Take advantage of the summer sunshine with some of our family friendly summer adventure suggestions. A day at the pool, picking fresh produce, and enjoying the sweet tastes of summertime.
1700 34th St, Mt Vernon, IL 62864 (618) 241-0691
Beat the heat at one of the best waterparks in Southern Illinois! The Aquatic Zoo Water Park is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day each summer in Mt. Vernon and offers excitement for the whole family! Take a quick trip down the thirty-foot tall body slide generating 3 G-forces or glide through an enclosed dual rider tube slide. Show off your best jumps on the high or low diving boards or practice your backstroke in the lap pool. Take the little ones into the children’s splash pad for an interactive adventure with animal sounds, a tipping bucket and mini slides. Wind around on the lazy river or relax in the zero-depth entry leisure pool. Grab a bite to eat in the concession area featuring a full menu of hot dogs, pretzels, pizza, soft drinks, nachos, sweet treats, and more.
Fewer things taste like summertime than fresh, locally grown produce. Fruit picking can be a fun girls day adventure or family friendly activity. This itinerary will give you some ideas of places in Jefferson County where you can pick and buy fresh produce!
Oak Branch Strawberry Farm
14597 East Ina Road Ina, IL 62846 618-316-1944
This small, family-owned farm located south of Mt. Vernon in Ina, IL offers some of the best strawberries around. Wear your old shoes to venture out in the field and pick your own strawberries or ask for pre-picked berries. Picking buckets are available. However, bringing your own storage container to take home berries is encouraged! Strawberries are priced by pound, $1.35/lb for U-Pick and $2.75/lb for pre-picked. The height of strawberry picking season in Southern IL is in May. Oak Branch Farm’s hours are Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm and closed on Sundays.
23650 N. Harmony Lane, Texico, IL 62889 618-755-9910
Martin's Nest is a locally owned U-Pick Blueberry Farm located north of Mt. Vernon in Texico, IL. They offer four different varieties of delicious blueberries. Taste as you go and decide on your favorite kind. Berries are picked in a bucket, weighed, and can be taken home in a plastic bag. Call ahead for specific picking times, as blueberry picking season generally runs from the end of June through July.
20791 IL-37, Dix, IL 62830 (618) 266-7756
Also north of Mt. Vernon, Schwartz Orchard in Dix, IL offers fresh fruits and vegetables for sale. Their Dix location is pre-picked only, with U-Pick fruits and vegetables offered at their main Centralia, IL orchard location. At the Schwartz Market in Dix, you can purchase berries, peaches, apples, and fresh vegetables. Their bakery offers sweet-smelling apple cider donuts years round. You can find other treats such as fruit cobbler, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake, gourmet apples, and apple and cherry turnovers. You can’t leave without buying their award-winning apple cider! Both Schwartz locations open in early May with open hours from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. every day.
Time Square Mall 7274 Broadway St & S 42nd St, Mt Vernon, IL 62864
Every Tuesday and Friday between May and October you can find fresh grown produce, baked goods, and more at the Farmer’s Market located in the parking lot of the Times Square Mall. From 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. shop from several area farmers and growers for pre-picked fruits and vegetables, jams, breads, kettle corn, BBQ, and even items like boutique clothing and wooden décor!
There is never a wrong time to enjoy sno-cones or ice cream! Stop by one of our local stands and devour a cool treat.
Mary’s Sno-Cone Stand
Veteran’s Park 800 S. 27th St, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Mary’s has been a staple in Mt. Vernon for many years. Located in Veteran’s Park, and open seasonally in the summer, Mary offers a selective menu of sno-cone flavors well known by the community. Some popular flavors include blue eagle, tigers’ blood, ice cream, and grape. Sugar free flavors are also available.
15th and Veterans Memorial Dr, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Lasting Impressions serves dozens of flavors of piled high sno-cones. Some unique flavors include pickle juice, wedding cake, nectarine, and more. Sugar free flavors are available. They also offer soft serve ice cream cones, milk shakes, sundaes, and ice cream mixes. After finishing their sno-cones, kids can play on the wooden jungle gym climbing area located in back. Lasting Impressions is open seasonally from 3-9 p.m. everyday.
Twist and Shake
675 S IL Highway 37, Bonnie, IL 62816 (618) 242-2468
Looking for after dinner ice cream? The Twist and Shake is located south of Mt. Vernon in Ina, IL. Owned by the Bonnie Café next door, you can stop in the café for dinner and pick up ice cream at the stand on your way out! The Twist and Shake offers sundaes, shakes, avalanches, ice cream cones, banana splits, and a variety of sno-cone flavors, as well. Treat your self to a hot fudge brownie delight or peanut buster parfait.