Fun Travels Across the United States
MISSOURI (Cities & Towns Follow After the News)
Missouri has a lot to offer - more than 200 lodging facilities, 130 restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual to lakeside eateries, three commercial show caves, 16 world-class golf courses, relaxing spas, two state parks, a 110-stre premier shopping outlet, antique stores galore, miniature golf, bumper cars, 10 cent-skee ball and, a 54,000 acre lake.
For details about seasonal activities, as well as information about upcoming events, lodging, dining, shopping and attractions at the Lake of the Ozarks, please call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) FUN-LAKE or visit www.funlake.com.
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson Named to U.S. News & World Report’s “2018 Best Hotels” List
AAA Four-Diamond Chateau On The Lake Resort & Spa In Branson, Missouri Offering Enticing “3rd Night Free” Offer
NRA National Sporting Arms Museum features 16 original works of sporting and wildlife art on loan from Remington Outdoor Company
The Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail--
(visitalton.com) features 10 historic sites related to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. In addition to the famous Lincoln-Douglas Square, where the last of the great debates took place, visitors can walk in the footsteps of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as Civil War soldiers from both sides of the conflict. The Alton sites include locations where Confederate soldiers were held captive, died and were buried, and where U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull authored the 13th Amendment, putting an end to slavery in the United States.
About Branson, Missouri
Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains with dozens of live performance theaters, three pristine lakes, championship golf courses, an international award-winning theme park, family attractions and museums, a Historic Downtown district, shopping galore, a full range of dining options, and a host of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, campgrounds and meeting and convention facilities. Less than one day's drive for one-third of U.S. residents with flights to the Branson Airport (BKG) and nearby Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) Call 1-877-BRANSON for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at www.explorebranson.com
Where to Stay
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson Named to U.S. News & World Report’s “2018 Best Hotels” List
Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center has received another honor, as it was named “#1 Best Missouri Resort” in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report “2018 Best Hotels” rankings. Situated in Missouri’s picturesque Ozark Mountains, just minutes from Branson’s many attractions and shows, the lakefront resort also was recently recognized with the acclaimed AAA Four Diamond rating for the 20th consecutive year.
U.S. News & World Report’s eight annual “Best Hotels” rankings evaluated more than 24,000 luxury properties across the United States, Europe, Canada, Bermuda and Mexico. The comprehensive methodology of the rankings centered on three components: reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class rankings.
Providing marvelous vistas of Table Rock Lake, lush gardens, and the mountains, the 301-room resort also offers an array of recreational options on-site, including a 14,000-square-foot full-service spa, Chateau Marina, Crawdaddies Kids Club, and an indoor and outdoor pool, to name a few. In addition, the resort features 43,500 square feet of meeting space and many scenic outdoor venues.
Owned and managed by John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, the resort also features a 10-story sky-lit atrium that has meandering streams brimming with colorful Koi fish, plus a charming library lounge with a stone fireplace.
Described as the “Live Music Show Capital of America,” Branson offers more than 80 live shows per day during the season and a variety of attractions. This includes Silver Dollar City, the Titanic Museum Attraction, and The Branson Landing in the heart of downtown, which features festivals, musical events, a variety of waterfront dining options, and 400,000 sq. ft. of shops, boutiques, galleries and specialty gift shops.
For more information on Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa, or for reservations, call 1-888-333-LAKE (5253) or (417) 334-1161, and visit ChateauOnTheLake.com .
If a getaway to a picturesque mountaintop resort that overlooks a scenic lake sounds appealing, then you should check out the AAA Four-Diamond Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa. Featuring a breathtaking setting on an Ozark mountaintop overlooking Missouri’s scenic Table Rock Lake, the resort is conveniently located just minutes from Branson’s many attractions and shows.
For more information or reservations, call 1-888-333-LAKE (5253) or (417) 334-1161, or visit www.ChateauOnTheLake.com , specifically www.chateauonthelake.com/specials-packages/index.cfm.
Boasting an impressive mountaintop and lakefront setting, a vast array of recreational options, award-winning service, and a location convenient to the diverse entertainment offerings of popular Branson, and it is easy to see why Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa is such a popular destination resort. Widely recognized as one of the finest resorts in the Midwest, Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa features breathtaking vistas of Missouri’s scenic Table Rock Lake, lush gardens, and surrounding mountains.
The resort’s 301 beautifully-appointed spacious guest rooms and suites boast cherry wood beds, down comforters, tiled stone baths, 37” flat-screen HD televisions, dual-line telephones, free Wi-Fi 1mb access, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, in-room safes, and in-room on demand movies (at a nominal fee). Recreational options at the resort include the 14,000-square-foot Spa Chateau. The full-service European-style spa features 10 luxurious treatment rooms; customized body treatments; a soothing Infinity Tub that is filled from the ceiling; an opulent outdoor Roman Bath situated beneath a waterfall overlooking Table Rock Lake; a
Branson attractions and sites include the popular Silver Dollar City, the acclaimed Titanic Museum Attraction, and The Branson Landing in the heart of downtown Branson on Lake Taneycomo, which features festivals, musical events, a variety of waterfront dining options, and 400,000 sq. ft. of shops, boutiques, galleries and specialty gift shops.
Additional features at Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa include an impressive 10-story sky-lit atrium that provides breathtaking vistas of the lake, lush gardens, and surrounding mountains, and which features meandering streams brimming with colorful Koi fish, as well as a charming library lounge with a great stone fireplace.
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa is owned and managed by Springfield, Missouri-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts. For more information or reservations, call 1-888-333-LAKE (5253) or (417) 334-1161, or visit www.ChateauOnTheLake.com .
Where to Eat
White River Fish House Restaurant is just a short cast away from Bass Pro Shops White River Outpost on Branson Landing. The unique floating White River Fish House seats up to 307 people. Visitors can \relax on the bank of Lake Taneycomo and enjoy the great taste of the Ozarks with a unique dining experience. The restaurant pays tribute to the White River, which was one of the first “highways” used by early American \settlers to reach what was once a vast, uncharted wilderness. The river has helped shape Ozarks history.
When entering the restaurant, diners will be awed by the stunning view of Lake Taneycomo and the surrounding countryside. With wall-to-wall sliding glass doors and windows on three sides of the restaurant, there’s a tremendous view of the lake from every seat. The doors slide open to create a wonderful fresh-air experience while being sheltered from the elements. There’s also a fabulous stone fireplace to warm the body after a day on the lake or shopping at Branson Landing.
Diners will be surrounded by what helped make the river a staple part of the Ozarks: antique motors, fishing equipment, paddles, boats and trophy mouths of local fish species. In addition to the large dining room and bar area, there are two private dining rooms for more intimate gatherings. The restaurant is trimmed with wood and beautiful wooden beams.
The menu is full of local fare, including trout, catfish, walleye, St. Louis-style barbecue ribs, Ozarks hickory-smoked prime rib, steaks, chicken, hamburgers and sandwiches. You’ll also be able to sample a taste of the ocean, including tilapia, mahi mahi, tuna and shrimp.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. It does not accept reservations.
What to See & Do.
Bringing the unique and extraordinary to the stages of Silver Dollar City, The Festival Of Wonder opens April 11 at the 1880s theme park with larger-than-life performances and acts of curiosity. Designed as “A Most Amazing Entertainment Experience,” the festival features performances that are as unexpected as they are entertaining, from a harp that spans the entire length of a theater to athletes performing flips and flying stunts on pogo sticks.
“It’s extremely challenging finding just the right acts for this festival,” shares Rex Burdette, Silver Dollar City Entertainment & Events Manager, who has been booking acts at the park for over 25 years. “It’s basically a huge treasure hunt, looking for each special act that sets itself apart with unusual twists to the ‘expected spectacular,’ making it show-stopping extraordinary.”
Featuring entertainment from all over the world, the festival brings NEW acts including CirqUnique, showcasing an out-of-this-world contortionist from Asia; the DiabloDiva juggler, whose circus performing family has been astounding audiences throughout Europe for seven generations; a fire juggler with multiple Guinness world records; a slack wire artist from Russia performing unbelievable acrobatic feats on a loose high wire; and an extreme pole-balancing duo with an act that features a bicyclist riding upside down. Other new acts prepared to thrill are the X-Pogo Stuntmen, the world’s most extreme Pogo performance team based in the US, holding 13 Guinness World Records for incredible Pogo stunts incorporating jumps and flips nine feet in the air; world-renowned illusionist Canadian Vitaly Beckman with illusions unlike any other; and mandolin virtuoso Radim Zenkl, originally from the Czech Republic and a former US National Mandolin Champion, whose performances include a variety of instruments from a 6-foot long Slovakian flute to an Australian didgeridoo.
Returning favorites include the Earth Harp Collective, featuring the world’s largest playable stringed instrument, with 75-foot strings stretching the length of the theater, plus a new 9-foot orb covered in drumheads and other unique musical instruments by visionary William Close; and Speed Painting by Paint Jam of Texas, featuring top speed performance art. Unique culinary dishes served up in Foods of Wonder complete the festival experience.
The festival concludes an exciting spring season along with the opening of the new ride Time Traveler, the World’s Fastest, Steepest and Tallest Complete-Circuit Spinning Roller Coaster. At an investment of $26 million, this is Silver Dollar City’s biggest attraction ever, introducing a new generation of thrill coasters for families.
