Missouri Attractions for Movie and TV Buffs

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St. Louis CITY SC
Credit: St. Louis CITY SC
The Space Museum and Grissom Center
Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Everyone has that one movie or TV show they’ve watched over and over again. Odds are you have memorized most – if not all – the lines and can deliver them with perfect timing and emotion.

Level-up your fan status at Missouri destinations where you can experience the atmosphere of some of your favorite films and series – from action-packed adventures to classic comedies. With a little imagination, you can almost picture yourself on the big (or little) screen.

Of course, a number of movies and TV shows have been filmed in or inspired by Missouri. The movie Gone Girl – adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name – was filmed in Cape Girardeau. Take the Gone Girl Driving Tour to see filming locations and the cast and crew’s favorite spots to hang out after hours.

Ozark, the fictional crime drama that took Netflix by storm, was set at the Lake of the Ozarks. While only a few scenes were filmed in Missouri, fans can visit iconic spots, like Bagnell Dam and Lover’s Leap, featured in the show.

If you’re a movie or TV buff, check out these Show-Me State locations reminiscent of iconic films and TV series:

If you like Dirty Dancing, visit Current River State Park.

When the summer rolls around, make like the Housemans in Dirty Dancing and head to a resort nestled in a scenic spot. Current River State Park near Salem fits the bill. Originally constructed as a corporate retreat in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the former Alton Club reflects the rustic architectural style of that time. Tour the lodge to learn more about the area’s history, hit the hiking trails, and enjoy the park’s fishing lakes, picnic spots and native flora and fauna. For some fun on the water, rent a kayak or canoe at a nearby outfitter for a float trip down the Current River. While splashing in the river, you might be tempted to try out Baby and Johnny’s iconic dance move, but it’s probably best to leave that to the professionals.

If you like Apollo 13, visit the Space Museum and Grissom Center.

Explore the final frontier without the perilous space mission the crew of Apollo 13 had to navigate. The Space Museum and Grissom Center in Bonne Terre opens a portal to the cosmos. The 5000-square-foot facility features aerospace artifacts from the beginning of space travel to today’s technology. The museum also partners with NASA and other aerospace museums to acquire amazing displays, including authentic spacesuits and rocket engines. Visitors are inspired to contemplate the history of space exploration and look forward to future breakthroughs.

If you like Jurassic Park, visit the Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center.

Experience the awe of walking among dinosaurs at the Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center. While the creatures you’ll encounter are not alive like the ones Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm find at Jurassic Park, it’s still impressive to imagine the massive dinosaurs that roamed the planet millions of years ago. The museum displays fossils from Parrosaurus missouriensis, the first dinosaur ever discovered in Missouri. Also on display is an egg incubator prop that was used in the Jurassic Park III movie.  

If you like Ghostbusters, visit the Missouri State Penitentiary.

Who ya gonna call? If you immediately answer that question with an enthusiastic “Ghostbusters!” you should probably consider making a call to the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City to reserve your spot on a ghost tour. As you’re guided through the prison, you’ll learn about some of its most infamous inmates – and possibly catch a glimpse of unusual activity along the way. If you’re not into the spooky side of the penitentiary, you can take a history or photography tour instead. Bonus: You definitely won’t get slimed on these tours.

If you like Shrek, visit Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

Contrary to the swamp in Shrek, there are no massive, green ogres lurking in Mingo National Wildlife Refuge near Puxico. However, once you start exploring the cypress-tupelo swamp and marsh and discovering an array of native plants and animals, you just might understand why Shrek chose a swamp for his home. Mingo is a haven for many different species of waterfowl and is recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. Dawn and dusk are the best times to visit if you want to see a wide variety of bird species.  

If you like Toy Story, visit The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

Imagine the hijinks Woody, Buzz and the crew could get into at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City. The tiny, intricate displays and nearly 67,000 vintage toys are sure to amaze. Children will enjoy the vast variety of toys while adults will be filled with nostalgia seeing the types of toys they played with then they were young. While you’re there, keep an eye out for a, Slinky dog similar to the one in Toy Story.

If you like Ted Lasso, visit St. Louis City Soccer Club.

Like Ted Lasso when he starts coaching the AFC Richmond soccer team, you don’t have to know too much about the sport to have a great time at St. Louis City Soccer Club. When you’re surrounded by excited fans and a fast-paced game that will keep you on your toes, it’s easy to see why soccer is the number one sport in the world. St. Louis City Soccer Club is Missouri’s first Major League Soccer team, so don your red and navy blue and cheer the home team to victory!   

If you like Top Gun, visit Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum.

Not many people have what it takes to be accepted into an elite United States Navy fighter weapons school or to pull off the maneuvers demonstrated by Maverick in the movie Top Gun. However, everyone can learn more about the science behind aviation and its history at Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum in Marshall. From a tiny, single-person plane built in 1937 to an airplane that broke records for altitude, distance and speed, the exhibits at the museum will give you a new appreciation for achievements in aviation.

If you like Monuments Men, visit Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Peruse the stunning collection of art that spans nearly every continent and culture at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. While you’re there, you will begin to understand why the Monuments Men – a group of more than 300 museum curators, artists and art historians from 13 different countries – volunteered to venture into war-torn Europe to protect valuable artwork from damage and looting. The first two directors of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art were part of this remarkable group, and several others in the program served as curators and advisors to the museum.

If you like Gilmore Girls, visit Excelsior Springs.

Strolling down the streets of Excelsior Springs, you’ll discover the same kind of small-town charm and adorable shops that the Gilmore Girls found in Stars Hollow. Be like Lorelai and Rory and start your day off with a cup of coffee. Other Trails Coffee & Goods offers classic cups along with seasonal lattes and mouthwatering baked goods. The stately Elms Hotel + Spa will call to mind the Independence Inn where Lorelai served as manager. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment in the Grotto, a modern take on Roman baths that features a steam sauna, dry sauna and exfoliation and mud bar.

If you like Outlander, visit Ha Ha Tonka.

You don’t have to travel to the Scottish Highlands to climb verdant green hills to see the remnants of once-magnificent castles. Ha Ha Tonka State Park, located near Camdenton, has many geologic wonders to explore. Sinkholes, caves, bluffs, a spring and a huge natural bridge make it a haven for outdoorsy types. The ruins of a turn-of-the-century stone castle set upon a hill with sweeping views of the Ozarks. The best part? You don’t have to give up indoor plumbing and modern conveniences to enjoy this step back in time.

If you like Shakespeare, visit the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.

This one is a bit broad, and for good reason – hundreds of movies and television shows are based on William Shakespeare’s robust collection of writing. Fans of The Bard’s work will have a fantastic time at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. The event is a year-round affair that includes more than 250 public performances annually. Classic plays like “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Othello,” “King Lear,” and more are performed alongside modern interpretations that showcase iconic St. Louis spots or shine a spotlight on today’s issues.