Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Our Trip to Springfield: Friday

I started writing one post about our trip to Springfield and realized it was far to long, so I'm splitting it up...

When Mom and Dad were in town we decided to make a trip down to Springfield to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I have been wanting to do this since the museum opened years ago, and I knew that my Mom and Dad would really enjoy seeing it as well, so we decided to take a mini-vacation together. I am so glad we did.

We had an incredible time. Everything went so well, and we had so much fun. I was ready to move to Springfield, but Jeff says we can't because his job is here (what a killjoy). Also, we got stared at a ton while we were maybe it wouldn't be the best environment for the boys. Which is weird, right? Because it's the town of Abraham Lincoln, and his face is everywhere, and everything is about how great he was and how he ended slavery, and so on, so one would think that people might be a little more accepting of a family with both white and black members and not gape at them...but I digress. No one said anything directly negative to us anyhow, just lots and lots of staring.

But you should still go to Springfield. I was so impressed with the quality of family activities they have, and how many opportunities there were for the kids to be engaged and learning. Here is the list of things we did: Illinois State Museum, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, State Capitol Tour, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and the Dana-Thomas House.

We left for Springfield on Friday. We had great intentions of leaving the house early and getting down there to see things, but we all woke up late and it took forever to get things together, so we arrived around two and decided to go straight to the Illinois State Museum. This FREE museum (or at least, Free to those who don't pay IL taxes) has the most amazing children's museum area. Certain adults (ahem, Jeff, ahem, Mom) may have had an even better time than the kids as they played with a huge microscope. I had a good time assembling broken pottery puzzles in the archaeology area, and of course, digging for dinosaur bones. Tommy packed up a jeep and went camping in a cave, while Nic banged on a little computer. Dad examined his wrinkles in the aforementioned microscope and chatted forever with the volunteer about California. Seriously, it is the best children's museum area I have ever been to. The rest of the museum was well done. The exhibit on how the environment changes was interactive and appealed to all of us, kids included. The upstairs exhibits on the homes of Illinois residents from different communities and time periods was also well done. The only exhibit that looked in need of some TLC was the very random and dated exhibit on the first peoples of Illinois (i.e.the Native Americans or Amerindians, whichever you prefer). We spent our entire afternoon in the museum and didn't leave until they kicked us out!

We went and ate horse-shoes as recommended by the visitor's center. Mom and Dad were not impressed. Jeff and I were, but a piece of Texas toast topped with meat, french fries, and cheese sauce is not for everyone...but since cheese fries are a junk-food favorite of mine that I almost never eat, I was a rather happy girl.

The only aspect of our trip that was less than perfect was the hotel. We didn't anticipate that it would be particularly nice, but the last time that Jeff and I had stayed at a similar type of hotel (different chain. same idea) we had been pleasantly surprised. Trip adviser gave the hotel we chose the highest ratings for the value, but failed to mention that the floors were constructed out of some kind of amplifying material. Either that or a herd of elephants had the rooms above us. Also, the doors were very thin and the hallway was not quiet because the manager apparently personally delivers wake up calls by banging on people's doors. However, it did appear clean, and that counts for something. And it had a pool, so Jeff and I took the big boys for a "late night" swim at seven o'clock and racked up lots of "cool parent" points.

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