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There’s always something new to see and do in Missouri. Here’s a roundup of new and expanded attractions in the Show-Me State:
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s new Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center combines airy architecture, beautiful plants and educational technology. The 90,000-square-foot welcome center features a video wall that tells the story of the garden’s global conservation mission, a gift shop where visitors can purchase garden-themed items and plants, a restaurant with expansive views of the gardens, event spaces, and a conservatory filled with Mediterranean plants. Additionally, more than 46,000 plants – including rare and endangered varieties – have been added to the garden’s entry area.
The new center was built with sustainability in mind. Local materials were used for the construction of the building, solar panels were installed on the roof, and a stormwater collection system was created to reduce the garden’s water consumption.
A massive expansion has tripled the size of the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum. The renovation provides more space to tell the story of Holocaust – from the first rumblings of World War II to the survivors who escaped to other parts of the world.
The museum includes numerous permanent exhibits that display significant artifacts, traveling exhibit space and films interpreting the events of the Holocaust. The Survivors exhibit shines a spotlight on the testimonies of Jewish people who made their way to St. Louis.
The Impact Lab shares the museum’s message of rejecting hatred, promoting understanding and inspiring change. The lab focuses on stories from survivors of hate crimes throughout the world and noted activists from the past.
The beauty of the Ozarks takes center stage at Missouri’s newest state park. Bryant Creek State Park’s massive oak trees and shortleaf pines blanket more than 2,900 acres of rolling hills. The park’s namesake creek adds to the beautiful scenery.
Osage tribe members were some of the first inhabitants of the region. The area also drew 19th-century explorers because of the game trails that crisscrossed the land. The variety of native animals and forested landscape eventually attracted homesteaders from neighboring states. Today, visitors can still see many different species of animals and plants on the property.
The park includes two hiking trails and an accessible overlook. Future projects include day-use areas with picnic tables, informational kiosks and a camping area.
Located on banks of the Finley River in southwest Missouri, Finley Farms has brought new life to a historic landmark and established an urban farm.
An early-1800s water mill was converted into The Ozark Mill restaurant, offering family friendly dining, and a general store, which carries pantry staples and kitchenware. A self-guided history tour features the Ozarks and how a mill operates. Located beneath the mill, The Garrison is a fine-dining spot with an elegant atmosphere, delicious food and craft cocktails. The Workshop, a renovated 1930s industrial garage, has found a second life as a coffee shop and makerspace.
Each eatery receives fresh produce grown on the farm. An apiary and mushroom yard provide additional ingredients.
Finley Farms also hosts culinary and craft workshops and other events as well as the Ozark Farmers Market every Thursday from May through September.
The Worlds of Fun theme park is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023 with a blast from the past. The park will debut a new Zambezi Zinger roller coaster. The original safari-themed ride – one of the park’s first coasters – operated from 1973 to 1997.
The new galvanized steel and wood hybrid coaster will take riders on a thrilling journey, dropping from an iconic spiral lift hill into a low-to-the-ground track that races across the tree-filled terrain. The roller coaster sits on the same spot as the first Zambezi Zinger – in the heart of the Africa section of the park.
The newly expanded Thunder Ridge Nature Arena at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson is a 20,000-seat entertainment venue that immerses guests in the great outdoors.The amphitheater, featuring expansive views of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake, will host a variety of events, from concerts by major performing artists to bull riding competitions. The facility is home to the Missouri Thunder Professional Bull Riding Team
The arena is planning to offer more than 50 events each year.
Claiming the title of “Biggest Bar in STL,” Armory STL has 250,000 square feet of entertainment space for visitors to play games, enjoy drinks and sample menu items. The massive complex spans six acres and includes a 62-foot stage for live entertainment and more than 40 interactive games. A two-story slide and adult-sized seesaws will bring out your inner child.
Constructed in 1938, the building housed the 138th Infantry Missouri National Guard Armory. Since then, various sports leagues and bands have used the venue. As a nod to its past, Armory STL will be home to the St. Louis Tennis Hall of Fame, which will honor some of the sports’ biggest names.