The Festival Of Wonder runs Wednesday through Sundays, April 11 through 29 at the Branson, Missouri theme park. Information: 800-831-4FUN(386) or www.silverdollarcity.com.
Presleys' 50th Anniversry
The Presley Family opened Branson’s first music theater on June 30th, 1967. In 2017 they celebrated their 50th Anniversary in their original location. This is a truly amazing accomplishment in the entertainment industry, especially to be in the same location. Two original members of the show, Gary & Steve Presley still perform nightly in the show. There are now fourth generation Presleys performing in the show. The family originally performed in caves in the Ozarks before building their theater on Highway 76.
Andy Williams Performing Arts Center 25th Anniversary
Andy Williams Moon River Theatre opened its doors on May 1, 1992. Andy was the first non-country music performer to open a theatre in Branson. The theatre’s design reflects the beauty and environmental integrity of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The 48,000-square-foot structure is set among 16 acres landscaped with rock formations, waterfalls and a stream. It is the only theatre ever to be featured in Architectural Digest. For the interior, it was Andy’s idea to create a beautiful auditorium for live performances along with a lobby area that had a museum-like atmosphere so that he could display pieces of art from his personal collection. Since his passing, Jimmy Osmond has taken over the theatre as a promise to his friend and mentor to keep the legacy alive. Andy Williams memorabilia is displayed throughout the theatre and a wide variety of entertainers grace the stage throughout the year, just as he envisioned.
Titanic Museum Attraction
Titanic Museum Attraction, honoring James Cameron’s “TITANIC” in celebration of the iconic movie’s 20th anniversary, has a limited engagement new gallery to showcase many, never-before-seen elements from the movie costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts and more. Titanic Branson looks forward to “TITANIC” release in 2017 and to honoring its 20-year anniversary.
Showboat Branson Belle
Showboat Branson Belle gears up for an even bigger 2017 aboard the 700-passenger paddle-wheeler. An all-new show “Country On The Lake”
adds a different genre of music as the noon complement to the popular evening variety show “Celebrate.” Designed as a concert cruise featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing #1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band it includes tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus many classic, memorable songs.
The Runaway Mountain Coaster
The Runaway Mountain Coaster is a thrill ride that uses the natural topography of the area to have an exciting user-controlled trip for an experience few will ever forget. Riders are seated in individual carts engineered to exacting safety standards. The carts are pulled to the top via a chain, similar to roller coasters. At the top of the mountain, carts are released to travel down the hill, winding in and out and around the hills for a fun and unique experience.
Raiding the Country Vault
Raiding the Country Vault opens mid-March at The Starlite Theatre. It brings chart-topping Nashville stars together with musicians who have played with Country music’s most iconic acts, performing a set list featuring the biggest hits of America’s most beloved music genre. The producers are planning to bring “Raiding the Rock Vault,” from Las Vegas, for select summer dates.
Fritz’s Adventure is a dynamic family attraction that brings the excitement and challenges of outdoor adventure into a multi-dimensional indoor environment. Experience three stories and 80,000 square feet where you can enjoy elements of the world around you that, anywhere else, would be prohibited or discouraged. All ages are encouraged to explore the family adventure together.
Bigfoot on the Strip is the fifth attraction investment in Branson for the owners of Branson Zipline Canopy Tours, Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline, Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon and Fast Shot Shooting Gallery. The centerpiece of this $10 million attraction is a 200-foot free-fall tower. Two of the rides are extreme rides for serious thrill seekers, while the third is a calmer ride offering more of an Ozarks viewing experience.
Johnny Morris' New Golf Course
Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris has teamed up with golf icon Gary Player to create a world-class short course that will deliver an unparalleled experience for golfers. Winding through breathtaking rock formations and showcasing some of the most dramatic views in the Ozarks, Big Cedar Lodge will unveil its newest golf experience in the spring of 2017.
History of Fishing Museum
The History of Fishing Museum is the largest collection of antique fishing lures, rods, reels, boats and motors entirely collected by one man and his wife. It is valued at more than $4 million. The first lure was bought when Karl White was eight years old. The lure is still in the collection today almost 70 years later!
The Sky Deck
A ride on Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline at Branson Landing, takes you to The Sky Deck on Mt. Branson with spectacular views of Lake Taneycomo, the entire Branson Landing and Historic Downtown. You can “Zip and Sip” or plan your own private party with live music, catering and cocktails.
Christmas Tree Tour
Who doesn’t love a beautiful Christmas tree, radiant day and night with the warmth and joy of the season? Now the already amazing holiday season in Branson is even better as the community strives to become “America’s Christmas Tree Town” like no other. Many cities have a single iconic Christmas tree each year. Branson has the largest variety of the most wonderful and unique Christmas trees found anywhere! Discover over 100 dazzling trees in addition to the music shows, shopping and festive family fun making Branson aneven more tree-mendous holiday destination than ever before!
Branson Forward is a dream of a bigger, brighter, more amazing Branson experience than ever before with spacious walkways, landscaping, park benches, interesting landmarks, and amazing spaces for visitors to explore and enjoy. Over the next seven years, Branson plans to invest more than $100 million and transform five miles of Highway 76 into a more vibrant, dynamic, fun, attractive and interactive entertainment corridor certain to delight and amaze the next generation of Branson visitors. All this is being implemented with absolute minimum disruption to the non-stop fun and entertainment opportunities jam-packed along our city’s famous corridor.
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud is coming soon to the entertainment district in Branson. It’s Feudin’ Feastin’ Family Fun at The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show! Become part of the longest-running feud in history and help the Hatfields and McCoys try to settle their differences in a hilarious dance and comedy revue mountain style while enjoying a full Southern Homestyle Feast. Opens 2018.
Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops, an international catalog and internet retailer, is also America’s most popular outdoor store, offering shoppers the largest selection of quality outdoor gear, clothing and accessories from top industry names and at value prices. More than just hunting and fishing stores, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores are also part museum, part art gallery, part education, conservation and entertainment centers. They offer equipment for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, boating, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center also serves up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. It is definitely a tourist destination with just about everything one would want for the outdoors - boats, guns, hunting equipment, clothing, and much more in addition to a restaurant.
For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.
Branson Landing, New Hotel and Convention Center, More Great Golf
A $420 million sprawling shopping, dining, luxury lodging, condominium and convention center facility, situated along 95 acres of Lake Taneycomo shoreline in the historic downtown, Branson Landing is the largest development of its kind in the state's history. Anchored by Belk department store and Bass Pro Shop's White River Outpost, Branson Landing boasts over 100 specialty shops and restaurants. In Town Square of Branson Landing is the new boutique Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing with 242 beautifully appointed guest rooms, many of which have spectacular views of the $7.5 million water spectacular that synchronizes light, sound, music and fire. Adjacent to Branson Landing sits the new Branson Convention Center that will open late this summer and accommodate some 4,500 people in a stunning, state-of-the-art setting.
A curving, exposed timber pedestrian concourse offers a pleasing view of the waterfront as visitors walk between the center's meeting and exhibit space and the adjacent Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, where guests will have a chance to experience the pampering luxury of a metropolitan hotel in the heart of small-town America. Convention-goers will soon have even more reasons to extend their stay with Murder Rock championship golf course at Branson Creek set to open in August and The Tribute, honoring the memory of Payne Stewart, opening next year in Branson Hills.
Relaxation and Recreation
On top of the tremendous variety of live entertainment and attractions awaiting guests in Branson this year, the 301-room, AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Chateau on the Lake Resort and Convention Center presents the ultimate in relaxation, a $6 million, 14,000-square foot spa overlooking Table Rock Lake. Spa Chateau features 10 treatment rooms, an outdoor Roman bath, men's barber spa, salon, fitness studio for group and individual instruction, and an all-new state-of-the-art fitness center located in the main resort.
At the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure, guests have the opportunity to walk among thousands of exotic butterflies, watch a 3D movie about their life cycle, and experience the sight and sound of a real rainforest.
Of course, the surrounding Ozark Mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop for all of this spectacular entertainment and are the perfect playground for the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can hike, bike or ride horseback through the beautiful wooded hills; there are three crystal-clear lakes offering water activities and fishing galore with easy access to boating, canoeing, kayaking, cruises, houseboats, jet-skiing and even "duck" rides.
To order a free Branson Vacation Guide, call the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-214-3661 or visit www.explorebranson.com.
Although Columbia is best known for its celebrated universities and colleges, fun festivals, award-winning restaurants and thriving creative arts and music scenes, the city's green spaces also attract outdoor enthusiasts year around. Columbia's Capen Park, one of 65 city parks and natural areas around the city, offers impressive rock outcroppings and stunning scenic views that are popular with rock climbers and hikers.
When most Midwesterners think of Columbia, images of packed stadiums and arenas saturated with black and gold almost always immediately come to mind. But for those that know the city more intimately, another draw to the area has little to do with home games, conference standings and large crowds and more to do with the city's open spaces.
For those looking for a little room to roam and to stretch their legs, Columbia's 65 area parks and 10 conservation areas offer ample opportunities to get outdoors and into nature. The often-overlooked natural gems are scattered throughout the area, including Columbia's three unique state parks, a celebrated nature trail and the city's vast conservation areas. And, there is no offseason when it comes to enjoying Columbia's great outdoors.
