Let's say you've got a day off and you just gotta get out of Dodge for a while. The kids are going stir crazy with their summer vacation and you want to go on a quick day trip, or even a weekend road trip, to see some of the cool, quirky, out of the way things Illinois has to offer (or Missouri). Here are some of the best.

Kaskaskia Dragon in Vandalia

Tourist trap? Maybe. Freakin' awesome tourist trap? Definitely. Who doesn't love a giant fire breathing dragon? This one's only three hours away, but kind of a quick stop, so I would save this for when you're hitting any of the other places, just to make the spent gas worthwhile. Visit the website for more info.


The home (sort of) of the Man of Steel is 300 miles away, so about a 5 hour drive. If you get up and leave early, you could definitely make it down by mid-day with plenty of time to check out the Superman museum and get your picture taken with the Superman statue.

Boo Castle Park in Carbondale

This memorial park was set up to honor the memory of the owner's son, who passed in a tragic car accident. It's Dungeons and Dragons themed, with castles and statues of dragons and knights and ogres, all sorts of fantasy creatures. The kids will love it. Follow them on Facebook for updates.

Aikman Wildlife Adventure - Arcola

It's like a zoo, but better. They've got over 150 animals you can get up close and personal with, just a 190 miles in Arcola. They have a drive-thru adventure, a walk-thru, even a covered wagon tour. For more info, visit their website.

Abraham Lincoln Library - Springfield

I know this isn't exactly little known or unique, but by all accounts it's a phenomenal visit. So if you even kind of, sort of have an interest in history, it's worth checking out. And it's on the way to or from the dragon up top, so you can totally do both in one day. Not to mention tickets are half price right now, so are tickets to the State Fair.

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