln: First Lady of Controversy  deciding which was their favorite dress.

We kept our trip simple focusing on the highlights of President Lincoln’s career. However, the tour touched on some heavy topics like slavery. Then my grandson in particular was very touched by the death of the Lincoln’s son Tad.

The grandkids hands down favorite part of the museum was the cabin of Lincoln’s childhood, and the play area where they could dress up and play games.

These areas are appropriate for all ages. The other exhibits delve a bit more overwhelming material that will depend on each child.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential museum is interactive with amazing films and it brings the President and his family to life!

Stop #2 Union Station

Part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is the railroad depot Union Station. The beautiful railroad station was built in 1898. There is a cool park out front with a nice statue of Lincoln offering a fun photo opportunity and benches for sitting and resting.

Inside the exhibits vary. It is worth a walk through just to see the nice restoration job, although it is a quick visit. You don’t need to appropriate tons of time for this stop, but you will want to include it. The 90-foot clock tower is a prominent feature of the  downtown skyline.

Five Springfield Illinois Stops
All Aboard Display at Union Station also offers interactive displays for kids.

The current exhibit, All Aboard showcases model trains, and offers insight into President Lincoln’s role in creating the transcontinental railroad. The grandkids enjoyed the hands-on activities, but mostly the photo ops. The depot admission is included with the museum admission.

Stop # 3 Kidzeum

This interactive museum is tons of fun for kids.

While I had hit Kidzeum once with my grandson, my granddaughter informed me she wanted to visit as well. Kidzeum is well within walking distance of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and is a fun way to spend the afternoon.

This huge science museum for children offers a learning adventure where kids learn about health-.

Children get the chance to literally climb through a body and see how the brain, spine, nose and heart and lungs and digestive system work! Even adults will learn something if they read the placards, I know I did!

There are fun stations that kids from 2-12 will enjoy, some have water, others offer dental and veterinarian fun. There is even a part all about the farm and a cow to milk. This museum is totally interactive with a kid’s TV weather reporting station. I had thought that my granddaughter at ten was too old, but I was wrong, she really did enjoy it. While smaller children can spend all day for older kids, it is a nice morning or afternoon.

There is no dropping off the kids at this museum. They don’t allow adults without children, or children without adults. I think this is a good policy myself.

Stop # 4 The Old State Capitol

five springfield Illinois stops
Kids love the Old State Capitol steps.

Like the museum, the grandkids love coming back to this site again and again. The Greek Revival-style building, the Old State Capitol with the walkway around the building, the steps and imposing wooden door are a big draw to them.

The website history shares that the Old State Capitol is a reconstruction of Illinois’ fifth statehouse, the first to be located in Springfield. The building served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839 to 1876.”

We enjoyed walking through and reading about the political activity leading up to the Civil War. Both Illinois politicians Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) have history here. Abraham Lincoln came to the building both as a lawyer and a politician. He served during his last term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Lincoln delivered the 1858 “House Divided” speech at the Old State Capitol in Representatives Hall. He used the governor’s rooms as a headquarters during the 1860 presidential campaign. After his death, the Capitol was where he lay in state on May 3-4, 1865.

While this history is what draws adults, for kids the draw is the giant staircase and the amazing ceiling once you get inside. During the holiday season, Santa is set up and this is the perfect backdrop to visit and get a holiday photo!

Stop # 5 Cold Stone Creamery

It is official, the grandkids have discovered Cold Stone Creamery! Once they saw the sign saying “Ice cream”, I was done. At this ice cream stop just a few stops down from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, they take the ice cream and pound in the ingredients on “cold stone” then scoop it up into a cup, waffle cone or whatever the choice is and yum!

We stopped both days and I think I have created cold stone monsters! They are true fans. Sadly at the parlor they post the calories that go with their delicious concoctions. My advice, don’t look.

My granddaughter had saw a youtube video and learned that if you tip that they will sing a song. So we tipped and they sang, it was great!

The Wrap

Here you have it. Five magical stops with the grandkids in downtown Springfield all withing one parking place distance! You might have to move just because the meter may not allow for parking as long as you want to hang out. A day in Springfield is a day for fun.

If you want to check out cool places to eat, check out our suggestions of Top Ten restaurants of where to eat!

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  1. Erin

    Sounds like you had a fun visit with the grandkids! I’d like the Abraham Lincoln museum, as presidential exhibits and museums are always interesting to me. And you can’t go wrong with ice cream!

    1. Cindy

      The museum is magical and ice cream is awesome!