Located just five miles south of the glow of Columbia's downtown lights is Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, which offers wanderers the chance to trek along some of the most popular hiking trails in the state. The 2,272-acre park is home to impressive karst geological formations, a namesake rock bridge, sinkholes, a natural spring and an underground stream in the imposing seven-mile long cave system known as the "Devil's Icebox." The 750-acre Gans Creek Wild Area located within the park features a rugged 8.5-mile trail surrounded by high bluffs and accommodates horseback riding from July through October. For more details on Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, visit www.mostateparks.com/park/rock-bridge-memorial-state-park .
Finger Lakes State Park, located just north of Columbia off Highway 63, offers a unique mix of amenities and draws a diverse crowd. This 1,128-acre park was once the site of a coal strip-mining operation, which created the park's namesake lake configurations and rough terrain. The rugged landscape of Finger Lakes State Park has been recycled into more than 70 miles of off-road motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails, only one of two Missouri state parks that allow off-road vehicles. And, for visitors looking for the more typical state park experience, the numerous finger-shaped lakes allow activities such as swimming, fishing, canoeing and scuba diving. Nearly a dozen small, isolated lakes left by the mining company were joined together by a series of dams and canals. The result is a long, narrow strand of water that runs more than a mile and a half along the eastern edge of the park, perfect for canoeing, kayaking and float fishing. A sand swimming beach and change house are located on one of the eastern finger lakes. For more information on Finger Lakes State Park, visitwww.mostateparks.com/park/finger-lakes-state-park.
The MKT Nature and Fitness Trail was voted the second-best urban trail in the country by readers of USA Today. Columbia also provides visitors with perhaps two of the most enjoyable ways to experience Missouri's beautiful countryside - by bicycle or by foot. The Katy Trail State Park, the longest developed rails-to-trails conversion program in the U.S., runs along the western border of the city and connects to Columbia via the nine-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail. The MKT, which was voted the second-best urban trail by readers of USA Today, runs through the heart of downtown Columbia making it easy to access the Katy Trail.
The Katy Trail State Park covers 240 miles of scenic Missouri landscape from Clinton on the west side of the state to Machens on the east. Much of the Katy Trail follows the Missouri River, flanked by impressive limestone bluffs and meanders through former railroad towns along fertile fields of corn and soybeans. The trail has stops along the way where home-cooked food is served in friendly cafes and bed and breakfast inns. Rocheport, on the Missouri River west of Columbia, is the original Katy Trail town, with charming bed and breakfasts, delicious restaurants, unique shops, the award-winning Les Bourgeois Vineyards and the only railroad tunnel on the trail. For more information on the Katy Trail, visit www.mostateparks.com/park/katy-trail-state-park .
One of the area's most celebrated conservation areas, Eagle Bluffs, is located a mere 15 minutes southwest from the heart of Columbia. Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area features 4,286 acres comprised mainly of wetlands, woodlands and prairie and is designated as an important ornithology area by the Audubon Society of Missouri. As such, Eagle Bluffs is well known for shorebird and migratory game bird viewing, making it one of the best birding locations in the state and a hotspot for waterfowl hunters. For fishermen, Eagle Bluffs features hearty populations of catfish, carp, crappie, buffalo and drum. For complete information about Eagle Bluffs, visit nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/eagle-bluffs-ca.
All parks and conservation areas are free and open to the public year around. For more details on the activities and amenities available at the Columbia-area parks and conservation areas, visit the parks and trails page at www.visitcolumbiamo.com/section/parks-trails/.
Visitors interested in exploring Columbia's state parks, conservation areas and city parks can find information on lodging, dining options, events, additional attractions and things to do around Columbia by heading to the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) website at www.VisitColumbiaMO.com. Or, call the CVB at 1-800-652-0987.
Columbia features a mix of small town charm and friendliness with the amenities and cultural offerings of a big city. There is always something exciting to see and do in Columbia, so for more information on these and other ways to have fun in Columbia, please contact Megan McConachie at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 573-441-5572 or at VisitColumbiaMO.com.
When it comes to the fine arts, Columbia has long been a creative epicenter for innumerable artists working in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, dance and music. This spring, Columbia celebrates its creative side with multiple art-focused events.
First Fridays in the North Village Arts District
This spring, attendees will have several opportunities to peruse and purchase artwork, watch artists in the act of creation and enjoy live music during the First Fridays event series in the North Village Arts District. On the first Friday of every month, the North Village Arts District, located just north of Broadway Street in downtown, will collectively open its doors from 6-9 p.m., encouraging locals and visitors alike to explore and appreciate the ever-growing collection of art and entertainment that Columbia offers.
The North Village Arts District is the city's self-proclaimed "bohemian paradise," comprised of over 150 artists' work spaces, galleries, dance studios, a music school, distillery and more. First Friday events are free and open to the public and continue throughout the year. For a complete list of First Friday dates, and for more information on the North Village Arts District, please visit www.NorthVillageArtsDistrict.com.
Columbia features a mix of small town charm and friendliness with the amenities and cultural offerings of a big city. There is always something exciting to see and do in Columbia, so for more information on these and other ways to have fun in Columbia, please contact Megan McConachie at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-652-0987 or at VisitColumbiaMO.com.
Three State Parks Offer Lots of Outdoor Fun Around Columbia
The summer months are perfect for exploring the natural bounty that the state of Missouri offers. With numerous parks, conservation areas and trails around Columbia, there are plenty of options for hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, camping and more in the beautiful outdoors. There are ample opportunities to enjoy summer's splendor at Columbia's three area state parks.
Finger Lakes State Park -
This 1,128-acre park was once the site of a coal strip-mining operation, which created the park's namesake lake configurations and rough terrain. The rugged landscape of Finger Lakes has been recycled into more than 70 miles of off-road motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails, only one of two Missouri state parks which allows off-road vehicles. For those looking for the more typical state park experience, the numerous finger-shaped lakes allow activities such as swimming, fishing, canoeing and scuba diving. Nearly a dozen small, isolated lakes left by the mining company were joined together by a series of dams and canals. The result is a long, narrow strand of water that runs more than a mile and a half along the eastern edge of the park, perfect for canoeing and kayaking. A sand swimming beach is located on one of the eastern finger lakes and fishing holes are scattered throughout the park. For more information on Finger Lakes State Park, visit TinyURL.com/FingerLakesStatePark.
Katy Trail State Park -
Visitors can hike, bike or stroll along the MKT Trail and Katy Trail for a view of the beautiful Missouri countryside set against an impressive backdrop of limestone bluffs that run along the Missouri River. The longest rails-to-trails program in the US, the Katy Trail State Park covers 240 miles of scenic Missouri landscape from Clinton on the west side of the state to Machens on the east. Much of the Katy Trail follows the Missouri River through forgotten railroad towns and along fields of corn and soybeans and placid pastures of cattle. The trail has stops along the way where home-cooked food is served in friendly restaurants and bed and breakfast inns. Rocheport, on the Missouri River west of Columbia, is a quintessential Katy Trail town, with lodging, restaurants, shops, the award-winning Les Bourgeois Vineyards and the only railroad tunnel on the trail. For more information on the Katy Trail, visit TinyURL.com/KatyTrailStatePark.
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park -
Located just five miles south of the glow of Columbia's downtown lights, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park offers weekend wanderers the chance to scramble, hike and bicycle through some of the most popular trails in the state. The 2,272-acre park is home to fascinating geological formations, picturesque wooden boardwalks, a namesake rock bridge (pictured), sinkholes, a natural spring and underground stream in the impressive seven-mile long cave system that makes up the "Devil's Icebox." And, with advanced registration, Devil's Icebox also can be explored in its entirety with a day-long, guided wild cave tour complete with headlamps and kayaks. For more information on Rock Bridge State Park, visit TinyURL.com/RockBridgeStatePark.
Two New Breweries Open in Columbia
Columbia has long been known as a college town, but it is quickly establishing itself as a bonafide "beer town," as well. The longtime favorite brewpub of locals, visitors and alumni is Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, located near Flat Branch Park in downtown, which is known for it's wide selection of in-house beers and diverse menu options. Broadway Brewery, which is located in the heart of downtown on Broadway Street, opened just a few years back and features a rotating list of craft brews and a seasonal menu comprised of locally-sourced produce and meats. Within the last couple of months, two more breweries have opened their doors and begun sharing their passion for the age-old art of beer making.
Logboat Brewing Company is located northeast of downtown at 504 Fay Street.
Logboat Brewing Company - The founders of Logboat wanted to create a space for friends to come together to celebrate camaraderie and handcrafted beers in a relaxed and friendly environment. The brewery, which opened its doors just over a month ago, features a taproom, which has a rustic, yet modern flavor, as well as a manicured lawn christened "the Shipyard" where visitors can sit and sip out-of-doors and even sign up for local bocce ball and croquet leagues. As for libations, Logboat offers four flagship beers - a Snapper IPA, Shiphead Ginger Wheat, Lookout APA, and the Mamoot Mild Ale - all of which are on tap and can be savored in the brewery's taproom Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3-10 p.m., Fridays from 3 p.m. until midnight and Saturdays from noon until midnight. For more information on Logboat, visit www.LogboatBrewing.com.
