Thanks to Daniel Day-Lewis, and his Oscar winning performance in "Lincoln," there’s renewed interest in all of the Abraham Lincoln sights across Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. A lot of them are really fantastic places for families.
The Illinois Office of Tourism is capitalizing on all of this with an unusual campaign to send “Lincoln” all over the world, including London. You can follow his doings on Enjoy Illinois’ Facebook page
But if you want to go on your own Lincoln journey, here are five Lincoln sites I’ve visited and that I’d recommend for families. Plus, I've included one at the end that you can skip. But definitely check out:
A fantastically done, high-tech and fun-to-browse museum. My kids (ages 7 and 9) learned so much about Lincoln here. Don’t miss the two shows, filled with special effects, and be sure to pose with the statues of the Lincoln family at the museum's entrance.
Take a free (and relatively short) tour through Lincoln’s modest Springfield home, and see the actual furniture he used, the toys his kids played with, the desks he worked at, and even mirrors he’d look into while shaving.
The outdoor theater production about Lincoln‘s life features high-quality actors and excellent production. There’s also a little museum you can browse through while you’re waiting for the show to start.
Walk through the woods and find costumed actors describing what life was like for Lincoln during his childhood in southern Indiana. Start the tour with an introductory movie in the small museum.
First, stop at the huge bust of Lincoln's head in front of the building and rub his nose for luck (it's become shiny because so many people do so). Then, inside, you'll see the solemn, final resting place for the president, his wife Mary, and all but one of his sons.
WHAT YOU CAN SKIP: The Lincoln-Herndon Law Office tour in Springfield, Ill.
While the tour is free and led by knowledgeable, costumed volunteers, it is painfully long and goes in to A LOT of detail. It’s biggest crime of all, though, is that not much of the museum is original except the walls themselves. I’d recommend it for hard-cord Lincoln-philes only, and not families with young children.
For more information on Lincoln sites, read the two-day getaway story I wrote on Springfield, Ill. for Midwest Living magazine: http://www.midwestliving.com/travel/illinois/springfield-illinois/two-day-getaway-to-springfield-illinois/