It’s the thrill you get from putting on your wetsuit and knowing you are about to dive 100 feet down into the clear blue water. This time you won’t be swimming with the fish, but where men put in a hard day’s work 150 years ago. Bonne Terre Mine, located in Bonne Terre, was America’s largest producer of lead ore from 1864 until 1962. When the mine closed, it began to fill with water. Today, the resulting billion gallon lake, illuminated from above the waterline by 500,000 watts of stadium quality lighting, is the largest fresh water scuba venue in the world. More than two dozen scuba trails have been laid out for divers to explore the three flooded levels. For those who prefer to keep their heads above water, walking and boat tours are available.
If you enjoy cool, dark places underground, Missouri is the place for you. Known as “The Cave State,” Missouri is home to more than 6,400 mapped caves. Marvel Cave, located within Silver Dollar City, in Branson; Fantastic Caverns, America's only ride-through cave, in Springfield; Bridal Cave, outside of Camdenton, where more than 2,000 couples have been married; and Cameron Cave, a natural, lantern-light cave in Hannibal, are just a few of our many show caves.
If heights are your preference, Missouri has many amusement parks with sky-high roller coasters, including The Boss at Six Flags St. Louis, in Eureka. One of the top 10 roller coasters in the U.S., it includes four drops of 100+ feet and a 570-degree helix.
Like heights but not speed? Taum Sauk Mountain, in Ironton, is the highest point in Missouri, at 1,772 feet above sea level. A hiking trail winds its way to the top for a fantastic view.
After busy day, you can’t help but be hungry. Head below ground in Weston, north of Kansas City, to experience O’Malley’s Irish Pub, where you will find live entertainment in three limestone brewery cellars, circa 1840s, reaching 55 feet below street level.
Looking for a great 360-degree view of St. Louis? Reserve a table at Top of the Riverfront restaurant, atop the Millennium Hotel, beside the Mississippi River, a block from Busch Stadium. This restaurant revolves slowly, giving diners an amazing view of the river, the Gateway Arch, the ballpark, downtown St. Louis, and much of surrounding metropolis.
How about going from a high to a low in one swoop ... literally? Climb aboard the wooden roller coaster, the Outlaw Run, at Silver Dollar City theme park, in Branson. Outlaw Run has the world's steepest drop for a wooden coaster; oh, and it is the world's second fastest wood coaster, and the only wood coaster in the world with a barrel roll to twist you upside-down.
World's Largest to World's Smallest
You expect to find beautiful houses and intricately carved furniture with hand-stitched seat cushions in museums, but it is that what you expect to find in a toy museum? It is if you visit the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City, which contains the world’s largest collection of works by internationally renowned miniature artist Bill Robertson.
Miniature collectors should not miss the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis, featuring permanent and rotating exhibits of miniature dolls, furniture and accessories.
If you decide to "Get your kicks on Route 66," stop by Fanning’s Outpost and General Store, about four miles west of Cuba, Missouri, to view the Route 66 Red Rocker (once the world's largest, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008); it stands slightly more than 42 feet high.
Missouri by Day – Missouri by Night
If you love fresh air, sunshine and the great outdoors, Missouri will not disappoint. Spend the day hiking, cycling and sightseeing; spend the night around a campfire telling ghost stories. Throughout the state, Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites give you hundreds of opportunities for outdoor adventure, including outstanding, well maintained camping and RV sites.
If you are more the big-city type, Missouri has options for you as well. Daytime entertainment in Kansas City ranges from shopping at the upscale Country Club Plaza to cheering on Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals. After dark? Sit and enjoy traditional Kansas City jazz at one of the city’s jazz clubs, and dance under the stars in the hot new Power & Light District.
While the sun is overhead, get a bird’s-eye view of St. Louis with a ride to the top of The Gateway Arch. When the sun sets, walk two blocks to Laclede’s Landing, with its many restaurants, pubs, comedy clubs, entertainment venues, and a casino.
Missouri’s third-largest city is Springfield. Visit museums and galleries by day, then laugh the night away at The Skinny Improv, where a dynamic comedy group delivers a hip style of improvised sketches, scenes and music ... often involving the audience.