Tips for Exploring Springfield, IL with Kids


Photo credit: OZinOH via photopin cc

Springfield is one of the most historically rich cities in Illinois. In addition to being the state’s capital, it also has the distinction of being the place where Abraham Lincoln lived for almost 25 years. Springfield is a great travel destination for families, because there are dozens of top notch attractions that combine learning and fun. These tips can help you get the most out of your next visit to the Springfield with your kids.

Choose Child-Friendly Hotels

The foundation for a carefree trip with children is staying at a hotel that welcomes kids with open arms. That means the hotel will have plenty of things to keep your children happy and entertained no matter how much time you may need to spend there.

The Lamplighter Inn and Suites is both kid-friendly and pet-friendly. You and your children can enjoy its heated indoor pool together. Also, a complimentary daily breakfast saves you an extra trip to a restaurant, which all parents can appreciate. Other child-friendly hotels in the area include the Staybridge Suites South Springfield and the Springfield Hilton.

Try Museums for All Ages

While some cities have museums that are meant only for adults or mature audiences, most of the museums in Springfield are family-friendly. The Illinois State Museum includes a free children’s area where kids can crawl through a cave and even dig for fossils. Meanwhile, there are permanent and rotating exhibits for adults to enjoy.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield hosts ongoing live performances of One Destiny, a play that will be more entertaining for kids than simply walking through a museum. Learning while enjoying a show can help you and your children remember a lot about Lincoln and American history.

Plan Pure Fun

With all the cultural attractions that are inevitably big draws in Springfield, give your kids a break from the more serious side of the city by sprinkling in activities that are just plain fun. You can take kids of all ages to Knight’s Action Park, which has a Splash Kingdom for the warmer months. Its arcade, go-karts, and Fortress of Fun will entertain children for hours.

Enjoy Natural Beauty

With all of its historical sites, Springfield’s natural attractions are sometimes overlooked. The city’s appeal is significant in and of itself. In fact, the city’s nickname is the Flower City because of its abundant natural beauty. Take your children for a stroll in the Springfield Park District’s Washington Park Botanical Garden. You may feel like you are wandering in a wonderland, and it will help kids burn off energy!

Southwind Park offers a fun Treeless Treehouse and a large playground. The 150-acre Washington Park has lots of wide open spaces as well as trails and two man-made lagoons. These provide plenty of opportunities for family photos. It’s probably one of the best places in the city for family selfies.

Finally, try to plan at least a full week to explore Springfield with your family. With the small town charm in its big city setting, you’ll likely want plenty of time for planned excursions and impromptu explorations with your little ones. Try this list of family-friendly Springfield hotels.


About our contributor: Robin Raven has a passion for traveling the world, and she has written about travel for such sites as Yahoo!, Hipmunk, and USA Today. As a travel writer and editor, Robin likes to meet new people and animals every chance she gets, and she loves trying the vegan food in any city. She blogs a book set in the picturesque area of Gulf Shores at

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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