Seniors Check Out “Little Egypt”


Carbondale just popped into this senior’s mind. I knew that the “Salukis” (Southern Illinois University) calls the city home, however I knew little else about the city. So let’s go for a visit and see what attractions we can find down south in Illinois.

Carbondale is in Jackson County, within the Southern Illinois region informally known as “Little Egypt”. The city developed from 1853 as a result of railroad construction into the area. Today it has a population that runs just over 26,000.


It became an educational center with the founding of Carbondale College, which was renamed Southern Illinois College in 1869. In the early 20th century, Carbondale was known as the “Athens of Egypt,” due to the expansion of the college and university, and the region’s moniker of “Little Egypt.”

Seniors Attracted To City’s Festivals

Carbondale is known for a number of annual festivals: the Lights Fantastic parade in December,the Big Muddy Film Festival (February/March), the Southern Illinois Irish Festival (April), the Indian celebration of Diwali (December), and the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta (April).

The Sunset Concerts is a summer series of free outdoor concerts on the Southern Illinois University campus and in city parks, and Brown Bag Concerts is a spring and fall series of free outdoor concerts in the Town Square Pavilion. It looks like a festival in Carbondale would be easy for senior travelers to catch.


Being a guide at Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin West in Scottsdale, this senior would head over to the historical Fuller Dome.

The geodesic dome is Buckminster Fuller’s most enduring legacy. I once had the good fortune to meet Bucky who said in his presentation…“I don’t want to see a homogenized society, I want the cream to rise to the top.” I never forgot that.

Carbondale Has Attracted Awards

butterfly garden

The city has awards hanging in every direction. Named one of the Best Towns in America, Best Small City in Illinois, Governor’s Hometown Award, one of the 101 Best Outdoor Towns in America, and a finalist as an All American City and another for Municipal Excellence.  So you see, folks, Carbondale has the word “excellence” written all over its face.

Dine, stay, explore and learn in this exciting city. The Boo Rochman Memorial Park packs them in as a top attraction in town. Right along with the Park is the Honker Hill Winery.  How about that name?

The Science Center is a popular hands-on museum with a wide array of displays dedicated to the younger crowd. The scenery in Southern Illinois is said to be the best in the state. Senior visitors view a wide variety of great scenery as they hike, golf and sip wine along winding roads and trails that connect clusters of quaint towns, state parks and wineries. -jeb

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