The Most Quirky Museums and Lodgings in Ilinois

Covering the Gamut from Surgery to Curiosity

By Maria Myers

Illinois sports fans and comedians alike are familiar with the phrase, “Daaaaa Bears”. Aside from the famous sports team and the SNL skit based off of them, Illinois has many selling points for tourists, many you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, whether they be in or outside of the bustling hub of Chicago.

Illinois Museums

One of the many educational displays at the Within the walls of the city, visitors should definitely hit up the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. www.tripadvisor.com
One of the many educational displays at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. www.tripadvisor.com

Visitors to Chicago should definitely hit up the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago.

Whether you’re a medical student or just an admirer of anatomy, this museum will provide hours of entertainment. Being a division of the International College of Surgeons (ICS) over 10,000 square feet (four floors) of galleries have been made open to the public.

Highlighting the history of medicine through artifacts, paintings, illustrations and sculptures, this wealth of knowledge helps to explain the path our ancient and modern forms of health and care have taken us.

The exterior of the Super Museum in Metropolis is as festive as what lies inside.
The exterior of the Super Museum in Metropolis is as festive as what lies inside.

The Super Museum

Outside of the big city and a little further away from fact is the Super Museum.

Fittingly located in Metropolis Illinois on Superman Square, the colorful brick building houses nearly every superman toy ever made.

Movie props, promotional materials from major motion pictures as well as the small screen also line the walls. $2.5 billion of dollars of craft spread out over 75 years.

But the biggest highlight; one of the last George Reeves costumes. Fly by the next time you have some free time for this little slice of American culture.

The Curiosity Museum

For the Lex Luthors and Bizarros of the world, the Curiosity Museum in Alvin, Illinois is the perfect fit. The title may be a little misleading, as this is a museum of historic torture devices, along with ghost hunting kits, Victorian Killing Kits and much, much more.

Those dedicated to the “just plain weird” will truly appreciate this bizarre gallery of oddities set aside just for them. Visitors will discover that lodging and entertainment go hand in hand on this venture as the museum itself is housed in the Mineral Springs Hotel.

A chastity belt from the Curiosity museum; glad these are out of fashion; they made break-up very difficult.
A chastity belt from the Curiosity museum; glad these are out of fashion; they made break-ups very difficult.

Funky Illinois Lodgings

Speaking of places to rest your head, there’s no shortage of fantastical inns, houses, and nooks and crannies to enjoy and utilize across the prairie state, starting off strong with the Rocky Comfort Cabins in Southern Illinois.

These cabins can be compared to a pretty accurate Hobbit habitat, falling just short of visiting New Zealand and seeing the actual movie set built into the countries rolling hills.

Though I don’t think you’ll mind the addition of the king-sized bed and hot tub. This, paired with the lodgings secret path to Blue Sky Vineyard winery will help create a modern day fantasy experience.

The similarities to the hobbit houses found in the fantasy books and movies of Lord of the Rings is uncanny - the roofs are even made of grass.
The similarities to the hobbit houses found in the fantasy books and movies of Lord of the Rings is uncanny – the roofs are even made of grass.

The Shawnee National Forest has its own hidden amenities to catch. You’ve got some options here, first off – a bus, located on a farm called Golconda within the national park. Aside from the endless natural beauty and hiking options for eco-tourists, you can now sleep in a bus like Christopher McCandless.

The solar-powered-bus found in Shawnee National Forest. (money.com)
The solar-powered-bus found in Shawnee National Forest. (money.com)

But unlike the infamous subject of the book Into The Wild, you’ll be well covered; with solar power, a full bed, two burner kitchen stove and a killer lakefront view.

If automobiles aren’t so much your style, make your way to The Barn. The largest cabin along the SI wine trail, this architectural beauty sits on 70 acres of land.

The stunning renovated Barn. (www.airbnb.com)
The stunning renovated Barn. (www.airbnb.com)

With five-bed and three-bath versions, this renovated barn is perfect for big family groups looking to make use of the getaway’s ideal location, galley kitchen, and extensive yard.

For those not as big a fan of mosquitos and the great outdoors, mosey on over to the Davie School Inn.

Located near Carbondale, this schoolhouse was originally built in 1910 and converted into a BnB. Hints of the buildings past life can be found in some of the rooms that still house the original school’s chalkboards.

Don't worry; the rooms of the David School Inn have been extensively and beautifully renovated. (tripadvisor.com )
Don’t worry; the rooms of the David School Inn have been extensively and beautifully renovated. (tripadvisor.com )

If the classroom brings back too many memories, find your vacation bliss in farm country. Converted grain silos are deceivingly cozy places for rest.

Check out The Unique Grain Bin Cottage in West Point (Western Illinois) or The Has Bin in the Eastern Illinois town previously mentioned, Alvin.

The Has Bin and it's cousin are perfect for the modest traveler.(news-gazette.com)
The Has Bin and its cousin are perfect for the modest traveler.(news-gazette.com)

Both accommodations feature sleeping lofts, baths prepared breakfast and deep disconnection from the hectic hustle of more populated areas.

Keep your head and your feet off the ground in this Western Illinois hotel; the Ten Acre Treehouse Village.

Eight miles from Nauvoo, this privately owned getaway has recently welcomed another structure to its little village; a 400-square foot Captain’s Quarters. The new tree house can house four to six guests.

It’s nautical theme happily doesn’t take itself too seriously, and its location to historic Nauvoo allows visitors to take in a little about the towns Mormons roots, horse-drawn wagon tours, and noteworthy downtown sites.

Florsheim Mansion Chicago

The new Captains Quarters tree house at Ten Acres Treehouse is a must see. (enjoyillinois.com)
The new Captains Quarters tree house at Ten Acres Treehouse is a must see. (enjoyillinois.com)

Ending with the shining Chicago, the Florsheim Mansion is highly sought out and well known for its untraditional and curvy exterior, paired with its five bedroom, five bath and “bridge kitchen” interior.

This urban getaway is the definition of opulence. As the building’s official website states, “Dwell in the birthplace of modernity.”

 The Florsheim Mansion was named after shoe heiress and sculptor Lillian Florsheim (chicago.turbed.com)
The Florsheim Mansion was named after shoe heiress and sculptor Lillian Florsheim (chicago.turbed.com)

Whether you decide to stick close to the metropolis of Chicago or venture out to the smaller town of actual Metropolis, these abnormal attractions and lodgings will amaze and delight.

Come experience the tourism road less traveled all across the state of Illinois.

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