There is now another place to have reunions, picnics and other events with a new shelter in Hannibal’s newest park.
A shelter has been built in Sodalis Nature Preserve, thanks in part to a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The shelter is 30 feet wide by 40 feet long, has six picnic tables and a grill. The cost to rent the shelter is $15 for half a day and $20 for all day. An adjacent restroom was built two years ago.
Sodalis Nature Preserve was acquired by the city of Hannibal in 2016, the result of work by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, The Conservation Fund and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to conserve the abandoned mine that serves as home for more than 200,000 endangered bats. Access to inside the mine is restricted for research and monitoring purposes only, but visitors are encouraged to enjoy the park’s paved and wooded trails.
Mary Lynne Richards, recreation supervisor with Hannibal Parks & Recreation, said Hannibal residents use Sodalis extensively due to its pedestrian-only trails. There are several events there, such as the Boo Bash, Pancreatic Cancer Walk and Thanksgiving Walk. The Hannibal Parks & Recreation nature interpreter, along with volunteers with the Missouri Master Naturalists, lead night hikes several times a year to educate others about the bats, wildlife and plants in Sodalis.
“This shelter will be used a lot, Sodalis grows in popularity every year,” she said. “The shelter not only provides a place for events, but it might just be a spot to relax before you venture on the trail.”
The appearance of the shelter is a little different than other shelters in Hannibal parks; although the roof is Parks & Recreation green, the columns are partially surrounded by stone to give it a more rustic vibe.
The $175,000 shelter was built by Bleigh Construction, with $100,000 from a Missouri Department of Conservation grant.