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Trip Ideas: Museum Madness in Missouri
This is going to be one epic road trip. You'll start in Northwest Missouri, travel to Southwest Missouri, then up to Central and Northeast Missouri before ending the voyage in Southeast Missouri. You’ll explore everything from a one-of-a-kind children’s museum to a beautiful fine art museum. So gas up the car and grab some snacks, it's time to hit the road on an epic museum trip through Missouri!
Day One
In the Patee House Museum, you can climb aboard an 1860 train and ride a vintage carousel. The museum houses an 1877 railroad depot, a stagecoach, automobiles, wagons, buggies and countless other exhibits.Constructed in 1858 as a luxury hotel, the building has been a hotel three times, a girls college twice, the Union Army Provost Marshal's office during the Civil War, the headquarters for the Pony Express and a shirt factory. One block away, visit the home where the infamous outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed on April 3, 1882.
1202 Penn St., St. Joseph MO 64503, 816-232-8206
Hours: April-October: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m. ~ November.-March: Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Located in the historic 18th and Vine District, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form. Activities include interactive exhibits; films; the Changing Gallery; the Blue Room Jazz Club; and the Gem Theater, a 500-seat performing arts center. The museum is in the same complex as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; combo ticket packs are available.
1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City MO 64108, 816-474-8463
Hours: Tue.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m.
This is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes today: World War I. The museum is located beneath the iconic Liberty Memorial Tower. Housing more than 55,000 objects, the museum uses interactive technology, along with its world-class collection, to tell the story of the war through the eyes of those who lived it.
100 W. 26th St., Kansas City MO 64108, 816-888-8100
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day: Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. ~ Off season, Tue.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Continue your museum trip with a visit to one of the top fine art museums in the United States. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art features one of America's finest collections of Asian art, as well as extensive collections of American, American Indian, Egyptian, and European art.
4525 Oak St., Kansas City MO 64111, 816-751-1278
Hours: Wed., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thur.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Day Two
The Truman Library offers theaters, a museum store and dozens of interactive and hands-on exhibits designed to engage all ages.
500 W. Route 24, Independence MO 64050, 800-833-1225
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ~ Sun., noon-5 p.m.
This history museum features rotating exhibits and special programs from post-Civil War to late 20th century. A small reference library is available during regular hours.
1617 W. Oak St., Carthage MO 64836, 417-237-0456
Hours: Tue.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Like pop culture? Here's a chance to get your picture taken with some of your favorite celebs - or at least their made-from-wax counterparts. From Lucille Ball to Lucy Lui, John Wayne to Johnny Depp, and William Shatner to Will Smith, you can snap photos with A-List stars when you make a stop at the Hollywood Wax Museum on your museum trip.
3030 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson MO 65616, 417-337-8277
Hours: 8 a.m.-midnight
Day Three
A one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Experience life on board Titanic, just as it was on her maiden voyage 100 years ago. Walk the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase while surrounded by more than 400 artifacts.
3235 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson MO 65616, 800-381-7670
Hours: Open daily: 9 a.m.; closing times vary by season.
Springfield Art Museum is one of Springfield's oldest cultural institutions. It houses twelve galleries of fine art, including more than 10,000 art objects, representing thousands of years of culture.
1111 E. Brookside Drive, Springfield MO 65807, 417-837-5700
Hours: Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thur., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Take a self-guided tour of this museum, which features re-creations of a 1950s gas station and a classic diner, along with displays of antique cars, a collection of Route 66 books, magazines and videos.
915 S. Jefferson Ave., Lebanon MO 65536, 417-532-2148
Hours: Mon.-Thur., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Day Four
This complex of military museums has a World War II camp replica with barracks, chapel and mess hall. Also see the Army Engineer Museum, Military Police Museum, and the Chemical Corps Museum. Note this complex is on a working military base. As such, photo ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance required to enter the post.
495 South Dakota Ave., Fort Leonard Wood MO 65473, 573-596-0780
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The museum is located inside the Capitol. There are two galleries on the main floor. The displays cover Missouri's history, natural resources, veterans, the westward expansion, famous Missourians, the Civil War in Missouri, and other historic subjects. Exhibits are changed periodically.
201 W. Capitol Ave., Jefferson City MO 65101, 573-751-2854
Hours: Daily: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Inside, explore more than 3,000 square-feet of exhibits that lead you through a myriad of Missouri's natural habitats. Featured in the exhibit area are a 3,580 gallon fish aquarium, live amphibians and reptiles, hands-on activities for children, an indoor wildlife viewing area, a nature library, a small gift shop and other displays, including new features added in 2017.
330 Commerce Drive, Jefferson City MO 65109, 573-526-5544
Hours: Visitor Center: Tue., Wed, Fri., Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ~ Thu., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Day Five
Originally built as the first national monument to Thomas Jefferson, the Missouri History Museum looks at the history of St. Louis from its founding in 1764 up to the present day. The Museum is located in beautiful Forest Park, on the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World's Fair.
5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis MO 63112, 314-746-4599
Hours: Tue.-Thu., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Only the second of its kind the country, The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture opened as The Black World History Wax Museum in February 1997. The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture interprets stories and features life-size likenesses of African Americans with a regional connection whose life activities influenced the state, region, and sometimes the entire country. A must-see destination on your museum trip, there is something for the entire family to learn at the Griot Museum of Black History & Culture.
2505 St. Louis Ave., St. Louis MO 63106, 314-241-7057
Hours: Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Welcome to the "Home of the Missouri Dinosaur," where exhibits include a life-size model of the Hypsibema missouriense, a variety of dinosaur called a Hadrosaur or "duck billed" dinosaur, with jaws that contained more than 1,000 teeth. The dinosaur was discovered in Bollinger County in 1942; in 2004 it became Missouri's official dinosaur.
207 Mayfield Drive, Marble Hill MO 63764, 573-238-1174
Hours: Thur.-Sat., noon-4:30 p.m.; first Sunday of each month, noon-4:30 p.m.
This museum features the Crossroads Gallery, which includes exhibits and interactive kiosks highlighting the history of southeast Missouri. Exhibitions in the museum's 1,900 square-foot gallery feature works by local, regional, national and international artists.
518 S. Fountain Street, Cape Girardeau MO 63701, 573-651-2260
Hours: Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.