Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Getting Your <strong>Kicks</strong>

Getting Your Kicks

Illinois - California

Though no longer an officially-designated US Route, the famous road which stretched for almost 2,500 miles came to be one of the most vital links for those seeking a life of adventure out west. Many communities sprang up in its wake and Route 66 became an important part of American culture. From Illinois, the Route 66 road trip heads for the Old South before taking you through the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, and pitching up on the California coast.

Getting Your Kicks

Stop 1: Cahokia Mounds Historic Site 1/14

Cahokia Mounds Historic Site

At one point in its history, the sprawling population of Cahokia made it even larger than London. Kick off your trip with some fascinating lessons about the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is digging up the history of an early Mississippian settlement - thought to be one of the most sophisticated prehistoric native sites outside of Mexico. Here you’ll find Monks Mound, the largest known earthen structure in the New World, which was also thought to hold an astronomical post for early observation of the stars.

30 Ramey Street Collinsville, IL 62234

http://cahokiamounds.org/

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Getting Your Kicks

Stop 2: Fantastic Caverns 2/14

Fantastic Caverns

Discovered in 1862 by a local farmer and his adventurous dog, the Fantastic Caverns takes you on an hour-long ride by Jeep-pulled train cars through a stunning natural underground landscape. Here you can learn about the formation of the Ozarks and get up close with the stalagmites and stalactites. One of the tour highlights is the rock upon which 12 names are carved. They belong to members of the local women’s athletic club, who were the first people to fully explore these dramatic surroundings.

4872 N. Farm Rd. 125, Springfield, MO 65803

http://www.fantasticcaverns.com/

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Stop 3: Nelson’s Old Riverton Store 3/14

Nelson’s Old Riverton Store

Along Route 66 you’ll see many rest stops and signs dedicated to preserving the storied memory of this historic road, but the town of Riverton is packed full of sights dedicated to it. Stop off at the Old Riverton Store for snacks and Route 66 souvenirs, and take in the quarter-mile stretch of Empire Power Dam Falls, which used to power the former hydroelectric plant of the same name upriver.

7109 SE Highway 66, Riverton, KS 66770

http://www.eislerbros.com/

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Getting Your Kicks

Stop 4: Tulsa Zoo 4/14

Tulsa Zoo

Tulsa Zoo is a regular fixture on nationwide tourist lists, and thanks to its wide variety of climate zones and animals on display, it’s well deserving of its spot. The ‘Life In…’ exhibits explore a wide variety of natural conditions including under the sea and in the desert, while a special rainforest has been constructed to emulate life for the animals beneath the canopy. Perfect for kids or for those adults fascinated by the natural world.

6421 East 36th Street North, Tulsa, OK 74115

https://tulsazoo.org

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Getting Your Kicks

Stop 5: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 5/14

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The Heritage Museum injects the pioneer spirit into old tales of the Wild West, with a range of artefacts and interactive displays dedicated to preserving American tradition and history. In the exhibition wing there’s a display all about life in a turn-of-the-century town, and the museum regularly welcomes some of the world’s most prominent expert speakers to discuss all things Western. It’s a great place for myth-busting everything you think you’ve learned from watching old Westerns. (Image credit: Wolfgang Sauber)

1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111

http://nationalcowboymuseum.org/

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Getting Your Kicks

Stop 6: Palo Duro Canyon 6/14

Palo Duro Canyon

Route 66 is all about the drive – and on your way to and around Palo Duro Canyon you’ll see exactly why. With 120 miles of canyon landscape and almost 30,000 acres of state park land to explore, Palo Duro prides itself on being the place to make a desert diversion. Out here you can take part in hiking activities, rent bikes or even saddle up on a hired horse.

11450 State Highway Park Road 5, Canyon, TX 79015

http://www.palodurocanyon.com/

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Stop 7: U.S. Route 66 - Sixth Street Historic District 7/14

U.S. Route 66 - Sixth Street Historic District

Amarillo was an important stop on Route 66, as evidenced by the stretch of towns dedicated to keeping its memory alive. The Sixth Street Historic District of Amarillo was the first inaugurated part of town, and here you’ll find a wide variety of stores and restaurants serving up the best Texan food. Amarillo is no sleepy backwater – boasting museums, botanical gardens and even a dragway, while thrill-seekers can head for the zipline. While away a few hours in the antiques and collectibles shops before hitting the road again.

