A slide and a covered pavilion sometimes are a welcome sight when you're on a long road trip with the kids. Pull over and let the little ones burn off some energy at these fun municipal parks.
Most parents have been there before, the multi-hour car ride with kids. Tweens and teens tune you out - and vice versa - when they get lost inside the world of their varied devices (preferably with headphones on).
But for the younger set, it's not always easy. A movie or two might keep the ruckus to a minimum, but eventually, things are going to go south.
You need to stop for a bit and you need to do it right now.
Find a city park in the Show-Me State to help you avert a crisis on your next driving trip. Many municipal parks have beyond-the-ordinary features like spraygrounds, in addition to playgrounds and other features for kids to play with and enjoy.
Here's a look at five such parks, found along routes often used by travelers.
Faust Park, Chesterfield - Off Highway 40 in the St. Louis metro area, this expansive park has a huge playground with equipment designed for kids of varying ages, a historic village, a carousel and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. Plan to make your quick break an extended one when you stop here.
Melaina's Magical Playland, Cape Girardeau - A quick drive off Interstate 55, this playground was designed for children with special needs. Among its features are a safety surface that provides easier access for children in wheelchairs or who use walkers, and swings with extra back and arm support.
Jordan Valley Park, Springfield - Take a detour off Interstate 44 (or Route 66) for a fun outing at this park in the heart of Missouri's third-largest city. Along with expansive areas to run, one of the park's highlights is its fountain feature - a popular area for kids, especially during the heat of the summer. Yes, you will unpack the towels and sunscreen at this stop.
Flat Branch Park, Columbia - Accessing this park is pretty easy, whether you're traveling east or west on Interstate 70 or north and south along Highway 63. The playground might be the first thing to catch their eye, but chances are, the sprayground is where the kids will spend the bulk of their time. The park has a gazebo and a public art installation, too.
Krug Park, St. Joseph - Plenty of open spaces, lagoons where it's okay to feed the ducks and Italian-style structures are highlights of this park, which is about four miles west of Interstate 29. A waterfall, walking/biking paths and picnic sites are sprinkled around the park. If you're traveling during the holiday season, don't miss the light show here.
Keep these parks and others in mind the next time the kiddos need to stretch during your upcoming Missouri road trip. It will be good for all of you.