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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway
The experiences you’ll find here are as unique, fun and memorable as the road is long. Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation’s history - and it lives on today in Illinois Route 66’s many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road. Illinois’ stretch of this mythic road boasts the highest density of kitschy, interesting things to do you’ll find from here to California. So, join us for the far out journey that never ends on Illinois Route 66.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
This museum is one of the most-visited presidential museums in the nation where visitors can experience the entire Lincoln story under one roof, from Abe's humble beginnings in an Indiana log cabin to his days as president in the White House. Be dazzled by two special effects theaters featuring historical ghosts and a Civil War battlefield, life-like vignettes that depict important moments in the president’s life, and artifacts that range from Lincoln’s stovepipe hat to an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Livingston County War Museum
Walking through Livingston County War Museum is like taking a tour of the 20th Century, including artifacts, films, books, uniforms and weapons of several wars. The museum does not glorify war, but shows the best attributes of men and women caught up in war. In doing so, we respectfully honor the service of America's veterans, and the men and women from the area who served in the military.
Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest memorabilia associated with the history of the Mother Road in Illinois. Among the artifacts, you’ll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmire—a true legend of the Mother Road. During your visit, you’ll likely spot Bob’s brother, Buz Waldmire, sharing stories of his late brother’s famous travels up and down Route 66. Be sure to step around back for a great photo op in front of the World's Largest Route 66 shield and other great murals. Admission is free.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site
The Tomb is the final resting place of President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children. It was constructed between 1869-1874 in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. Be sure to rub the nose of the bronze Lincoln bust at the entrance, which is said to bring good luck. Dogs are allowed on the site; they are not allowed inside the monument. Dogs must be under their owner's control, leashed, and cleaned up after at all times.
Knight's Action Park
The theme park offers miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, carnival rides and an arcade. While the water park features a wave pool, bumper boats, water slides, paddle boats and a lazy river. Catch a movie at the old-fashioned drive-in, adjacent to Knight's.
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Step back in time and explore historic New Salem just as Lincoln knew it. This meticulously reconstructed 1830s village is where Lincoln lived as a young adult, studied law and began politics. Everything from the people to the blacksmith’s workshop gives visitors a glimpse into what pioneer life was really like when young, burly Abe was throwing down his axe.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Get an intimate look at Lincoln during a tour of the Lincoln Home, the only house he ever owned. The Lincoln family lived here from 1844 until they left for Washington. The Lincoln Home is located in a historic four-block neighborhood that looks much as it did in the mid-1800s, complete with wooden sidewalks. A visitor center and restored neighboring homes display exhibits that tell the story of Lincoln’s time spent with his wife, children and friends in Springfield.
Original Brick Road
This beautiful 1.4 mile long piece of restored hand-laid brick road is a segment of 66 done in 1931 and placed over a concrete roadbed. Route 66 at its best.
Doc’s Soda Fountain
Located on historic Route 66, this was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s. The soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream. Doc’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
History Comes Alive
Every day for 12 weeks this summer, you’ll be able to take a step back in time as you participate in a whole array of living history performances and programs that will both delight and educate about the Springfield Abraham Lincoln knew and loved for most of his life. From Civil War encampments to White House kitchen chats with Mr. Lincoln himself, there’s something for everyone. Some events may have a fee.
Here I Have Lived Exhibits
View over 40 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Each exhibit is intended to capture a moment in time for Lincoln and how he was affected by the people, places and events he encountered in his hometown. Each story is accompanied by graphics or photographs and a medallion that is symbolic of that particular story. Visitors are encouraged to collect rubbings of each medallion.
World's Largest Covered Wagon
The Railsplitter Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world, is located on the front lawn of the Best Western Lincoln Inn, near historic Route 66. A statue of Abe Lincoln reading a law book sits in the huge wooden wagon, which stands 24 feet tall.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site
The Old State Capitol is a reconstruction of Illinois' fifth statehouse, the first to be located in Springfield. It is here that Lincoln practiced law, served as a legislator and gave his famed House Divided speech on slavery in 1858. The building served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839-1876. The current State Capitol Building is the center of state government, where visitors can watch Illinois politics in action when the legislature is in session.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This quirky must-see Route 66 attraction, information center and souvenir gift shop is home to rabbits of all kinds, bunny and VW, as well as Mother Road memorabilia.
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travelers and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
Children's Museum of Illinois
Kids can shimmy up Luckey's Climber, make a giant bubble and pretend to be whatever they can imagine, from a pilot to a scientist. The museum's permanent exhibits complement temporary exhibits and projects.
Dana-Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the best-preserved examples of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie design, this 35-room mansion contains some 100 pieces of original Wright-designed furniture and stunning art glass. Photo copyright Doug Carr, courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue
Standing 19 feet tall and clutching a giant hot dog, this Paul Bunyon statue, not “bunyan” purposely spelled with an “o”, is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. A few of these giants still proudly grace the roadsides of historic Route 66. This one is located in Atlanta, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
Amish Country Tours with ACM Tours
ACM Tours is a full service, receptive tour guide company with many special services available at no additional cost. We literally open the door to fabulous Illinois Amish Country! We are ready to assist you with meals, attractions, lodging and step on guide service. We have available trained, professional, local step-on guides who are well versed in the history, customs and folklore of this most unique part of Illinois.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site
This is the only remaining structure where Abraham Lincoln maintained working law offices. Lincoln and his final law partner, William Herndon, operated from the top floor of the building from 1843 to 1852. Filled with clutter and makeshift furniture, the offices draw a vivid picture of what a normal day was like for Lincoln and Herndon. Today the building includes a visitor center, federal courtrooms and attorney offices. ***Closed for historic renovation. Plans are to reopen in late 2015 with a restored dry good store, Lincoln's law office and federal court exhibits.***
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
The Funk family business of producing pure maple sirup began in Funks Grove in 1824, and business has been going strong ever since. Guided tours of the grounds are offered during the sirup-making season that showcase the Funk family process. Tours for groups of up to 30 must be arranged in advance and depend upon weather conditions. Funks Pure Maple Sirup can be purchased at the store, along with Route 66 memorabilia and other Funks products.
Stroll downtown Springfield and check out shops that carry everything from Lincoln souvenirs to one-of-a-kind jewelry and fresh-made fudge. Downtown is also host to many events and festivals throughout the year.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.