Visiting the Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln in Hodgenville, Kentucky
By Meg Brunson
When I think of Abraham Lincoln, I think of Illinois... I had no idea that he was born in Kentucky! A bit part of our road trip has focused on learning American History - and learning about the presidents has been a great way to guide these lessons. We loved seeing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC so we definitely wanted to visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Kentucky!
Inside the visitor center the kids grabbed their Junior Ranger booklets and we watched a short video that talked about the Lincoln family and the birthplace of Ambraham Lincoln. We learned that Lincoln's father had property called "Sinking Spring" because of the spring/cavern of the same name located at the bottom of the hill where they lived in a small single-room cabin. The video also introduced us to the First Lincoln Memorial, built in the place where Lincoln was born, and housing the symbolic Birth Cabin - all things that we'd experience first-hand during our visit.
The First Lincoln Memorial is built on the hill where historians believe Lincoln's first home was originally built. The Memorial Building houses and protects the symbolic birth cabin of Abraham Lincoln. 56 steps lead up to the First Lincoln Memorial - one for every year of the president's life!
The Symbolic Birth Cabin is a life size replica of the single-room cabin where the Lincoln family lived when the future 16th President of the United States was born. You can not touch, or enter the cabin - but it is cool to walk around it and imaging how a family would all live in that one small space (slightly easier for us since we're currently living in a 35' RV!)
To get a feel for what the inside of the birth cabin would be like, there was a great interactive play area in the visitor center. The room was designed to look like Lincoln's boyhood single-room home, with a spinning wheel, fireplace, and other furniture and tools that the family likely would have used. In that area, the kids had access to tables, chairs, and crayons to work on their Jr. Ranger booklets - and they could also play with Lincoln Logs and other toys that would have been played with when Lincoln was a boy.
Sinking Spring is a spring and small cavern, located just below the hill on which Abraham Lincoln was born. We were able to walk down close to the Spring, and could feel the drop in temperature as we got closer. It's really neat to experience that temperature change in the warmth of summer, and also think about the fact that the Lincoln family spent time in that same exact spot for many years.
Tips for a Great Visit
- What time is it? It's important to note that this park is only 8 miles from the "time zone line" and is in EASTERN time zone. We were staying in Central time, so we had to pay special attention when figuring out what time they opened and closed!
Walking Shoes - There is a lot to see at this park and only a small portion is inside the visitor center - you'll want to walk over to the monument and see sinking spring... so wear comfy shoes!
- Knob Creek - You may also choose to visit Lincoln's boyhood home a short distance away at Knob Creek. We did not visit on this trip though!
Learn more about the Lincon Birthplace National Historical Park and start planning your visit at https://www.nps.gov/abli/index.htm
Looking for something else to do in Kentucky? Mammoth Cave National Park is only an hour away - but be aware that Mammoth Caves is in CENTRAL time, whereas Lincoln's Birthplace is in EASTERN time.
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2019 Meg Brunson
All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!