Share |


Whatever your preferences, when it's time to have fun, you're sure to find it in Carthage. From the World of Wonders

World of Wonders Park

Playground (pictured here) for children, to the lighted tennis courts, young and old alike will find what they want here.


Many of the recreational facilities in Carthage are administered by the Carthage Park Board, which oversees all properties financed by the Carthage Park District, a taxing district consisting of the City of Carthage. However, there are some additional sources of recreation in Carthage, as well. Let's take a look at all of these fun activities:

Carthage Family Fitness

A portion of the weight room Carthage Family Fitness (formerly the Carthage branch of the YMCA in Keokuk, but now operating on its own) is located at 103 Randolph Street (in the western part of town, 1/2 block off Highway 136). Featuring a large weight room, large padded-floor exercise and class room, showers, and lockers, it offers very affordable memberships, for both individuals and families.

Youth Sports is a major focus of any fitness center, and the Carthage facility is no different. The Fall of 2000 was their first season of organized sports. Both Tag Football and Youth Soccer were offered. The Soccer League is so popular, a web site has been used to help keep track of everything.

You can call Carthage Family Fitness at (217) 357-2739, or visit their site at

The Carthage Swimming Pool

Carthage PoolThe Carthage Swimming Pool is located on the west edge of town (just across from the Jaycee Park) and is easily accessible from Highway 136. The pool features zero-depth entry for all ages, a diving board at the 9-foot deeper end and a "mushroom" water feature. 

Pool hours are posted on the Carthage Park District's Web Site. The season usually runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Call the Carthage City Swimming Pool at (217) 357-3435.

The Jaycee Park

Carthage Jaycee ParkThe Jaycee Park is Carthage's Premier general purpose park. Located at the Carthage Lake, also on the North-West corner of the city, the Jaycee Park has provisions for camping (near the golf course), shelters for family picnics and reunions, numerous playground areas for the kids, toilet and water facilities, and a 9-hole disc golf course!  With the swimming pool just across the street, and the Carthage lake within walking distance, the park offers a great escape from the hectic pace of normal life.  

The Joe Grate Sports Complex

JoeGrate Sports Complex The Joe Grate Sports Complex is also administered by the Carthage Park Board. Located on the North-East part of town, just behind the college campus, the complex features 4 lighted tennis courts, three lighted baseball diamonds, a concession stand, toilet facities, and a small shelter house.

Tennis Courts and Diamonds The tennis courts are available to the public, at no cost, on a first-come, first-served basis. The diamonds are also available for general public use, but during the summer they are very busy supporting local youth baseball and softball programs.

The Carthage Golf Club

Hole #2 of The Carthage Golf ClubThe 9-hole Carthage Golf Course is located just down the scenic lake road from the Jaycee Park. The course features a variety of holes, over its 3000 plus yards of Par 35 golf. The holes run the gamut from the 120 yd hole 2 over water, to the 535 yd hole 5 straight-away, to the doglegs of holes 4 and 8. It's a wonderful course, and a great way to pass a few hours.

Carts are available for rent, as are pull carts and clubs. Hours vary with the season, so for more info: (217) 357-3625.

WOW Park

World of Wonders ParkThe World of Wonders Park is a super playground located just south of the Carthage Square. Centrally located, children all around Carthage converge on the playground at the park. There are tables around the park that are often used by parents of younger children as they read or otherwise pass the time.  A shelter provides a covered eating area and restrooms are available.  

The original WOW Park was built in 1994 by the community. Fund raising efforts paid for material and the architectural consulting. The architect visited Carthage and solicited advise from area school children to get the list of desired features. The huge park was built primarily in one weekend by hundreds of volunteers. This process was repeated in 2017 when the WOW Park was rebuilt with upgraded material and a more innovative design that appeals to children of all ages.  

Carthage Lake

Carthage LakeThe main Carthage Lake is the primary source of drinking water for the City of Carthage. It also happens to be a centerpiece scenic wonder, located adjacent to the Jaycee Park and the Golf Course. Fishing is great at the lake, and boating is allowed (check for restrictions).

Carthage Lake

These two views of the lake just begin to show its beauty. Both of these pictures were taken from just off of the road that loops around the lake. If you look at the background to this page, you will notice how the lake comes in to play with Hole 2 at the Golf Course.

Carthage Kiwanis Disc Golf Course

Disc GolfLocated in Jaycee Park, this 9-hole disc golf course adds another amenity to the existing recreational opportunities offered by the Carthage Park District.  Easily accessible and marked with cement tee pads, the course begins near the shelter house and playground area, descends and ascends the sloping hills, curves around the tree line and runs along the lake before winding back to the shelter/playground area.  Basket placement can be switched to allow players a chance to play 18 different holes.  Discs can be rented at Carthage Family Fitness at 103 Randolph Street (217) 357-2739.

Hancock County Saddle Club

The Hancock County Saddle Club is yet another recreational opportunity in Carthage, located near the swimming pool (NW edge of town). The members of the Saddle Club sponsor a number of events throughout the year for the public to attend, including professional rodeos. For information: (217) 357-3278.

The Gun Club

Carthage Gun ClubThe Hancock County Gun Club is located just north of Carthage on Highway 94. Indoor and Outdoor firing ranges are on the grounds, as well as buildings where classes are offered periodically.


Carthage Senior Citizens' Center

Senior Citizens' CenterThe Carthage Senior Citizens' Center offers many programs for the community and those in surrounding areas. Located just 2 blocks from the Historic Carthage Square, the center is within easy walking distance of much of Carthage. The facility is equipped with a kitchen, large meeting and/or dining area, and restrooms.  This makes the center a popular place to rent for meetings, parties and receptions. Call (217) 357-3716 and leave a message or contact Carthage City Hall (217) 357-3119.