The Heartland of America offers a wide variety of vacation experiences, ranging from remote to big-city and nearly everything in between. A Midwest flair for the unique and the unusual even offers vacationers a number of out-of-the-ordinary destinations. Here are some Midwest vacation destinations offering something that can’t be found anywhere else, the hometowns and stomping grounds of these legendary figures.
Metropolis, Illinois: Hometown of Superman
Located on the Ohio River at the southern tip of Illinois, this small town attracts superhero fans from around the planet. The largest attraction by far is the “Superman Celebration” that happens annually during the second week of June. During this time of year, the town attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors to meet Superman and participate in four days of festivities. Numerous other superheroes also come to town for the superhero costume contest held during this celebration, and just to have fun. Celebrities also make the scene.
Although Metropolis is the “Official Home of Superman,” there are also a number of other attractions in the area. Fort Massac State Park is nearby, hosting the “Annual Fort Massac Encampment” each fall, for a taste of life during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Harrah’s Casino, The Americana Hollywood Museum, and Renegade Pro Wrestling (on Friday and Saturday nights) are just a few more of the many attractions here. Scuba divers or superheroes with underwater powers can even take a brief jaunt just north of town to Mermot Springs and enjoy some freshwater diving. Of course, Superman would fly.
Liberal, Kansas: Home of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz
On the southwest corner of Kansas, only a couple of miles from the Oklahoma state line, is Liberal, Kansas. This is the official hometown of Dorothy, famed for her journey in “The Wizard of Oz.” She made it back to Kansas, and now you can get the hometown tour of her home, located on Yellow Brick Road and guided by Dorothy. Along with the tour of her house are animated displays of her Oz friends, as you walk through the Land of Oz, and a museum. The annual “Oztoberfest” rounds it all up.
Of course, Liberal, Kansas is more than Dorothy’s hometown. It also enjoys cosmic notoriety as “The Pancake Hub of the Universe.” The annual “Pancake Day” race brings women out in head scarves and aprons, racing with a pancake in a pan in hand. This happens on the day before lent, with still 3 more days of “International Pancake Day” events to follow the day of this event.
The Mid-America Air Museum is another of Liberal’s attractions. It houses over 100 aircraft and a hands-on science hall. Yet, there is more. Dorothy is still a lucky girl.
Santa Claus, Indiana: Where Santa Claus is year round
With the only post office in the world bearing its name, Santa Claus, Indiana is where children’s letters to Santa are answered every year, by Santa and a designated team of elves. It is a place of wonderment with Santa themes throughout. Santa’s Candy Castle offers confectionary delights, gourmet drinks, and gift baskets along with a direct computer connection to the North Pole, so kids can check to see if they are on Santa’s “good” list. The Santa Claus Museum gives a historical perspective.
The first three weekends of December celebrate the holidays here with the “Santa Claus Christmas Celebration.” Lake Rudolph presents its 1.2 mile “Land of Lights,” and “Rudolph’s Holiday Hustle” brings participants from everywhere for this 5k run/walk. An arts and crafts show gives shoppers a place to find gifts made by talented crafters.
The warmer months open the Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari theme parks, with roller coasters and other rides hailed as some of the best in the world. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy their games at Christmas Lake Golf Course. In any event, Santa Claus is here, any time of year.
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