Rock Bridge Brewing Company -
As of April 12, 2014, Rock Bridge Brewing Company became Columbia's first wholesale brewery. The new company's business model differs from Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, Broadway Brewery and Logboat because, while the latter three make and sell their own beer on the premises, Rock Bridge makes its beer at its warehouse-turned-brewery and distributes it to various restaurants, bars and grocery and liquor stores around Columbia as well as the state of Missouri. Rock Bridge currently produces six signature beers: Sif's Blonde, Saison, Occident Coast IPA, Rye You Lil' Punk IPA, Tailgate Brown and the Black Fog. For more information on the brewery, the brews, and where their beers can be found, visit www.RockBridgeBrewery.com.
For complete information on the beers and menu items offered at Flat Brach Pub and Brewing, please visit www.FlatBranch.com. And, for comprehensive information on the beers and menu items at Broadway Brewery, please visit www.BroadwayBrewery.com.
Columbia features a mix of small town charm and friendliness with the amenities and cultural offerings of a big city. There is always something exciting to see and do in Columbia, so for more information on these and other ways to have fun in Columbia, please contact Megan McConachie
at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-652-0987 or at VisitColumbiaMO.com.
Bass Pro Shops Opened
This Bass Pro Shop is the anchor to a planned 75-acre development at I-12 and Range Avenue. The 163,000 square-foot store will include an Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant. The Bass Pro Shops store is themed to the Denham Springs area and features a large aquarium, wildlife dioramas, an 11,430 square foot Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant and a boat service center.
Vacation in Independence!
President Harry S. Truman loved his country with the same patriotic fervor that he felt for his beloved hometown of Independence. Stop in at the historic Bingham-Waggoner House, 313 W. Pacific. The exhibit is free with regular admission, which is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-16. The home is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Then head up to the historic Independence Square, where you can hitch a ride on a covered wagon historical tour with Pioneer Trails Adventures and the larger than life statue of Harry Truman standing outside the courthouse. Take an ice cream break across the street at Clinton's Ice Cream Parlor, where a teenage Truman held his first paying job .
In the Truman Home Historic Site Ticket and Visitors Center, 223 N. Main, you can watch a free 12-film about the Truman Home, also called the Summer White House. Purchase tickets for a guided tour by National Park Rangers. The home, several blocks away at 219 N. Delaware, has been preserved just as it was when Harry and Bess lived there. You can also pick up free brochures at the home or the Visitors Center for a self-guided walking tour along marked Truman Walking trail.
Drive up Delaware to the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, 500 U. S. 24 Highway, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. Make certain to explore the new long-running exhibit, Treasures of the Presidents. This amazing collection of 200 artifacts, on loan from all the nation's presidential libraries, showcases extravagant head of state gifts such as a jewel encrusted dagger, personal possessions such as Bill Clinton's saxophone and whimsical folk art gifts such as a hand carved coconut bust of Harry Truman. On the Fourth of July, admission is free all day, and the Museum is also offering giveaway souvenirs to all visitors.
Stay overnight at one of the city's quaint B & Bs or one of a number of national brand motels or hotels.
For details, visit www.trumanlibrary.org or call 816-268-8200.
For a complete listing of special events, other sites and attractions, discount coupons, themed itineraries and
Independence and the Great Outdoors
While many visitors come to Independence for historic attractions, there's a whole world of outdoor fun awaiting families. The city boasts 41 public parks scattered throughout the city, with amenities ranging from
swimming pools to athletic fields, barbeque grills, horse shoe pits, shelters, picnic tables, play areas, restrooms, fishing lakes, walking trails, mountain bike trails and basketball courts. Two water spray grounds have been opened at McCoy Park, 24 Highway and Delaware, and Rotary Park, 24th and Hardy. The free water play areas, open May through Labor Day, cool kids off at stations that shoot, spray or mist water.
The new skate park in Hill Park at 23rd and Maywood was built in 2006 and is open daily until dusk. A custom 10,000 sq. foot poured in-place concrete park features 6 and 9 foot bowls along with skate features like rails, stairs and grind blocks for street ridging. The park is designed for beginners and advanced skaters.
George Owens Nature Park, 1601 S. Speck Road, covers 85 acres of fishing lakes, picnic sites and trails. Inside the lodge, explore archeological treasures found in the area, an aquarium and wildlife exhibits. The lodge, pavilion and campground may be rented.
Adventure Oasis family water park, 2100 Hub Drive, features a lazy river, three water slides, interactive family pool and lap pool. The water park is open Memorial Day to Labor Day
A major youth athletic complex east of Missouri 291 off Salisbury Road is now under construction. When the 140 acre complex opens this fall, four soccer game fields, four soccer practice fields, four football fields, two baseball fields, three softball fields, open and wooded park space, concession and restroom facilities will all be available.
Another highlight is the exciting 30 acre Bass Pro Park nestled in the hills of the Bass Pro Shops development just off I-470. This park will include a 17 acre stocked fishing lake, picnic pavilion with seating for 100, a play ground and hiking trails.
Beginning at the Hartman Conference Center , just north of I-70 and Little Blue Parkway, walkers and bikers can follow 10 miles of the paved Little Blue Trace Walking Trail. Three additional themed marked historical walking trails offer families a chance to journey back in time. The Swales (covered wagon ruts) Walking Trail is a ? mile blacktopped path with nine interpretive signs that winds through the grounds of the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W Pacific. The Missouri Mormon Walking Trail, with 14 customized brass sidewalk markers, focuses on the 1830s era when Independence was a key gathering place for Mormons. You will walk in the footsteps of Harry Truman as you follow the 2.7 mile Truman Historic Walking Trail with 43 sidewalk plaques that describe many sites important to our 33rd President.
Golf options include historic Rockwood Golf Club, 2400 S. Maywood Avenue, where Harry Truman was known to play, Drumm Farm Golf Club, 15400 E. 34th Street, with an 18 hole championship and 9 hole executive courses, and Winterstone, 16400 E. Kentucky. Winterstone's 72 championship course features mature trees, creeks and rolling hills.
For a complete calendar of Independence attractions and events, call Independence Tourism at 800-748-7323 or go to www.visitindependence.com.
You're Invited to Feel the History and Join in the Fun. Jefferson City isn't just Missouri's capital, it's also a multi-dimensional center for the arts.
From traditional to trendy and everything in between, if you're looking for creativity, fun and cultural enrichment, Jefferson City is the place for you. You can stroll through the Capital Arts Gallery to admire a diverse selection of art ... applaud from a front-row seat as the curtain rises on a popular theater production ... dance the night away at a local hotspot ... or create your own art itinerary from Jefferson City's wide range of visual and performing arts options.
No matter what your tastes, you can satisfy the right side of your brain in Jefferson City.
What to See & Do
Custom Jefferson City bike racks are strategically placed throughout the city as part of an ongoing effort to make the community more welcoming to visitors and bicyclists. The project was coordinated by the Discover Jefferson City Foundation, a group of volunteers who work cooperatively with the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop and promote tourism in Jefferson City.
The group meets once a month to discuss projects and activities consistent with their mission. Over the past decade, the Foundation has hosted numerous fundraisers to directly support tourism including the funding of the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum and several film projects.
The idea is consistent with the city's efforts in creating a more bike-friendly community including the most recent way-finding signage downtown and the approval of the pedestrian and bike plan aiming to improve the safety, connectivity and mobility for bikers and walkers.
The custom bike racks are available to purchase for store or business fronts. The Foundation envisions the racks being used as a memorial or just a place for customers or visitors to park their bikes. There are two designs, a more compact display priced at $300 or a larger display for $1,350.
Those interested in purchasing a bike rack can contact Diane Gillespie, Executive Director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (573) 632-2820 or email@example.com.
About the Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau (JCCVB) was founded in 1989 to maximize the positive economic impact of visitor dollars to the community by effectively marketing the Jefferson City area as a desirable convention and tourism destination.
Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, 700 E Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Feel The History on a Missouri State Penitentiary tour
Visitors to Jefferson City once again can walk through what Time Magazine once called "the bloodiest 47 acres in America." Constructed in 1836, the Missouri State Penitentiary once was the largest prison in the United States and held prisoners 100 years before Alcatraz opened its doors. At its peak, the prison held 5,200 offenders. Famous inmates included gangster "Pretty Boy" Floyd and boxer "Sonny" Liston. Two-hour and 3-hour history tours are available, as well as nighttime ghost tours and ghost hunts. For more information, and to schedule a tour, visit MissouriPenTours.com.
Appreciating the Arts
Jefferson City's love of the arts is a part of what makes it "America's Most Beautiful Small Town." The historic buildings feature stunning architecture. Visitors say the Missouri State Capitol Building is so filled with famous art, it feels like part gallery, part museum and the city features displays of both visual and performing arts year-round.
For more information about the sights, sounds and activities of Jefferson City, call the Jefferson City
Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-769-4183, or visit www.VisitJeffersonCity.com. You can also find more information on the city's events at Twitter or Pinterest pages.
