Missouri is home to many unique attractions you won't find anywhere else in the world. Here are a few of the one-of-a-kind places you can only see in the Show-Me State:
You can't help but be amazed when you gaze upward from the base of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Soaring 630 feet into the air, the iconic structure is the tallest man-made arch in the world. Completed in 1965, the Arch – designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen – was erected to commemorate the westward expansion. An extensive renovation of the surrounding 90-acre grounds along the Mississippi River and the museum located beneath the base of the arch was completed in 2018. Previously a national memorial, the Gateway Arch became the country's 60th national park the same year.
Samuel Clemens, more famously known as Mark Twain, was born in Florida, Missouri, and spent much of his boyhood in Hannibal. The Missouri River town inspired some of Twain's greatest works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Learn more about the Father of American Literature at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum and Mark Twain Cave – featured in five of Twain's novels. Clemens' signature was recently discovered, and authenticated, on the wall of the cave.
You've seen them on Super Bowl commercials, in parades and at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Budweiser Clydesdales – some of the most famous horses in the world – are born and trained in central Missouri. Visit Warm Springs Ranch near Boonville to learn more about these gentle giants. Tour the state-of-the-art barns and the lush rolling hills that more than 70 Clydesdales call home.
Walt Disney lived in Marceline for a few short years, but the community had a lasting impact on the animation and theme-park pioneer. Main Street USA at Disneyworld and Disneyland was modeled after Marceline's downtown. See a variety of Disney family artifacts and memorabilia at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. Visit the site of Disney's "dreaming tree" where he spent hours daydreaming as a child – an experience that later inspired many of the characters he created.
Explore the rich history of African American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. The Negro Leagues were formed in Kansas City in 1920 by the owners of eight teams, including the Kansas City Monarchs. The museum – the only one of its kind – was established in 1990 to preserve this important chapter in baseball and U.S. history.
Route 66 runs through eight states, from Chicago to Los Angeles, with more than 300 miles stretching through the Show-Me State. But Springfield, Missouri, is the place where the "Mother Road" got its famous name. Visit the History Museum on the Square to view an exhibit about the iconic highway. Other Route 66 stops in Springfield include one of the early Steak and Shake restaurants, the Route 66 Rail Haven Motor Court and the Route 66 Car Museum.
Board a jeep-drawn tram for a trip through Fantastic Caverns – America's only drive-thru cave, located in Springfield. The tram will take you along the path of an ancient underground river where you can see cave formations formed thousands of years ago. The cave was discovered in 1862 by an Ozark farmer and his dog (who climbed into a small opening in the hillside). Exploration didn't take place until five years later when 12 women answered a newspaper ad seeking explorers to venture into the cave.
Written by Liz Coleman