Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock/Pounds Hollow Recreational area are two must see locations on the eastern side of the Shawnee National Forest. Both are located just off Karbers Ridge blacktop 30 minutes from Harrisburg. Garden of the Gods consists of spectacular overlooks and views of unusual rock formations. One formation, known as Camel Rock, is featured in the America the Beautiful Quarter Program representing Illinois and came out in 2016. The “Observation Trail” is a .25 mile stone path featuring some of the most well known formations. At the intersection of Garden of the Gods and Karbers Ridge roads, is a popular ‘selfie spot’ with Sassy the Sasquatch, a7-foot-tall statue weighing in at 2,600 pounds that has become a landmark in the sprawling forest near Herod. Also located on that corner is the Garden of the Gods Outpost, where you’ll find souvenirs (to include items containing the likeness of “Sassy” – Shawnee Forest Country’s own Sasquatch), snacks, soft drinks, and some of the best ice cream around.
Giant City State Park and the Makanda area offers camping, horseback riding, fishing and rappelling. You will love the many hiking trails. Especially popular is the Giant City Nature Trail, home of the “Giant City Streets” – huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago. At Giant City Stables saddle up for trail rides with experienced wranglers through private trails. Hand led pony rides are available for children.
Enjoy the breeze zipping through the trees, at Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour where safety is always number one, so don’t be afraid. This is the place to check zip lining off your bucket list! You will start off with ‘flight school’ before you ever get out in the canopy. Allow 3 hours for an exciting canopy tour. The guides will educate you about the flora, fauna, geology and history of the outdoors by safely traversing an established route of ziplines and aerial bridges between platforms built in the trees.
If you are looking for a super Spring Break adventure look no further than the Super Museum in Metropolis, IL. Not only is Metropolis, IL the Official “Home of Superman” it is also home to one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of Superman memorabilia at the Super Museum. The world famous Super Museum officially opened on Superman Square in 1993 in the Man of Steel’s official hometown of Metropolis, Illinois. The museum features over 70,000+ items from the life’s work of longtime Superman enthusiast and collector, Jim Hambrick who has amassed one of the greatest collections of Superman memorabilia in the world. Among the items showcased in the museum from the iconic superhero’s 75+ year history are virtually every Superman toy ever produced, as well as movie props and promotional materials from all the Superman movies & TV series (including “Smallville” and “Man of Steel”) and one of the only George Reeves Superman costumes still in existence. The museum is organized around particular eras and portrayals of Superman, spanning television, movies, and comics; and is changed frequently, to encourage repeat visits. The Super Museum has received many honors as well including being awarded “#1 Small Town Attraction In America”. It has also been proudly featured on television on the shows The Daily Show, Entertainment Tonight, EXTRA, Treasures in your Home, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, “Kovel’s on Collecting”, TNN, ‘E’ Entertainment Television, & Unsolved Mysteries as well as dozens of documentary and News programs around the world. If you have the opportunity to travel to Metropolis, Illinois, we invite you to stop by the Super Museum for some SUPER FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY!! The museum is open daily 8AM to 7PM. Price of admission is $8.00 for visitors 6 and up. Children 5 and younger are free with a paying adult. After you explore the Super Museum be sure to stop at the Superman Statue for a #superselfie! Only in Metropolis, can you get your picture with a 15 foot bronze statue of the “Man of Steel.” The Metropolis Chamber of Commerce took advantage of the slower visitation due to covid-19 and had the statue fully refurbished in the fall of last year. Superman is now picture ready with his vibrant new paint job in the traditional colors of red, blue and yellow. You can continue your Super Spring Break Adventure by walking a few blocks from Superman to the corner of 8th & Market Street to get another #superselfie with Superman’s leading lady, Lois Lane. This is no ordinary statue of Lois Lane. This statue is Noel Neill as Lois Lane. Neill portrayed Lois Lane in the original Adventures of Superman. Neill was an avid supporter of the annual Superman Celebration and the City of Metropolis, earning her the distinct title of “First Lady of Metropolis.” She is forever memorialized with her likeness beside the bronze Metropolis Planet Globe statue. Between the Super Museum, Superman Statue and Noel Neill as Lois Lane Statue you will find many shops and eateries along Market Street. This is a great place to find one of a kind “Home of Superman” merchandise that can only be sold in Metropolis, IL. Be sure to grab a sweet treat from Sissy’s Sweet Shoppe or plan your stop around a meal at El Toro Loco. Market Street is also home to several boutiques that carry men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as home decor and novelty items. This super stop will meet all your Spring Break Adventure needs!
Castle Park in Carbondale is a wonderful place for kids to adventure while in Southern Illinois. It was designed for children with the centerpiece of the park being a wood and stone castle. The park incorporates a jungle gym of tunnels, stairs,and bridges, hidden doors and passageways. With a Dungeon and Dragons theme, decor includes pennants, gargoyles, knights guarding the ramparts and an ogre with a spiked club. The park is also a beautiful place to spend time outdoors among trees, flowers and hand-made sculptures of gremlins, gnomes, and other fantasy creatures. A favorite photo-op spot is a giant, sleeping dragon. Other cool park features sure to allow kids’ imaginations to run wild are a three-headed dragon perched on a picnic gazebo and a single-headed beast sits atop a fountain of wizard heads spitting water. The park was built expecting only local visitors, but has proved to be popular with D&D fans worldwide.
Visit SI: Williamson County has great destinations for family friendly spring break adventures! The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge has over 43,000 acres of land and water just waiting to be explored! Take a hike one of their beautiful trails like the Rocky Bluff Trail or the Harmony Trail, where you will be able to spot various plants and wildlife. You can also enjoy a number of water activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and more! If you don’t have your own kayaks, Fisheye Kayak Rentals will deliver them to any Southern Illinois waterway and pick them up onsite for a fun, hassle-free experience! In Marion, Magnus Fear is the area’s leading paintball course. They offer a number of packages and playing options, including private group reservations and equipment rentals! Pirate Pete’s in Marion is a classic arcade with food, games, and laser tag! For those little makers, there are great options for crafts and creations. Fish Tales Pottery in Herrin has a large selection of pottery and paints just waiting to be turned in to one-of-a-kind works of art! The Creative Getaway in Marion is another great little shop to get your craft on. Their “Pinterest inspired” workshop is the perfect place to create special gifts, home décor, and more! If you’d like to add a little learning into your activities, Williamson County has several historical museums and statues that make for a fun and educational afternoon of exploring. Along with the Williamson County Historical Museum and the Carterville Heritage Museum, the Harrison Bruce Historical Village at John A. Logan College offers an experience steeped in history. Places like the Doughboy Statue and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Vietnam Memorial and Tank are great places to pay tribute and remembrance to our military. Enjoy a few carefree days in Williamson County this spring!