There's a lot to see and do along U.S. Highway 36 in Northern Missouri; the route spans the state and boasts an All-Star lineup of famous Missourians. From east to west, you find interesting sites and attractions related to author Mark Twain, animator Walt Disney, Gen. John J. Pershing, retailer J.C. Penney, and outlaw Jesse James. Oh, and did we mention the Home of Sliced Bread and the starting point for the Pony Express can be found along this route? No wonder it's been dubbed The Way of American Genius.
Explore the cave Author Mark Twain wrote about in five of his books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This is one of few labyrinth caves in the world where the passages form crisscross style patterns. Guided tours take about one hour.
300 Cave Hollow Road, Hannibal MO 63401, 573-221-1656
Hours: April-May 31, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; June-Aug. 20, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Aug. 21-Oct. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Labor Day weekend, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; November-March, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Start your day with a literally adventure featuring one of America's most well-known authors, Mark Twain. Born Samuel Clemens in Florida, Missouri, Twain spent his boyhood in Hannibal and drew inspiration for some of his famous works from this Mississippi River town. The Boyhood Home and Museum features six historically significant buildings and two interactive museums. Tours are self-guided.
120 N. Main St., Hannibal MO 63401, 573-221-9010
Hours: Daily: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Try the prime rib or onion rings - better yet, both- which are the signature choices at this restaurant and lounge. TJ's offers a full menu with everything from salads and wraps to sandwiches, seafood, pasta and steaks.
211 Munger Lane, Hannibal MO 63401, 573-221-5551
Hours: Mon.-Thur., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Located on the Disney Farm, this is the tree where Walt first began to draw. The barn is where he put on his first show business production. The Dreaming Tree is on the American Forests Register of Historic Trees.
131 W. Broadway St., Marceline MO 64658, 660-376-2332
Housing 3,000 artifacts received directly from Disney family members, the museum affords visitors a chance to see items never displayed anywhere else. (Allow about 90 minutes to drive from Hannibal to Marceline)
120 E. Santa Fe St., Marceline MO 64658, 660-376-3343
Hours: Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m.