This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.
While you’re planning your trip to Springfield, Illinois, to see the Lincoln attractions, be sure to make time for the Illinois State Museum, especially if you’re traveling with kids. This museum covers the natural history and popular culture of Illinois, and it has a lot of great exhibits that kids will enjoy. There is even a hands-on section for kids to explore.
Where is the Illinois State Museum?
The address for the Springfield branch is 502 South Spring Street. If you’re exploring attractions downtown, you will be in the right area. The capital building is nearby.
Here is a closer look at the cool Lincoln Totem Pole out front.
Exhibits Inside the Illinois State Museum
We started on the ground floor with the natural history exhibits, but you could certainly use the elevator to start on another floor. The natural history section, also known as Changes, definitely had my family’s attention. My daughter loves learning about animals.
We learned about the wildlife and weather of Illinois. Kristin loved finding little surprises here and there, like the wolves.
These are near a little theater where you can see a film about the weather in Illinois.
The Illinois Museum has some immersive exhibits; Kristin is always excited to walk through tunnels or caves.
Even Jeff found something entertaining!
At Home in the Heartland
My favorite part of the museum explored the lives of people in the Midwest. This exhibit outlined the history of the people who lived here while including some popular culture that we can all identify from our own lives. Several exhibits are arranged by decade, so it was fun to point out some items from our childhoods to Kristin.
Although Kristin is about to “age out” of really getting excited about children’s museums, she still had a great time checking out the Play Museum section of the Illinois State Museum. She is always up for “digging up fossils,” and the Play Museum has a fun opportunity for kids to do that.
She also liked checking out the hands-on rocks and specimens.
There is a lot to explore in the Play Museum; little ones will want to stay for hours!
I’m glad we spent some time at the Illinois State Museum. When we went, we split a morning with this museum and Springfield’s Kidzeum. Click here to read more about our visit there. For us, that was perfect. Afterward, we had lunch downtown at Long Nine Junction, one of our favorite meals on the trip. If you have younger kids, you may need to plan more time for both of these; the kids may not want to leave the children’s museums. We did have a visit to Knights Action Park planned for after lunch, so that was a great incentive to move on. Keep this museum in mind as you plan your family trip to Springfield, Illinois!