SW 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106

https://www.visitamarillo.com/listing/route-66-historic-district/929/

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Stop 8: Albuquerque Old Town 8/14

Albuquerque Old Town

The Old Town in Albuquerque was heavily influenced by the Spanish-Pueblo style, with its flat mudbrick roofs and stuccoed walls. Even after the arrival of the railroad in 1880, the decision was made to retain these classic features, and the Old Town now thrives as a tourist hotspot. With museums, galleries and a BioPark, the Old Town is well worth a visit. There’s also a range of fantastic restaurants serving up local treats – the speciality of the area is New Mexican cuisine and there’s no better place to sample the chilli. You’ll be asked ‘red’ or ‘green’ in many of the places you go…

Old Town Road Northwest, Albuquerque, NM 87104

http://www.albuquerqueoldtown.com/

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Stop 9: Sunset Crater Volcano 9/14

Sunset Crater Volcano

Almost a thousand years ago, a volcano spewed lava and ash over what was once an inhabited region. Sunset Crater Volcano stands 8,000 feet tall and overlooks Flagstaff to the south. It’s one of many of Arizona’s remarkable natural landmarks. There’s a number of hiking trails leading up and around the crater at a range of difficulty levels – and even a wheelchair-accessible section of the path from where you can see the lava flow, as well as some unique wildlife.

6082 Sunset Crater Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

https://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm

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Stop 10: Grand Canyon 10/14

Grand Canyon

Another of the state’s amazing natural rock formations, the Grand Canyon stretches 277 miles long, 18 miles wide – and a mile deep. Book onto a bus tour – the Sunset Tours are especially popular - or spend some time hiking the hills. You can even spend a night under the stars in one of the National Park’s many campgrounds, but be sure to book well in advance as it’s extremely popular for tourists, and your fellow road-trippers. The horseshoe-shaped bridge they call the Skywalk is one for the brave – the glass floor affords a view of the canyon right beneath your feet – and 2000 feet below.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

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Stop 11: Kingman Historic Powerhouse / Route 66 Museum 11/14

Kingman Historic Powerhouse / Route 66 Museum

Before work on the Hoover Dam was completed, the Powerhouse provided power to the Kingman district and nearby towns. It’s now home to a number of museums and visitor centres covering the history of the area and the part which Route 66 played in making Kingman a prosperous place. Look out for the scale trains circling the venue – these are modelled after two of the engines from the iconic Santa Fe railroad.

120 West Andy Devine Avenue, Kingman, AZ 86401

http://www.gokingman.com/attraction-Historic-Powerhouse

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Stop 12: Route 66 at the Mother Road Museum 12/14

Route 66 at the Mother Road Museum

Although still used as a railway station out in the Mojave Desert, Barstow Harvey House also celebrates the legendary Route 66 at the Mother Road Museum. It’s here you’ll find a number of displays about the development of the original Mother Road, with photos and artwork from those tasked with its design, as well as watercolours and photographic installations of the road’s best-known sites. (Image credit: Miskatonic)

685 North 1st Avenue, Barstow, CA 92311

http://www.route66museum.org/

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Stop 13: McDonald’s Museum 13/14

McDonald’s Museum

This shrine to fast food stands on the site of the very first branch of McDonald’s, and celebrates all things red and yellow with a vast collection of displays and dioramas including the original 1940s menus. With knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions, and an all-out visual assault from the decades of collectibles and knick-knacks, this museum is a dream come true for fast food fans. (Image credit: Cogart Strangehill)

1398 North E Street, San Bernardino, CA 92405

http://juanpollo.com/route-66-attractions/mcdonalds-museum/

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Stop 14: Santa Monica Pier 14/14

Santa Monica Pier

End your drive through Americana at its finest with a stop at this Santa Monica hotspot. The famous pier celebrated its centennial in 2009 and is still going strong with its iconic Ferris wheel dominating the skyline. Take a guided tour and discover how the region has changed throughout the years, before taking a ride on the celebrated Carousel and indulging in a sweet treat or two.

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

http://www.santamonicapier.org/

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