Art, History and New Eateries Abound in Missouri's Capital City
Over two hundred years of proud American history is woven throughout the patriotic tapestry of Jefferson City. In Missouri's capital city, one can find celebrated architecture, stories of yesteryear told through comprehensive exhibits, and monuments to both legendary events and notable historical figures.
Murals, paintings, statuary, fountains and more await visitors to Missouri's State Capitol - the art museum that's not really an art museum. Ranked #1 in the nation by USA Today as the capitol building with the most beautiful interior, Missouri's Capitol covers three acres in downtown Jefferson City. A wealth of artwork fills and surrounds the classic, domed building. Best known is Thomas Hart Benton's mural - the colorful, controversial "A Social History of the State of Missouri," wrapping around all four walls of the House Lounge. Visitors on a guided (or self-guided) tour also will wander past busts of famous Missourians, paintings, carvings, statuary, stained glass and other artwork accumulated since the Capitol's completion in 1917. Outside, on the Capitol grounds, they will find a heroic 13-ft. statue of Thomas Jefferson, the Fountain of Centaurs, bronze figures symbolizing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and much more, all within easy walking distance.
Continuing on with a self-guided walking tour of Jefferson City's rich and storied downtown area, there are other sites that are worth visiting or exploring, including the Governor's Mansion, Carnahan Memorial Garden, Cole County Historical Museum, Supreme Court Building, Lewis and Clark Monument at the Katy Trailhead Plaza and the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.
For information about these historical sites or for more about events and other attractions in and around Jefferson City, contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-769-4183. You can also visit the CVB online at VisitJeffersonCity.com or at the Bureau's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Missouri State Pen Museum
The prison's History Tours were again the most popular tour option, accounting for more than half of the record tour attendance. The guided history tour takes visitors through the 176-year old decommissioned prison that once held gangster "Pretty Boy" Floyd, boxing champion Sonny Liston and assassin James Earl Ray.
The Ghost Tours and the Ghost Hunts have continued to show significant growth in popularity due to an ever-increasing interest and intrigue in the paranormal. Since the tours first began in 2009, more than 50,000 total visitors have toured this historic prison. The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau recently announced that a Missouri State Penitentiary Prison Museum will open in the spring of 2013. This museum will be located on the second floor of the building that houses the CVB's office at 100 E. High Street. The MSP Prison Museum will allow visitors to learn even more about the prison's past through historical exhibits and artifacts.
For more information about the Missouri State Penitentiary or Pen Tours, please visit MissouriPenTours.com, call 866-998-6998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Eat
Downtown and Old Munichburg Open New Eateries
Relax and enjoy cuisine in a casual café, dine al fresco or meet up with friends and family for reservations at a gourmet restaurant. Whatever your taste, there's a dish waiting for you to sample at one of Jefferson City's cafes or restaurants.
Here are a few of Jefferson City's newly-opened eateries:
The Grand Cafe
(107 E. High Street) offers casual, upscale dining in an intimate and classic upscale atmosphere in the heart of downtown Jefferson City. Gourmet dishes such as roasted duck breast, Ahi tuna steak, potato-crusted salmon and grilled lamb chops are on the menu, along with other favorites such as salads, sandwiches and pasta. The Grand Café also has a wine list with over 25 selections of domestic and imported red, white and sparking
(700 E. High Street) allows diners to explore the refreshing taste of vegan and vegetarian fare in the comfort of a home-like atmosphere located within a 10-minute walking distance from the Capitol. Vitality's seasonal menus rely heavily on fresh, local seasonal produce and the healthy benefits of excluding animal ingredients from its dishes, without sacrificing taste. The restaurant serves daily specials, "Soups of the Day," salads and entrees such as the "Neatloaf" (pictured above) - a meatloaf substitute made from grains and vegan ricotta - as hool diner motif. Burgers, pastas, seafood, grilled meats and custom lunch sandwiches are on the menu and antique bikes, classic signs, photographs and other objects hang on the wall to amp up the surroundings that evoke nostalgia. A full kids menu is also available. Shep's is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Contact Shep's Southside at 573-893-8600, or visit their Facebook page for more information.
For more information on what to do and see and where to eat in Jefferson City, contact the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau at VisitJeffersonCity.com
Where to Stay
Blue Door B&B
Opened Spring 2008
Located in Baltimore’s Butcher’s Hill neighborhood, this charming 1900’s brick “rowhome” B&B features three huge guest rooms, each with a soaker tub, king-sized beds and living-room styled seating. The Washburn Room (named after a Civil War-era camp for Union soldiers in nearby Patterson Park) can accommodate a third guest, while the Patterson and Hamstead rooms can be combined into a two-level, 700-square-foot suite. www.bluedoorbaltimore.com 2023 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, 410-732-0191
What to See & Do
“Irish in Baseball” Exhibit
From its earliest days, baseball has been as much an Irish-American game as American. Irish immigrants found no quicker way for assimilation for their young sons than through the country’s national pastime. This year, Kansas City Irish Fest’s Heritage Area is showcasing an exhibit on the “Irish in Baseball.” You'll learn about the proud history of Irishmen playing America's game through this text, photo, and living history exhibit.
Irish Guitar Hero
Think you’ve got the skills to rock Irish Fest-style? Here are some of the best Celtic rock songs ready for you
Diverse Irish Music
We’re always proud to offer our audience a diverse mix of music as “real Ireland” offers much more than traditional and Irish rock. And this year we’re shaking things up even more with Cara, an Irish rock band from Germany; Danny Burns and the Defectors, which brings alt-country and funk to their rock; and Hothouse Flowers, offering a blend of folk, gospel and traditional music into their original "rock and soul" sound. Check the schedule at www.kcirishfest.com for times.
The Snug is back, bigger and better than last year. The Snug is Irish Fest’s member’s only club for visitors and their friends to gather, gab and gulp. But this club is certainly not exclusiveevery visitor to Irish Fest is welcome to join. Membership includes drinks, Snug t-shirt, Irish Fest poster and unlimited access to a private area for shade, seats, complimentary snacks and restrooms. Price: $100 day pass ($75 for Friday), $250 weekend pass
Ghost expert Barry FitzGerald
Barry FitzGerald, host of "Ghost Hunters International" on the Sci-Fi Channel and Ireland resident, is back for a second year to conduct workshops about ghosts in Ireland on the Childrens’ and Heritage stages.
Where to Stay
Kansas City Irish Fest offers an affordable weekend packed with music and culture. The adjacent Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel and Westin Crown Center are offering special Irish Fest rates starting at $106, which include two tickets to the festival. To reserve a room at the Hyatt call (816) 421-1234 or the Westin at (816) 474-4400, or book from the Irish Fest website, www.kcirishfest.com. Be sure to ask for the special Irish Fest rate.
Looking Ahead ...
There is no time for the post-holiday blues at the Lake of the Ozarks because the fun keeps going as the New Year begins. For more information about getaway packages, lodging, dining, shopping, events and attractions throughout the Lake area, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the website at FunLake.com.
Where to Stay
Eight bed and breakfasts, each located in a different locale around the Lake, offer the opportunity for a peaceful, romantic and fun retreat at what readers of USA Today deemed the "Best Recreational Lake" in the nation.
Delicious breakfasts come standard at the seven different Lake-area bed and breakfasts.
These comfortable homes-away-from home dot the Lake of the Ozarks area and offer a quiet respite for busy couples to relax and reconnect with each other. Well-appointed rooms with all the comforts of home, plus extra perks such as luxury linens, jacuzzis and hot tubs, stunning lakeside views and delicious made-from-scratch breakfasts make it easy to forget about everything else but the one you're with.
Sue Westenhaver, innkeeper at The Inn at Harbour Ridge Bed and Breakfast, is excited about the growth in the bed and breakfast industry at the Lake of the Ozarks. "The Lake has never been considered a 'bed and breakfast destination,' but that's quickly changing with new B & Bs opening in the community," Westenhaver says. "We have four B & Bs that have been around for nearly 20 years but we've now doubled in number and it provides such a wealth of diversity and breathes new life into the Lake-area communities. Visitors can choose from on-the-water settings, country settings and village-like settings. And, each has its own distinct style and signature dishes that are lovingly prepared to make each stay memorable."
Westenhaver, who sits on the board of the Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri, says that the personal attention guests receive at a Lake-area bed and breakfast is second to none. "You get all these special touches and personalized service that's unique to each B & B. It's like having a personal concierge on-call 24 hours a day and people just love it."
Bass and Baskets Bed and Breakfast in Lake Ozark also serves as the headquarters of Big Ed's Guide Service.
Bass and Baskets Bed and Breakfast, 1117 Dogwood Road in Lake Ozark, features four themed guest rooms (Baskets and Blooms, Bed of Roses, Home Sweet Home and the Old Bass Lodge) and also doubles as the headquarters for Big Ed's Guide Service. Bass and Baskets is located lakeside and each room offers private decks overlooking the waters of Lake of the Ozarks, gas fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and other individual touches. Guests can expect a relaxing stay with a large breakfast and use of the private dock for swimming and fishing. Custom packages and add-ons are available to enhance any stay. And, with a professional Coast Guard-certified fishing guide living under the same roof, ample opportunities to get out on the water to catch impressive bass are easy to come by. To learn more, visit www.BassAndBasket.com.
