Mermet Springs – Belknap, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Mermet Springs

Belknap, Illinois

Planes, trains, and automobiles have all been sunk as attractions at this Illinois diving spot. 


Lurking beneath the murky waters of a flooded Illinois quarry are a number of vehicles that have been sunk into the makeshift lake as strange attractions for divers to explore.

The Mermet Springs diving site is really one of a kind thanks to their penchant for sinking weird relics into the water in order to spice up diving. From the land, the waters appear to be nothing more than another forest lake, but Mermet Springs hides a number of wonders. First there are the vehicles which include a motorcycle, an ambulance, a full semi trailer, and a rail car among others. However the most incredible of these is the Boeing 727 that was dropped in the lake after being used to shoot the film, US Marshals.

In addition to all of the transportation hulks hidden in the green waters, there is also a collection of beastly statues known as the “Petting Zoo” which features animals ranging from lions to eels. The star of this portion is Bruce the Shark, a cartoonish, if still a bit unnerving installation just eight feet below the surface. There are also a number of real fish in the waters including rare paddlefish.

There are diving spots the world over that offer a bevy of natural wonders, but Mermet Springs has embraced the fact that the unnatural can be just as wondrous.    

Illinois Week on Atlas Obscura was created in partnership with Enjoy Illinois as part of the launch of the new Illinois Obscura Society. Sign up to find out more about the back room tours, unusual adventures, and incredible parties that Atlas Obscura will be putting on in Chicago and greater Illinois.

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