The last time we camped at Johnson's Shut-Ins, D was 4 years old. She's now 21 years old. It was long before the Taum Sauk Reservoir breached and flooded the park.
We drove down a few years ago to enjoy an early fall day in the park. Checking out the new campground was a priority. It relocated up the road 2.5 miles from the park...and is it nice! It was nice before and even nicer after the flood renovation.
Every time we wanted to reserve a camp site at the Shut-Ins every site was booked. This year we jumped on it in mid-January. Even at that, we failed to get one of the full hook-up sites. We got an electric site. There are no complaints from us! The entire site is a concrete pour. With the rainy week we've had this was a blessing!!
You know what else is a blessing [in disguise]? The fact that we had no cell service, no TV reception. The four of us are nearly on a break from life. When I say nearly, that's because there is wifi available at the camp store. We walk there once a day to check messages. Other than that life is full on peace with nature.
Okay, now we love getting our state (and national) park geek on. Camping excitement for us is a great ranger and a night program at the amphitheater. It had been raining on and off all day on Friday, so the program was moved to the picnic shelter. Ha, the four of us were the only brave souls to show. The college-student-ranger-in-training, Liz (aka Spider Lady), asked if we wanted the kid friendly or adult version presentation on spiders. Dah, the adult version! She was fabulous!! The four of us learned tons about spiders. And, had a GREAT time learning. Liz even wrote her own spider song, "Woven," to the tune of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space." She later gifted the girls with their own copy. I just know we will be singing the song around future camp fires.
The rain started up again when we returned to the camper. That meant no campfire, but games! We played Tenzi for an hour, before calling it a night.
Campground Report Card
Site: grade A
generous all concrete pad, level, nicely shaded, picnic table, fire ring
Restrooms: grade A
each stall is private, separate toilet and shower, also family units (combo toilet/shower) are available, electric sockets, soap dispenser, hand dryer
Camp store: grade A
mostly souvenirs, coffee, fountain soda machine, simple camping necessities, hand dipped ice cream, ice, fire wood, bike rentals, wifi spot
Ranger Programs: geared toward children, but very educational for adults ...offers the MO State Parks and Historic Sites Explorer patch program, a mostly young enthusiastic staff
Recreation: grade A
full of Missouri's best hiking trails (rocky terrain, hiking shoes highly recommended), swimming in the shut-ins and Black River, biking...other nearby state parks and historical sites
Adventure to be continued....