Garden Of The Gods Shawnee National Forest
If you want to interest children in nature then the local botanic gardens or arboretum may not be enough. An occasional foray into the woods may be called for to find adventure.
Shawnee is at the southern tip of Illinois and a several hour drive from Chicago but a nice weekend get-away distance.
We spent the day hiking and exploring the caves along the Ohio River.
That night we camped nearby.
The children had loved the caves and wanted to go back after dark. We found a frog making his way back into the cave and then we all turned our lanterns off for a moment. The moon on the river outside the cave gave off quite a bit of light so it was not totally dark but a bat took that moment to fly through and everyone ran for the entrance shrieking and laughing.
Nothing in the world like a campfire and the night sounds of a forest or waking to a misty dawn and the call of birds in the trees.
We found out that every spring and fall a local road is closed to traffic for a couple of weeks for snake migration. Would you not love to hike that 2 1/2 mile road to see what crosses?