Missouri's fascinating history fills thousands and thousands of books. Exciting and interesting things happened here, and have for centuries. Visitors to the Show-Me State leave with a newfound appreciation of Missouri's rich past and the contributions made to our nation's history. Our vibrant cultural fabric owes much to the immigrant communities who started a new life here.
Learn about Missouri's German immigrants at Deutschheim State Historic Site, in Hermann’s picturesque historic district. Deutschheim provides an in-depth look at the life of German-American immigrants in the 1800s. Take a tour of the Carl Strehly House, which originally contained a German print shop and winery; and the period-decorated Pommer-Gentner House, with its barn and two heritage gardens.
Walk in the footsteps of two of our nation's greatest explorers at Lewis and Clark State Park, 20 miles southwest of St. Joseph. When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark stopped there in 1804, they were amazed by the number of geese and goslings –the park remains a great place for bird-watching to this day. Also, Lewis and Clark State Park offers camping, fishing and picnicking.
Travel even further back in time at the Towosahgy State Historic Site, in East Prairie. Approximately A.D. 400 to 1350, the area served as a fortified village and civil-ceremonial gathering place for Mississippian tribes. Archaeological teams have uncovered the fascinating history of this American Indian civilization. Visitors can learn about these ancient tribes by viewing burial mounds and exhibit panels.
The Osage Village State Historic Site, outside of Walker, provides glimpses of life in the 1700s, when European settlers first met the Osage Indians. Although the village is no longer standing, it once housed between 2,000 and 3,000 people. A walking trail and several informative exhibits give insights into what life was like for the villagers.
Natural history blooms to life at Big Sugar Creek State Park, in Pineville. There, you can see rare varieties of shrubs and trees, many of which no longer exist in other parts of Missouri. In addition to interesting flora, the park boasts captivating creatures, including armadillos and scarlet tanagers.
In Eureka, the Route 66 State Park combines natural beauty with classic Americana. Bird-watching opportunities are abundant – as are chances to learn about Route 66, America's “Mother Road.” A small section of the fabled highway runs through the park, and exhibits share information about the road's history. The former Bridgehead Inn, a 1930s roadhouse, serves as the park's visitor center.
Across the state in Kansas City, the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site welcomes visitors to the beautiful Victorian house of one of Missouri's and America’s greatest artists. The carriage house, which Benton converted into his studio, remains just as the painter left it. Both the home and the studio contain many of Benton's paintings and belongings, allowing for a fascinating look into the artist's personal and creative life.