Boo Rochman Memorial Park is located in Carbondale, just off Giant City Road and was built in memory of Jeremy “Boo” Rochman. Though Jeremy is no longer with us, his love of Dungeons and Dragons has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors since 2005.
The 3.5 acre park features a large wood and stone castle full of tunnels, bridges and stairs. There are hiding spots along the way and a cast of creatures from medieval times. In addition to the castle, there’s plenty of space to run around and burn off energy. Other relics from the D&D genre decorate the lot. A large sleeping dragon is popular for pictures and climbing. A child cannot only exercise their body, but their minds at this popular destination. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.
Touch of Nature is also located in Carbondale and a part of Southern Illinois University. There are year round programs available on the 3,100 acres. Kids and adults can take part in the adventure education programs like high ropes course, zip lining and rock climbing. Environmental education courses and programs are also available along with therapeutic recreation opportunities. These programs allow participants to develop leadership skills and an appreciation for the outdoors.
The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Located off Route 148 in Williamson County, there are plenty of hiking, camping and fishing opportunities available. You can sign up for guided tours or explore on your own. Throughout the year CONWR offers programs in everything from eagle tours to butterfly tagging to wilderness survival.
Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis sits on almost 1,500 acres just off the Ohio River and features outdoor amenities like bike trails, camping and water skiing. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course. The park has been part of southern Illinois since 1908 and captures elements of Colonial and early American history. Be sure to visit the Ft. Massac Encampment held each October.
Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest has been in the works for 320 million years. Besides the incredible rock formations, you’ll find plenty to do on the 3,300 acres stretching through Saline, Pope and Hardin counties. Backpacking, hiking and horseback riding are among the popular activities. You can explore along five-and-a-half miles of interconnecting trails. Spend time on the bluffs and getting a breath taking view of the natural beauty this region has to offer. Camping opportunities are also available for a small fee.
What are some of your favorite places to take the kids for outdoor fun?