Throughout the state of Illinois there are quirky activities, exhibitions and eateries to captivate different types of travellers. From the historic hand-lain brick road to the first-ever Brick Safari, the state is a myriad of unusual things to do and see.
THE SUPER MUSEUM
Located in the unofficial home of Superman, Metropolis, is the fantastic Super Museum which houses thousands of artefacts related to the “Man of Steel”. Visitors can walk over to the nearby square and snap a photo with the giant Superman statue standing guard. The museum features over 70,000+ items from the life’s work of long-time Superman enthusiast and collector, Jim Hambrick who has amassed one of the greatest collections of Superman memorabilia in the world.
THE HISTORIC BRICK ROAD
Illinois is home to the historic start of Route 66. Near Springfield, the state’s capital city, you’ll find the Original Historic Route 66 Brick Road where 1.4 miles of hand-lain brick road, completed in 1931, curves through corn fields. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the perfect stop before starting the 300-mile journey on the ‘Mother Road’ in Illinois, peppered with kitsch and colourful diners, wacky roadside attractions and murals for the ultimate photo opportunity.
MAXX FORCE ROLLER COASTER
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, just outside central Chicago, will debut the Maxx Force Roller Coaster in summer 2019. Set to be North America’s fastest launch coaster, it will reach speeds of 78 miles per hour in under two seconds and feature the fastest inversion and tallest double inversion of any roller coaster in the world.
The first-ever Brick Safari is coming to Brookfield Zoo in Summer 2019. Beginning 11 May 2019 and continuing through to 29 September 2019, more than 40 life-size animal sculptures will be swimming, stampeding and flying into Brookfield Zoo. Gaze upon wildlife sculptures created from millions of individual LEGO bricks. These never-before-seen-in-North-America LEGO brick sculptures will amaze children, those young at heart and adult fans of LEGO alike. Walk past lions, tigers and bears, and you might even spot an elephant with his trunk held high or a silverback gorilla watching the crowd.
HAMILTON: THE EXHIBITON
The hottest show on Broadway debuts its latest incarnation. 27 April marks the world premiere of Hamilton: The Exhibition, opening on Chicago’s lakefront Northerly Island. Award-winning Hamilton creator/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda is the narrator of the audio guide, ushering visitors through a 360-degree immersive exhibit that delves into the life of Alexander Hamilton, while at the same time chronicling the American Revolution and the creation of the United States. Artefacts include Hamilton’s desk, George Washington’s war tent, plus replicas of 1776 New York. The exhibit will open on Northerly Island in a specially-constructed free-standing structure the size of a football field. Following its Chicago premiere, the exhibition will travel to select U.S. cities.
SPEAKESASY COCKTAILS AT THE VIOLET HOUR
Located in an unmarked building in Chicago, painted with a bright mural that changes throughout the year, the Violet Hour is an atypical bar with rules against using mobile phones inside. Enter through a velvet curtain and be transported to 1920s America. The bar is a top spot in the heart of the city’s Wicker Park neighbourhood and brings all the glitz of Chicago prohibition yesteryear with an amazing menu of drinks, including locally distilled spirits from the surrounding areas.
BIG THINGS IN A SMALL TOWN
The small town of Casey, Illinois has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. When the town fell on hard times, the locals created marvellous and record-breaking versions of everyday items including ginormous wooden shoes, pitchfork and chair. Soon, cars were diverted from the nearby interstate to the legendary town. The towns giant wind chimes were officially recognised in the Guinness Book of World Records and if visitors would like to send a postcard home to the UK, the town is also home to the world’s largest post-box that visitors can climb to get a view of the town.