Bent Tree Bed and Breakfast in Camdenton offers a peaceful blend between nature and elegance.
Nestled on 20 acres of scenic countryside just three miles north of the Camdenton square, Bent Tree Bed and Breakfast, 1491 Neongwah Bend Road in Camdenton, is a small working farm that brings guests closer to nature. Guests can choose from four themed guest rooms (Nautical, Tropical, Lavender and Mountain) and will enjoy a delicious and nutritious home-cooked breakfast each morning. Guests can immerse themselves in the offered amenities including a private fishing pond, a small petting zoo, an outdoor fire pit and a hot tub. On-site massages are available for maximum relaxation. For more information about this bed and breakfast, visit www.BentTreeBNB.com.
Big Cedar Bed and Breakfast in Laurie is the Lake's newest bed and breakfast.
Located on the west side of the Lake, Big Cedar Bed and Breakfast, 31358 Aqua Vita Road in Laurie, is the newest B&B to the Lake area. This rustic retreat will open its doors to guests in April 2018 and offers country charm in a laid-back setting. Visitors to Big Cedar B & B can select one of two themed rooms (Birds and Blooms or Winter Berry) within the large cedar home with more guest spaces to be added in the near future. Perks of a stay at Big Cedar B & B include a big country-style breakfast, opportunities to view the abundant wildlife and enjoy a relaxing stay in the country. Additional details can be found at www.BigCedarBandB.com.
Cottage by the Castle is located right down the road from Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
Cottage by the Castle Bed and Breakfast, 3395 State Road D near Camdenton, provides views of the Lake of the Ozarks as well as Ha Ha Tonka State Park and its "castle" ruins. Located just down the road from Ha Ha Tonka Spring, the Cottage by the Castle is an ideal resting place for travelers looking to spend their stay exploring the 3,751 acres of the park, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the countryside. The Cottage includes four themed guest rooms (Beach, Country, Garden and Lake) with private baths. Amenities include common areas such as the dining room, living room, large back deck and a hot tube under a gazebo. Guests will enjoy a bountiful breakfast of farm-fresh eggs (provided by the backyard chickens in residence), baked goods and more. Check out www.CottageByTheCastle.com for more details.
The Garden House Bed and Breakfast, 4 Haney Road, overlooks the Lake of the Ozarks and offers four themed guest rooms (Iris, Orchid, Rose and Tulip).
The verdant gardens without and the plentiful plants within give the Garden House its name and lend a lush feel to the property. Breakfast is served on private decks with sweeping views of the Lake. The combination of the tasteful and comfortable rooms with stunning views of the Lake, great room, dining room, game room and Martini deck with a hot tub earned it the recognition of being named the "Best Bed and Breakfast of the Midwest" by Midwest Living magazine in 2010. Visit www.TheGardenHouseBnB.com to learn more.
The Haunted Castle Bed and Breakfast in Brumley invites guests to have a hauntingly good time.
For the more adventurous, the Haunted Castle House Bed and Breakfast, 841 Highway C in Brumley, offers a frighteningly good time. Established in 1850, the Haunted Castle House is a large Queen Anne Victorian home that served as a country doctor's office, hospital, funeral home and morgue for over a century. Surrounded by a pioneer cemetery and a mass grave, the Castle House is one of the most sought after locations for paranormal investigation groups from around the world. Filled with antiques dating between 1850 and 1930, the Castle House features three guest rooms (Hospital, Martha Dixon and Annie Hill) and offers guided ghost and graveyard tours to guests and the public. For visitors "brave enough to sleep with ghosts," visit www.HauntedCastleHouse.com.
The ornate Victorian-style Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in downtown Versailles.
The Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast, 206 East Jasper Street in downtown Versailles, is loaded with historic charm. The two-story, ornate Victorian-style house was built in 1877 and features gingerbread details on the front facade of the home and a large screened-in porch on the backside. A parlor and dining room make up the common areas on the first floor and four bedrooms (Alice, Thornleigh, June and Hilty) with private baths occupy the second story. Two of the bedrooms can be made into suites for three or more guests. Available special services include private or group breakfasts, breakfast buffets, dinner service and event rentals. More details can be found at www.HiltyInnBedAndBreakfast.com.
The "Roll in the Hay" is a private guest cottage located in a converted big red barn at The Inn at Harbour Ridge in Osage Beach.
The Inn at Harbour Ridge, 6334 Red Barn Road in Osage Beach, was designed and developed with their guests' satisfaction in mind. This bed and breakfast specializes in romantic getaways and features four themed guest rooms (Captain's Quarters, Happily Ever After, Love Nest and Uncle Bill's Quarters) in the main house. In addition, there's the "Roll in the Hay," a playfully romantic and private "guest cottage" located in a converted big red barn on the property. Guests staying in the "Roll in the Hay" can join other guests for breakfast in the main house or can request to have their breakfasts delivered to ensure they make the most of their time together. Amenities include fireplaces in each room, hot tubs or jacuzzi tubs, private decks, two common areas with TVs and fireplaces, a swimming dock and more. The Inn at Harbor Ridge was named one of the "Top 10 Best Overall Bed and Breakfasts" in the U.S. by BedAndBreakfast.com and is the recipient of Trip Advisor's Hall of Fame designation. Find out more at www.HarbourRidgeInn.com.
Most of the bed and breakfasts at the Lake of the Ozarks offer a range of getaway packages and special ad-ons. Packages may include romantic getaways, girlfriend getaways, Golf Trail getaways, shopping getaways, wedding and/or honeymoon packages and more. And, no matter where a visitor stays, they're never far from the wide variety of attractions and activities available at the Lake of the Ozarks.
For those looking to plan a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks with a larger group of family or friends, there are hundreds of other lodging options available. In addition to the bed and breakfasts, accommodations at the Lake range from full-service luxury resorts to smaller family-owned resorts; condominiums and rental homes to friendly hotels and motels to convenient cabins, campgrounds and RV parks. A complete listing of accommodations can be found by clicking on the Lodging tab at Information on year around events and attractions, as well as details on dining options available at the Lake can be found on the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com, or by calling 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
What to See & Do
Although it's widely recognized as one of the best vacation destinations in the Midwest, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks has also earned the reputation of being one of the best fisheries in the nation, too. Thousands of anglers return to the Lake time and time again to take to the waters in search of that next big catch. The sheer size of this man-made reservoir can be difficult to comprehend: it covers over 54,000 acres with over 64 billion gallons of fish-filled water supplied by five tributaries, all enclosed within 1,150 miles of meandering shoreline. To put that in perspective, that's more shoreline than the entire Pacific coast of the state of California.
That's exactly what makes the Lake of the Ozarks one of the best destinations for anglers of all experience levels. With all that water, shoreline and natural and artificial habitat, as well as careful management, the fish populations flourish, making for a lot of line-tugging, fish-fighting fun throughout the entire year.
The most prevalent species at the Lake include largemouth and spotted bass; white bass; black and white crappie; hybrid white bass/stripers; bluegill; walleye; and channel, flathead and blue catfish, as well as paddlefish. But, arguably the most sought after are crappie and bass. The Lake hosts over 500 professional and amateur fishing tournaments each year, the most popular being the semi-annual spring and fall Big Bass Bash tournaments, which typically pay out a whopping $60,000 cash prize to the amateur that reels in the biggest fish.
Fishing has been a popular family activity at the Lake of the Ozarks for over 80 years. "If you're interested in catching your daily limits of sizable fish, the Lake of the Ozarks provides a wonderful opportunity to accomplish that," says Jim Divincen, administrator for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association. "It's also a great way to spend quality time with your family. Generations of families have grown up fishing here and continue to pass on the tradition to each new generation or addition to their families. In fact, some of my fondest memories are of fishing with my daughters on the Lake."
The autumn season is a favorite among anglers for the cooler temperatures, colorful fall foliage and productive fishing. The warmer weather and extended hours of daylight make spring and summer the most popular seasons with boaters and anglers alike, but that doesn't mean the fish stop biting in the fall and winter. The cooler temperatures and vibrant fall foliage make fishing at the Lake in autumn both beautiful and productive. And, during the fall and winter seasons, many of the Lake-area resorts offer discounted rates on lodging, providing yet another reason to plan a fishing trip to the Lake of the Ozarks.
Those willing to layer up and brave the colder conditions, may have the largest payoff as some of the Lake's record-breaking fish have been caught during the winter months. And, a handful of Lake-area resorts feature enclosed heated fishing docks for catching crappie, some are even furnished with couches and TVs to ensure a comfortable and pleasurable winter fishing experience.
GOOD FISHING ATTRACTS GOOD FISHERMEN
The Lake area not only boasts a good number of trophy-size fish, but also a good number of national trophy-winning fishermen. Guido Hibdon, winner of the Bassmaster Classic and two-time BASS Angler of the year; Dion Hibdon, winner of the Bassmaster Classic and FLW Forrest Wood Cup; fishing legend Denny Brauer, the first ever angler to be featured on the Wheaties Box; Brian Maloney, FLW All-American National Champion; and Marcus Sykora, FLW All-American National Champion, all call the Lake of the Ozarks home. Clearly, there must be something in the water.
So, what makes the the Lake of the Ozarks so special and so attractive for professional anglers?
