Visiting the Capitol in Springfield, Illinois can be an exciting opportunity for you on your next vacation to the state capital where you can meet the political representatives of the state by taking a tour of the Capitol.
The Capitol building was first established in March of 1868, with the formal laying of the first cornerstone taking place in October of that year, but it wasn't until 1876 that the General Assembly first moved into the building; since then, multiple renovation and construction projects have built this building up to its current majesty.
Taking a tour of this piece of Illinois history is a great trip, no matter what age you are, as it offers an educational and informative look into the inner-workings of Illinois' government officials, but knowing who your representatives are before visiting will increase your understanding of who and what you're seeing on the General Assembly floor.
Knowing Your Local Senators and Representatives
Chicago and suburban Cook County, IL residents can quickly identify their Illinois State Senators by typing their address into a database with the Illinois State Board of Elections Website. The website gives contact information for every state senator, and each district number can be found in parentheses after the state senator's name.
Illinois residents who do not live in Chicago or suburban Cook County can also go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website to identify their Illinois State Senator; you can also find out who your Illinois State Representative is by checking out the same website and searching for your local representative.
These state senators and representatives serve in the State of Illinois General Assembly or legislature, which meets in Springfield, IL, so if you're planning on visiting the Capitol there, it might benefit you to get to know a little more about these elected officials before your trip.
Taking a Tour and Meeting Your Elected Officials
The Illinois Department of Physical Services, run out of an office at 501 South Second Street (Room 034) in Springfield, Illinois, hosts daily walking tours of the State Capitol, but tours begin at the Tours and Information Office in Room 107 on the first floor of the Capitol's north wing.
Reservations can be made in advance by calling the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, but choosing which date to go is entirely up to you, so make sure that you select a date when the General Assembly is meeting if you want a chance to meet your representative or senator—you might even run into U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Also be sure to leave additional time before your tour to check in with security to make sure you and your group are following the rules of the tour: The group leader will need to check in with the security guard upon arrival, students must be accompanied by an adult, bags are subject to search, metal detectors may be used, and pocket knives are strictly prohibited.
Those with physical disabilities can also access special tours that accommodate wheelchairs and those who are hard of seeing or hearing. Be sure to check out the official tour website for more information on these specialty services.