Trip Ideas: Show Off the Show-Me State
When the holidays roll around, your home becomes a destination for family and friends from around the country. Show them what makes Missouri so awesome by visiting these can't-miss attractions, which appeal to visitors of all ages.
Northwest
In September 1856, the steamboat Arabia sank near Kansas City with 200 tons of cargo bound for towns in the west. In 1988, the Arabia excavation began, resulting in the astonishing discovery of pre-Civil War artifacts which are now on display. You'll be amazed by what you see - and astonished when you learn there's much more to the story.
400 Grand Blvd., Kansas City MO 64106, 816-471-1856
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
There is always a new adventure at the Kansas City Zoo. Located on 202 acres in Swope Park, the zoo is home to more than 1,100 animals from around the world. Check the zoo's website to learn more about special events happening throughout the year.
6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City MO 64132, 816-595-1234
Hours: Open daily; Opening and closing times vary by season and day.
Northeast
Founded in 1859, this is the country's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation. It is a National Historic Landmark with 79 acres of gardens and historic structures. During the holiday months (November-December) MoBOT is bursting with light during its Garden Glow celebration. About 1 million lights are involved in this festive event.
4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis MO 63110, 800-642-8842
Hours: Daily: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tour this museum in Washington, Missouri, which is known as the corn cob pipe capital of the world. Missouri Meerschaum Co. is the largest manufacturer of corn cob pipes in the world. A unique Missouri experience.
400 W. Front St., Washington MO 63090, 636-239-2715
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Central
Let the kiddos burn off some energy (and maybe cut back on the sugar cookies) when you explore the fascinating geologic formations at this 2,272-acre park. Connor's Cave can be explored on your own. A boardwalk and other trails lead to the natural rock bridge, with numerous sinkholes and springs along the way. There are trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers, when conditions allow. Picnic sites are scattered throughout the park. The park is five miles south of Columbia.
5901 South Route 163, Columbia MO 65203, 573-449-7402
Hours: Park Gate: year-round, sunrise to sunset. ~ Office: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Take the family on an underground adventure in the Lake of the Ozarks area. Cave tours travel over concrete pathways, through the cave's 60-degree Fahrenheit environment. One-hour guided tours begin every 20 minutes.
526 Bridal Cave Road, Camdenton MO 65020, 573-346-2676
Hours: Open at 9 a.m.; closing time varies by month.
Southeast
With more than 600 artifacts, the Space Museum outlines the exciting history of humankind's greatest adventure. The presentation and format of the exhibit is unique. A complimentary audio tour describes in detail what the visitor is seeing. Interactive displays provide a feel for what space exploration is like.
116 E. School St., Bonne Terre MO 63628, 573-358-1200
Hours: Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ~ Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. ~ Other days by appointment.
The younger members of the family are going to love this one. The "Home of the Missouri Dinosaur" has exhibits that include a life-size model of the Hypsibema missouriense, a variety of dinosaur called a hadrosaur "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. and first Sun. of each month, noon-4:30 p.m.
Southwest
This is an interactive science center for all ages. Imagine, create, have fun and learn with hundreds of exhibits that explore physics, chemistry, energy, health and culture, all in an environmentally friendly building. Note that, August through May we are closed on Mondays.
438 E. St. Louis St., Springfield MO 65806, 417-862-9910
Hours: Hours vary be season and special event.
Discover the stories of the passengers and crew who sailed Titanic, as the crew and interactive galleries bring them to life. Titanic is more than a museum, it is a permanent, interactive attraction for all ages.
3235 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson MO 65616, 800-381-7670
Hours: Open daily: 9 a.m. ~ Closing times vary by season and event.