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Ballard Nature Center
Just minutes away from the city but a world away, Ballard Nature Center is home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Natural prairie, wetlands, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ponds and creeks round out the outdoor experience.
Little Brick House
Listed on the National Register, it has six restored rooms with china, furniture, engravings, and books that belonged to the settlers when Lincoln attended the legislature.
Historic National Road Scenic Byway
The National Road is called the "road that built the nation" because it was the first highway in American history. Today the National Road in Illinois covers 164 miles, from Marshall and the Wabash Valley to East St. Louis and the Mississippi River.
Located across from the Statehouse in Vandalia, the park features a life-size, bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln. This is a favorite spot for photos with the 16th president.
Vandalia State House
Step inside the Illinois’ oldest surviving State Capitol building. Vandalia was the fourth statehouse in Illinois, and is best known for the era when Abraham Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of this restored landmark.
Cowden Pioneer Days
This family friendly festival is set in the city park with plenty of carnival rides, craft vendors, flea market, foods, etc. There is also an IPRA sanctioned rodeo that takes place Friday. A demolition derby takes place on Saturday. You can also enjoy the arm wrestling. There will also be a large parade Saturday morning. Tour the historical cabins set in the park along with collections.
A Buck or More
A Buck or More offers flowers, gift baskets, parcels, party favors, supplies, and services.
The Thrift Shop
Opened in 1990 to help raise money for the local hospital and nursing home, The Thrift Shop is filled with bargains, hard-to-find items, and new and used merchandise.
Civil War Monument at the Veterans' Memorial
This monument honors generations of soliders who sacrificed their lives for their country.
Orchard View Winery
Taste the tradition of over 100 years of quality grown fruit from the Mazanek family orchards. Even connoisseurs will appreciate a glass of John James, a delightful semi-sweet blend of Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples aged in American oak.
Ten Talents Gallery and Gifts
Ten Talents Gallery features handmade, individual, and unique items by Illinois artists. We offer such items as jewelry, watercolors, ceramics, wood carvings, and much more.
Surrounded by stately oaks, Forsee Vineyards offers estate handcrafted wine in a serene country atmosphere. Sit on the patio and listen to music or take your favorite glass and stroll the six acres of vineyards.
Driftstone Pueblo carries many craft supplies including sinew, heshi, findings and cords. Also, kid's toys, beads, jewelry, canes, soapstone, metaphysical items, artifacts, crystal cubes, knives, swords, and much more.
CITY: St. Elmo
Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
As a major stopping point for migrating ducks and geese, this 9,486-acre area offers excellent public waterfowl hunting opportunities.
Open April 1 - November 11, with 19 sites available for rent. Outdoor recreation surrounds!
Fayette County Museum
Located behind the Statehouse in a century-old church, this museum is full of Lincoln-era memorabilia, including his letter cabinet and an axe carved with his initials.
Altamont Living Museum
Used today as a theater for live music and dance performances, as well as fine art exhibits, this 1912 church gives you a taste of "old-time religion" with its luminous stained-glass windows, curved oak pews and great acoustics.
American Farm Heritage Museum
Farm implements, tools, tractors, and other equipment are featured that date back 100 years. The museum is open for special events including the Outhouse Festival in the fall.
Vandalia Lake Camping
Vandalia Lake provides high quality camping facilities for overnight camping. The campground includes sites with electric outlets, modern shower with flush toilets, and a dump station for recreational vehicles. Campgrounds are open from Memorial weekend through last weekend in September.
Dr. Charles Wright House
Built in 1889 by Dr. C.M. Wright, this stately Renaissance Revival home holds three generations of Wright family furnishings, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ben Winter Museum
This museum's fascinating collection of memorabilia includes scale model locomotives and stationary industrial engines. Take a trip on the miniature train that travels through the surrounding orchards.
Effingham County Antique Mall
Offers a wide variety of old school clothes, furniture, house décor items, pictures, jewelry and more. They also offer items in todays time.
National Road Interpretive Center
The National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia, Illinois tells the story of the surveyors, laborers and travelers of the National Road, sometimes called the Cumberland Road or National Pike. The Interpretive Center is a museum with hands-on activities for children including a Conestoga wagon that the youngsters can load for its journey. Abraham Lincoln’s connection to Illinois National Road towns is also spotlighted. One of the largest artifacts is an original National Road timber dating to the 1830s. Visitors will develop a better understanding of the importance of this road to Illinois and American history as well as an appreciation for the people that were involved in its construction.
This fresh water shrimp (prawn) farm offers agricultural tours and harvest festivals in the fall. Prawn, catfish and hushpuppies are available for purchase.