"The Lake is an unbelievable place to be for pro anglers because there are many different river systems, many different types of cover for the fish, and you have four distinct seasons, so fishing this lake prepares you for all sorts of scenarios," says Sykora, who won the 2014 FLW All-American championship on Wilson Lake in Alabama. "You learn to excel at fishing in very shallow water; very deep water; in warm and cold weather; windy, rainy and sunny conditions; so you develop a unique sense for the different patterns and techniques you need to use for each given scenario. That, in my opinion, is why Lake of the Ozarks anglers tend to be so successful in big tournaments. Our home lake has prepared us well. And, that's also why the Lake attracts and produces so many great anglers."
TAKE IT FROM THOSE WHO KNOW
If you come to the Lake to do some fishing, it's never a bad idea to do a little research. There are many resources available to anglers providing information on the best locations, patterns, bait and more. A great online resource is www.BassingBob.com, where you can get current reports on water conditions and tips from local pros. In print, there's the Lake of the Ozarks Fishing News available for free at most bait shops and grocery stores around the Lake area, and several local newspapers also feature up-to-date fishing reports and tips as well.
But, you can always cut to the chase and hire a certified fishing guide. Local guides know the waters better than almost anyone and make for a relaxing and effortless fishing experience. With one call, you can book these professionals, who will take you to the Lake's fishing "hot spots," and will also provide the boat and all the equipment needed for the excursion. All you have to do is show up and your guide will take care of the rest.
"A big lake like this can be intimidating for some people," says Ed Franko, owner of Big Ed's Guide Service in Lake Ozark. "Professional fishing guides make it easy and they maximize the quality of time a person spends on the water. Most of us are out on the Lake 250-plus days a year, so we know where the fish are and what they're biting. We also have some of the best equipment and a wealth of knowledge to ensure that people have a great experience here at the Lake of the Ozarks. Because, when you get down to it, it's all about the experience and a good guide can be the difference between a great fishing trip or an extremely frustrating one."
For a complete listing of Coast Guard-certified fishing guides in the area, visit www.FunLake.com.
Impounded in the 1930s, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks has been a favorite family vacation destination for decades. While the area has grown rapidly and includes many new attractions, accommodations and dining options, the Lake still offers glimpses of its authentic beginnings.
The historic Bagnell Dam Strip, adjacent to Bagnell Dam, is the original tourist area where all the Lake fun began. The result of its longevity is a kitschy, retro vibe that still exists today.
One of the original, oversized "Muffler Men," a towering fiberglass icon of the 1960s, welcomes vacationers as they travel across the Bagnell Dam and enter the "Dogpatch Complex." This string of shops includes the Leather Man store, which specializes in customized leather goods and apparel; Grandma's Candy Kitchen, home to rich, homemade chocolates and 20 flavors of its award-winning fudge; a traditional arcade featuring Skee Ball as well as some of the most popular video games of a bygone era, where parents can introduce their kids to Pac-Man and Mario Brothers, and there's the iconic Dogpatch store.
Dogpatch, which opened in 1947 and is based on Al Capp's comic strip of the same name, is the longest continually operated store at the Lake. Generations of visitors return to bring their children and grandchildren to hear the welcoming "howdy" from the hillbilly mannequin seated in the store's rocking chair. Dogpatch features an assortment of souvenirs and gifts, including corncob pipes, in keeping with the Dogpatch theme. The Old Time Photos studio, located across the street from the Dogpatch Complex, offers the chance to don vintage costumes and pose as cowboys and dance hall girls, straight out of classic western movies. Bagnell Dam Strip offers several dining options, including down-home diner food at Stewart's Restaurant. Locals and tourists have been enjoying their catcher's mitt-sized cinnamon rolls and huge pork tenderloins smothered in gravy since 1953. For more information about the historic Bagnell Dam Strip, visit www.LakeOzarkBagnellDam.com.
Vintage cars and motorcycles look right at home along The Strip at annual events such as the Magic Dragon Street Meet, Hot Summer Nights and Bikefest. The 27th annual Magic Dragon Street Meet, during May, brings in over 1,000 classic cars and 10,000 spectators from across the country for an event that has been likened to walking onto the set of "American Graffiti." Hot Summer Nights, held the second Friday of each month from May through September, is another fantastic vintage auto show that features free live music and entertainment along with plenty of hot cars, trucks and bikes. Find more information at www.CruiseHotSummerNights.com.
In mid-September, Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest draws motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country to the Lake for four days of scenic rides, vendor villages, concerts, contests, a bike giveaway and other activities, including the chance to show off their bikes along The Strip. Information about Bikefest can be found at www.LakeBikefest.com.
For an overview of the Lake's origins and current information on things to do in the area, visitors can choose to make their first stop at historic Willmore Lodge, which now serves as a museum of Bagnell Dam history as well as the offices of the Lake of the Ozarks Area Chamber of Commerce. Willmore Lodge was built of white pine logs and completed in 1930 to serve as an administrative building, resort and entertainment facility for Union Electric employees during the construction of Bagnell Dam. Willmore Lodge guides visitors through the Lake of the Ozarks' past, and provides them with a stunning panoramic view of the Lake. Learn more about Willmore Lodge at www.WillmoreLodge.com.
While the landscape has changed over the years as the area has developed, one aspect that has remained constant is the natural beauty of the Lake of the Ozarks. Rolling hills and bluffs are a forested backdrop for the 54,000 acres of sparkling blue water. The area is home to two of Missouri's most popular state parks.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the state's largest and includes activities for every member of the family. Boat rental, public ramps and a self-guided aquatic trail are perfect for vacation activities on the water. On land, 12 trails, ranging from 0.8 of a mile to 13.5 miles, wind through the park for hikers and mountain bikers. Ozark Caverns, located inside the park, offers lantern tours of the Lake area's underground beauty.
USA Today's readers very recently named Ha Ha Tonka State Park the fourth best state park in the country. The ruins of a 1900s-era "castle" stand out amid the scenery of this magnificent park located near Camdenton. The stone structure that sits atop a bluff overlooking the Niangua arm of the Lake is all that remains of the dream of Robert McClure Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City businessman, who began construction on his elaborate country estate in 1905. Snyder never saw his dream materialize as he was killed in an auto accident the following year, but the home was finally completed by his sons in the late 1920s and served as Robert Snyder, Jr.'s residence for several years. It was later operated as a hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1942. The skeleton of Snyder's dream home is now the centerpiece of the park. Ha Ha Tonka offers 14 walking trails covering more than 15 scenic miles throughout the park. The trails allow visitors to see the topography of the area, complete with sinkholes, natural bridges and springs. For more information on both parks, visit www.FunLake.com/State-Parks .
Places to Stay: As the Lake area built its reputation as a family vacation destination, hundreds of small motels and family-owned resorts dotted the area to provide accommodations for travelers. Over the years, the Lake's lodging landscape has changed to feature all types of comfortable accommodations, from campgrounds and rustic cabins and bed and breakfasts to luxury condominiums, yet those remaining small family-owned resorts continue to be a mainstay for travelers wanting that authentic Lake of the Ozarks experience.
For more information about dining at the Lake of the Ozarks, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com.
After a marriage proposal, two questions about the wedding immediately arise - When? and Where? Brides and grooms can easily find the answers to those questions in the year-round beauty and diversity of the Lake of the Ozarks, a wedding destination unlike any other.
Whether the happy couple is looking for a traditional venue or something a little unusual - indoors or outdoors - they can find it here. "There are a lot of destination weddings at the Lake of the Ozarks. We are centrally located, making us a 'halfway' point for brides and grooms whose families are scattered around Missouri and the United States," said Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of sales for the Lake's Tri-County Lodging Association. "In addition, guests can come to the Lake for a wedding and stay for a vacation after the ceremony. And, of course, there is our wide variety of interesting venues."
Over 2,500 couples from around the world have said "I do" in the underground chapel of Bridal Cave.
When Glamour Magazine listed its Top 10 Unique Wedding Venues, the Lake of the Ozarks' Bridal Cave made the list. More than 2,500 couples have said "I do" amid the stalactites in the cave's Bridal Chapel and many more couples have renewed their vows in this beautiful underground chamber. For more information, visit www.bridalcave.com.
If a wedding on the water is appealing, couples can book one of the Lake's two 150-passenger yachts for the ceremony, as well as the reception or rehearsal dinner. The Tropic Island and Celebration yachts can seat as many as 100 guests comfortably and offer dining options on board. Beautiful scenery and a relaxing cruise make this a memorable wedding option. To learn more, visit the Tropic Island's website at www.tropicislandcruises.com or the Celebration at www.cruiselakeoftheozarks.com.
At Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, the castle ruins and the park's stunning views of the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks make a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony. Lake of the Ozarks State Park also offers areas that make for enchanting outdoor weddings. Wedding ceremonies in state parks can be arranged by contacting the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, a minimum of three weeks prior to the ceremony. The request must be submitted to the park in writing and contain details about the ceremony. Contact information for all of the parks can be found at www.mostateparks.com.
