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Fun Things to Do and See When in Southeast Missouri
Old picture of St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway
Lots of fun to be had in Southeastern Missouri
In the Midwest USA, there is no shortage of fun and interesting things to do. If you are ever in the southeastern portion of the state of Missouri make sure to look up these things and have some fun. I know that I was surprised to learn of them all.
This is the basic list of top things to do, but I will go into more detail below, on some of them. In no particular order, make sure to see Mark Twain National Forest, Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Lake Wappapello, St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, Elephant Rocks State Park, Bootheel Youth Museum, Current and Jack's Fork Rivers, Bonne Terre Mine, Eleven Point River, and perhaps even Fort de Chartres State Park Historic Site. With this kind of list, you will likely run out of time before you will run out of fun and adventure.
Fun at Johnsons Shut Ins, huge rocks and black river
Johnson's Shut Ins State Park
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park has an odd name, but once you know why it is called that you will understand. I have heard many differing points of view on this place! Some say it is super fun, and memories can be made that you will never forget, but then others share that it is very dangerous. So please if you go, exercise extreme caution for your well being, and be safe above all.
This is an incredible park, and the Black River runs around huge boulders to create the gorges also known as "shut ins". The river is swift, which makes it all even more fun. What you end up with is a serious of waterfalls, chutes, and pools that make for some great fun for kids of all ages. (Please exercise extreme caution). The water can be powerful at times, and the rocks can be slippery. While this makes it part of the great fun, it can create some danger if you are not careful. It is not a place to go and goof off. That all said, you need to visit this place, and have a grand time. Its one of nature's natural playgrounds, or "water parks."
This is a great way to get out and enjoy beautiful nature, and the joys that come with it. This park has 8,500 acres, with 50 campsites, picnic areas, and many trails. In fact, it has 13 miles of hiking trails and is a beautiful wilderness area. Because of its popularity, you will want to make sure and get your reservations in. Even if you haven't, it is worth calling to see if you can get in. Here are the basic details. Phone (573) 546-2450, or (800) 334-6946. Visit www.mostateparks.com for more information as well. The campsites run $14.00 per day for sites that have electric hook ups. It is just $8.00 a day for tent camping, and you will need to register. For camping reservations call (877) 422-6766. There is an $8.50 registration fee the last time I checked.
Rebuilding Johnson's Shut Ins, and information on the fun there
St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway
St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway in Jackson Missouri is a 10 mile amusement ride. You seem to go into the past, and this trip takes about 80 minutes or so. It goes between Jackson and Gordonville. The neat thing is that you board actual passenger cars from the 1920s, and get pulled by either steam or a diesel locomotive.
What comes next is fun and surprising! You may get visits from from friends of the Jesse James gang, or musicians. You may even observe a murder on the trip, oh my!
There are other options available which sound very interesting, like a two hour 14 mile long dinner trip. Wouldn't that be so great to do with some friends or just with strangers even? They also have a 3 and half hour mystery trip. This trip is 16 miles long and who knows what will happen? No matter what, you get that neat feel (and smell) of an authentic old train chugging on down the tracks. Kids love this. Often, if you ask (if I am not mistaken, do check ahead) kids can ride in the upper portion of the caboose, or even in the front with the engineer. This could be a kids dream come true. It is fun and educational.
St. Louis Iron Mountain, Southern Railway, from top of train
Elephant Rocks State Park Missouri
Elephant Rocks State Park
If you like rocks like I do, then you will love this park in Graniteville Missouri. It definitely lives up to its name with its huge giant granite boulders. My whole life I have loved rocks, and nature. This draws me in, and I truly love these kinds of places where nature has almost a comedic side to it. You have to know that you can't take any of these big rocks home though, as some are several feet long and tall.
The big boulders at Elephant rocks state park, stand end to end, and some think they are millions if not billions of years old (we can leave the age up to each individual however, as that is a large gap! Some will say thousands of years, so we get that big range of age). You can follow a neat trail throughout the big rocks, and even see "Dumbo"! The largest of the rocks measure in at 27 feet tall, and aproximately 35 feet long.
Bring a picnic or sack lunch as they have a picnic area on the grounds and a lake to fish in. I think it makes a great place to take pictures, so bring your camera. They don't call this area Graniteville for nothing.