When we first arrived in Spencer County, our first stop was to visit the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Living History Farm. We started out at the Memorial Visitor Center and took a tour through some educational displays. My favorite panel was about political cartoons on Lincoln’s stance on slavery. Also not to be missed is the Abraham Lincoln Hall. I love beautiful rooms and there are so many fantastic details in this space!
Photo provided by Spencer Co press kit
Teagan and I took a walk to the Living History Farm while Jeff and Zach drove up the road to the other parking lot. Teagan and I spotted so many butterflies on our walk!
On the walk, we passed by the gravesite of Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. She died at the age of 35 from milk sickness (from the brochure- “Milk sickness occurs when cattle graze on the white snakeroot… the plant contains the toxin tremetol, a poison to animals and to humans who consume the milk products or meat of those animals”).
We met up with Jeff and Zach at the Living History Farm. This is a small living farm- a cabin that replicates the life of Lincoln in his boyhood and some farm buildings. When we were there, we talked with one costumed Ranger who talked with us about the cabin and answered any questions we had. We then walked across a road and down a small path to the Lincoln Spring. We were expecting a small body of water but instead found an enclosed well! At first, Jeff and I had a good laugh but then took advantage of the teachable moment to explain to Teagan about having to walk from the cabin to this point every time you needed water.
Next, we traveled across the street to the Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza and Amphitheatre.
Photo provided by Spencer County press kit
The Plaza was beautiful. I enjoyed reading all of the quotes and the Gettysburg Address while the kids had room to run and play.
Funny story- at this point in the trip, Zach insisted that he had to potty. But the State Park bathrooms have… bathrooms that are without electricity or flushing toilets. Zach was NOT a happy camper and refused to use these facilities. He started crying- “Wanna go home and use potty!” Jeff did finally bribe him with gummy bears. But we had a tense 20 minutes! I also had horrific visions of Zach falling into the toilet- down into the pit below and I had horrible Schindler’s List visions flying through my head.
Anyway, we were next treated to a little visit to the Lincoln Amphitheatre where rehearsals were underway for “Lincoln.” The Amphitheatre seats 1,500 and is nestled into a very scenic part of Lincoln State Park.
Photos below were provided by Spencer Co in my press kit- I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during rehearsal due to Equity rules.
From what I’m told, the story of the show takes place during the 9 hours from the time Lincoln was shot until he died- the story focuses on his flashbacks to his boyhood in Indiana and the moments that formed him to be the man who would become President.
The show opens June 18 and runs through August 7. You can have a full Lincoln Experience by enjoying pre-show activities, a special Lincoln exhibit, visit with various artisans, and enjoy a catered meal before the show.
The cool thing about all of the Lincoln stuff we saw was that it would be an awesome experience for homeschoolers looking for a family getaway with some real educational impact. There were so many opportunities for conversation about Lincoln and all he accomplished and how he got there. And then to wrap it all up with the theatre experience and really understand the emotional impact of this man… well, I think it could truly be something special.
In addition, there are some great things to do in the park that would be fun for the family!
There’s a beach and hiking and camping and paddle boats to take out on the lake. We definitely could have enjoyed a full afternoon there!