Experience the Hidden: Educational Places to Adventure
Within the city of Springfield are hidden gems for shopping, eating, and exploring – and without a local guide, it can be hard to learn about these amazing spots. This article will focus on several educational sites to explore within the Springfield area. When deciding whether or not to venture out to one of these places, please follow all COVID-19 safety precautions – even if one is vaccinated.
Henson Robinson Zoo
1100 E Lake Shore Dr, Springfield, IL 62712 / Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Open every day
The Henson Robinson Zoo has been a part of the Springfield community since 1970, utilizing a small portion of land donated by the Springfield Park District years prior to actualize the dream of having a local zoo. Since 1970, the zoo has expanded immensely to include new exhibits and animals, all to increase education on wildlife and conservation efforts. The zoo has over 80 species from all over the world, ranging from Australia to South America, small to large, and exotic to native. The zoo also has several exhibits, such as the Wolverine Exhibit, Penguin House, and Asiatic Black Bear Exhibit. The most notable residents of the zoo are African penguins, American black bears, spider monkeys, cougars, lemurs, and the list goes on. Entry into the zoo costs $8.00, and there are also several membership and volunteering options available if you are interested!
Illinois State Museum
502 S Spring St, Springfield, IL 62706 / Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Open Tuesday – Saturday
The Illinois State Museum was founded in 1877. Since then, it has expanded to include exhibitions on art, history, anthropology and natural history, with an emphasis on teaching the history of Illinois. The museum is focused on promoting discovery, learning, research and stewardship of nature and culture within the State of Illinois. The museum also often integrates its own research within its exhibitions, showcasing a diverse collection of historical and interesting exhibitions, programs and resources for museumgoers. Exhibitions include People of the Past, Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments, Walk on the Wild Side: The Story of Illinois Cats and plenty more. Entry to the museum is free for everyone, so there are no excuses not to go on an afternoon adventure to see the past!
Lincoln Memorial Garden Trail
2301 E Lake Shore Dr, Springfield, IL 62712 / Hours: All Day. Open Everyday
The Lincoln Memorial Garden was built in 1936 when Harriet Knudson, a local garden club leader, asked the city to allocate a small portion of the upcoming Lake Springfield shoreline to a memorial of President Abraham Lincoln. The garden first began cultivation in 1936, when a small number of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers from Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky were planted, chosen to signify the three places Lincoln called home throughout his life. The project was also funded by Charles Walgreen, then CEO of the Walgreens family drugstore. The Garden is on a 100-acre plot of land on the shoreline of Lake Springfield and has approximately five miles of footpaths for visitors to walk while reading about the history of Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the paths are custom-made benches with inspirational quotes from the 16th President, with impressive views of nature, lake and wildlife wherever one chooses to sit down and relax. There is no fee to enter the garden, and there is also a nature center open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.