The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park in Hodgenville Kentucky is a great place for the whole family to visit. This historic site features a visitor’s center with numerous Lincoln exhibits, a 19th century cabin, a Memorial, and over a mile of hiking trails through the land that the Lincoln family once owned.
The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville KY was established as a National Historic Site in July of 1916.
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We love to take our kids to historical sites whenever we get the chance. Our children are school-aged so seeing the places where history unfolded helps reinforce what they are learning in school. We were fortunate to be able to visit the Abraham Lincoln Kentucky Birthplace right around the time when our son was learning about the Civil War in school.
Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville KY
Plan on a couple of hours for your visit. To make a day of it, bring a picnic lunch and afterwards you can hike some of the trails. There are the three main sites of interest at the 116 acre Lincoln Birthplace National Park in Hodgenville, KY:
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Visitor Center
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Memorial Building
- Sinking Spring
Abraham Lincoln Kentucky Birthplace Visitor Center
The Visitor’s Center is a great place to start your visit to the Abraham Lincoln Kentucky Birthplace . There you can pick up a park map and talk with a park ranger. In addition, you can watch a 15 minute film on Lincoln’s early years in Kentucky.
Inside the Visitor’s Center is a small Abraham Lincoln birthplace museum with several exhibits giving us glimpses into Lincoln’s life.
You can learn about Abraham Lincoln’s geneology and see the Lincoln Family Bible. They also have a wonderful exhibit that teaches about what life was like for a pioneer around the time of Lincoln’s birth.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park Memorial Building
Just a short walk from the Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site Visitor’s Center is the Memorial Building which houses the Symbolic Cabin.There are 56 granite steps leading up to the Memorial Building, one for each year of Lincoln’s life.
Dedicated in 1911, the Memorial Building was designed by John Russell Pope in the neo-classical style. Throughout the architecture of the building, you will find several groups of 16, honoring the fact that Lincoln was our 16th president. For example, there are 16 rosettes in the ceiling and 16 windows in the building.
On the exterior face of the Memorial Building is carved this quote
Over the log cabin where Lincoln was born
Destined to preserve the Union and to free the slave
A grateful people have dedicated this memorial
to unity, peace, and brotherhood among the states.
With malice toward none, with charity for all.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Symbolic Cabin
It is believed that the original cabin at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Kentucky was torn down some time prior to his death in 1865. Although the actual cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born is long gone, the park services constructed the Symbolic Cabin on the site of the original one.
The symbolic cabin is housed within the Memorial Building. You can walk around all sides of the 1 room cabin, but a chain barrier permits you from entering the structure.
Sinking Spring Farm – Site of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Kentucky
On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on the Sinking Spring Farm. The Sinking Spring at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site is the actual site where the Lincoln family obtained their water.
The Sinking Spring was given the name because of the way the water fell into a pit and just disappeared into the earth. In fact the Lincoln Farm was known as Sinking Spring Farm because of this water source.
The Sinking Spring is located just down the hill from the Abraham Lincoln Kentucky Birthplace Memorial Building. You will find the path to the springs not too far from the base of the steps to the memorial. There are signs posted to help you find it.
To preserve this historic site, the National Park Service asks that you don’t throw coins or trash into the springs.
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Take a Virtual Tour of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
If you don’t live nearby and are unable to visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in hodgenville KY , be sure to check out this video that takes you on a virtual tour of the National Historic Site.
Other Things To Do At The Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
While the main attractions at the Lincoln Birthplace national park are the visitor’s center, and the symbolic cabin, there are plenty of other things to do as well.
- Have a picnic. At the east side of the park, there are picnic tables so you can enjoy a meal in the fresh air. So be sure to pack a picnic basket for your visit to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Kentucky.
- Take a hike. There are 2 separate hiking trails to enjoy at the Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. The Boundary Oak Trail is just a third of a mile, forming a loop from the Visitor’s Center. It passes by the Sinking Spring, the Boundary Oak, and the Memorial Building. The second trail is the Big Sink Trail and it originates at the picnic area. It is a 1 mile loop.
- Become an Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Jr. Ranger. Kids can ask for a Jr. Ranger booklet at the Visitor’s Center. Once they complete the booklet, they can return it to the park for a badge and a certificate.
Don’t forget to get your National Park Passport Stamps
The US National Park system has a fun passport system. Each National Park has a date stamp and many people find it fun to collect them. You can buy an official passport for a nominal fee, or you can do like I do, and just stamp it your travel journal.
There are a couple of passport stamps you can collect at the Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. So make sure to get those before you leave.
Other Abraham Lincoln Historical Sites
If you are interested in learning more about the history of our 16th president, then you might want to check out the other Lincoln Memorial Sites around the country.
- Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek Abraham Lincoln lived in a cabin on Knob Creek between the ages of 2 and 8. The Lincoln Boyhood Home is also a part of the National Park Service and is about 10 miles from the Lincoln Birthplace.
- Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Located just outside Lincoln City, Indiana, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial site features a visitor center, the memorial cabin, the Lincoln Spring, working historical farm, and a pioneer cemetery.
- Abraham Lincoln Home in Illinois This historic site in Springfield Illinois was the home of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Visitors can tour the home which has been restored to look much as it did during Lincoln’s time.
- Gettysburg National Cemetery Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address at the cemetery’s dedication in November of 1863.
- Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. This historic theatre still offers performances. In addition, you can tour the theatre and learn more about the fateful evening when our country lsost one of th
- Lincoln Tomb Located in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, the Lincoln Tomb is the site of the burial of our 16th president, his wife, and three of their children.
- Lincoln Memorial This iconic memorial in Washington DC is a must-see if you are in the area. We had seen the memorial in pictures and in movies, but it was much more impressive in person. I highly recommend seeing it lit up at night too if you are able.
Quick Links to Info on This Page
- Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville KY
- Abraham Lincoln Kentucky Birthplace Visitor Center
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park Memorial Building
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Symbolic Cabin
- Sinking Spring Farm – Site of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Kentucky
- Take a Virtual Tour of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
- Other Things To Do At The Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
- Don’t forget to get your National Park Passport Stamps
- Other Abraham Lincoln Historical Sites
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While you are here, be sure to check out our top 5 picks for kid friendly things to do in Kentucky.
So tell me… Have you ever visited the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park? If you have visited the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace in Hodgenville KY or any of the other Lincoln memorials be sure to leave us a comment below. We would love to hear about your visit.