Many of the area's wedding venues feature Lake views, but few can match the breathtaking beauty of the first seven miles of the Lake as seen from historic Willmore Lodge. The 6,500-square-foot, Adirondack-style lodge was built of white pine logs during the construction of Bagnell Dam in the 1930s and offers inside space that will accommodate approximately 80 guests. Brides will easily be able to imagine a stunning processional along a flower-lined path with the groom waiting in a gazebo at the water's edge. For more information, visit www.willmorelodge.com.
Mallard Point Resort hosts weddings on their beautifully landscaped peninsula. With a multitude of quiet coves tucked away in over 1,000 miles of shoreline, the Lake of the Ozarks offers unique wedding venues on peninsulas that offer lake views on all sides. Mallard Point Resort features a flat and beautifully landscaped lawn dotted with shade trees, that reaches out to the end of their peninsula. During the ceremony guests face the Lake and form an aisle leading to a lakeside arch that frames the happy couple and officiant as vows are exchanged. A reception under white tents completes the day. Visit their website at www.mallardpoint.com.
For a completely different option, couples can choose The Point at Lazy Gator's for their ceremony and experience a Caribbean vibe in the Midwest. Thatched cabanas, a white sand beach and a stunning lake view offer a backdrop for a destination wedding that feels like the islands, but is much closer to home and at a greater value. Learn more at www.privatepartieslakeoftheozarks.com. The availability of on-site lodging is an advantage to having a wedding at one of the Lake's locally owned resorts. Brides and grooms can contact the resort of their choice for information and assistance to plan their special event.
Celebrate the big day by staying at the "Roll in the Hay" guest cottage at The Inn at Harbour Ridge Bed and Breakfast. Area bed and breakfast inns offer the perfect location for intimate elopements or small ceremonies, as well as rehearsal dinners, vow renewals and honeymoons. Outside ceremonies on landscaped lawns or under wedding gazebos are perfect for warmer months. Romantic fireside ceremonies in elegant parlors offer an option for cool-weather ceremonies. The Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast in Versailles and Castleview Bed and Breakfast in Camdenton both offer special packages for a special day. Small ceremonies can also be performed at Bass and Baskets Bed and Breakfast by innkeeper Deb Franko. They receive great pleasure when they can accommodate the wishes of brides and grooms, including hosting ceremonies on the fishing dock for avid fishermen and fisherwomen. At The Inn at Harbour Ridge, they will take care of the officiant, the beautiful setting, chairs and even a bottle of bubbly to toast the husband and wife. Top off the occasion with a romantic stay in the inn's "Happily Ever After" guestroom or "Roll in the Hay" guest cottage. Check out all of the wedding options at these inns by visiting www.castleviewbedandbreakfast.com, www.hiltyinnbedandbreakfast.com, www.bassandbaskets.com and www.harbourridgeinn.com/weddings for more information.
Pick one of the Lake of the Ozarks area's wineries or vineyards for a rehearsal dinner, reception or wedding - or all three. Casual or elegant, indoors or outdoors, the wineries can help brides and grooms plan the perfect celebration for an intimate few or an ultimate party for hundreds. Each offers something different, but all offer help to make the day easy and special for the bridal party. Information about Golden Rock Winery, Sugarloaf Vineyard, Seven Springs Winery, and Shawnee Bluff Vineyard and Winery can be found at www.lakeoftheozarkswinetrail.com.
The Lodge at Four Seasons makes for a perfect wedding destination with several venues to choose from.
Convenience and beauty combine to make a perfect celebration of love at one of the Lake area's full-service resorts. The Lodge of Four Seasons and Tan-Tar-A Resort have everything needed by brides and grooms. Both offer a variety of venues for the ceremony, indoors and out. Brides' "to-do" lists are checked off easily as on-site wedding coordinators handle details like accommodations, catering and audiovisual assistance. The result is a wedding that is customized for the happy couple, with little for them to do before the ceremony but relax. And the resorts can help with that, too, as they offer spas for the ladies and golf for the gentlemen to ease any pre-wedding jitters. For more information about weddings at The Lodge of Four Seasons, visit www.4seasonsresort.com/weddings. Details about weddings at Tan-Tar-A Resort can be found at www.tan-tar-a.com/weddings/.
Some of the Lake area's most breathtaking scenery can be found at its championship golf resorts. These resorts expertly bring together all the elements of beautiful weddings overlooking manicured greens and rolling hills. Osage National Golf Resort www.osagenational.com/wedding/), Old Kinderhook Resort www.oldkinderhook.com/testimonials.asp) and The Club at Porto Cima (www.portocima.com/weddings.php)
Osage National Golf Resort is one of the many golf courses that host weddings at the Lake.
are three venues that make wedding planning as smooth as a perfect golf backswing. Year-round venues offer plenty of options for brides in any season. Wedding assistants at the clubs coordinate deliveries and details for effortless "I dos." While these three clubs specialize in wedding event planning, a number of other clubs on the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail offer banquet and other facilities for events such as rehearsal dinners, weddings and receptions. And of course, they also specialize in golf outings for the wedding party. Visit www.golfingmissouri.com or the courses' individual websites to learn more.
The number and types of wedding venues at the Lake of the Ozarks are as limitless as the imaginations of the brides and grooms. Planning is made easy by the Tri-County Lodging Association and the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau. A visit to www.FunLake.com or a call to Lagina Fitzpatrick at 1-800-FUN-LAKE allows bridal parties to outline their wedding plans and needs on a single form. That form is then submitted to Lake venues that match the criteria. The venues will respond to the brides and grooms with proposals to host their big event.
The Lake of the Ozarks Wedding Association is another invaluable source for those planning a Lake destination wedding, honeymoon, vow renewal or anniversary celebration. The association offers a directory of the area's wedding professionals, from lodging properties to bakeries to printers. Details can be found on the web at www.lakeozarkweddingassociation.com.
There are plenty of activities for bridal parties, groomsmen and guests at Missouri's Fun Lake. Find out more about the events, activities, accommodations, dining and other wedding venues at the award-winning website, www.FunLake.com or by calling 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
Dogwood Hills Golf Resort in Osage Beach hosts many reunions throughout the year. According to the lyrics of a traditional British folk song, "The more we get together, the happier we'll be." That is certainly true of the reunion groups which each year flock to the beauty and diversity of Lake of the Ozarks for their get-togethers.
The Lake is centrally located in Missouri, and in the country, making travel easy for everyone in the group. More importantly, the Lake of the Ozarks has activities and accommodations that meet the needs of all reunion attendees.
Some families hold their reunion reunion at Lone Oak Point Resort Condominiums.
The area hosts family, military and school reunions year after year, according to Nicole McGinnis, group sales manager for the Tri-County Lodging Association and the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau. McGinnis said she also has assisted with reunions of car clubs and other groups with like interests, as well as former neighbors who have gone their separate ways and want to reconnect. "The Lake has something for everyone at a reunion," she added. "We offer a small-town feel with big-city influences. That makes everybody comfortable at the Lake."
Small family-owned resorts cater to reunions, offering comfortable accommodations at moderate prices with amenities on property and large spaces for gathering the whole group together.
Lakeview Resort in Sunrise Beach offers an idyllic setting for family reunions, complete with fun activities and amenities everyone can enjoy. "Our family-owned resorts offer a 'back-to-the-basics' kind of feel," McGinnis said. "They are perfect for groups who want comfort at a price everyone in the group can afford." She noted, however, that they are just one of many options used by reunion planners, who can also choose options from primitive campsites, bed and breakfasts, lakeside condominiums and vacation homes. With restaurants, spas and a full menu of other amenities, luxury resorts offer reunion groups the opportunity to find everything they need in one location.
The Lake of the Ozarks offers travelers numerous choices of things to do and places to see. However, visitors may be surprised to learn their choices at the Lake carry over to accommodations - and not just where they stay, but how they stay.
Point Randall Resort
This impressive catfish was caught from the docks of Point Randall Resort in Lake Ozark. Many Lake-area resorts feature fishing docks for their guests' convenience and enjoyment.
The Lake of the Ozarks has made a point of providing top-notch services for anglers for decades. So, if you're planning a trip to the Lake, know that many of the resorts at the Lake cater to anglers and their needs and offer fishing docks, submerged crappie beds and cleaning stations on location. And, as mentioned previously, some have heated fishing docks for comfortable winter fishing as well.
Public launching sites are available in the Lake area's two state parks - Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha
Ha Tonka State Park - as well as at full-service marinas and resorts around the Lake. A lot of the same marinas and resorts also offer boat rentals.
Fishing licenses are required for most anglers in Missouri. Licenses can be purchased at many Lake-area resorts, convenience stores and bait shops. For more information, including all rules and regulations, or to purchase your fishing license online, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation at www.mdc.mo.gov/permits.
Whether fishing with buddies or family, time spent off the water can be as enjoyable as the time spent fishing. The Lake of the Ozarks, which was named the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation by readers of USA Today, has activities and events for every age and interest. To learn more about these, plus dining and accommodations options, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website at www.FunLake.com.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS TRI-COUNTY LODGING ASSOCIATION & CONVENTION AND VISITOR BUREAU
Phone: 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) Fax: 573-348-2293
P.O. Box 1498 Osage Beach, MO 65065
Website: www.FunLake.com Email: Info@FunLake.com
CABINS AND FAMILY RESORTS
Cabin accommodations and family resorts have been around the Lake of the Ozarks almost as long as there has been a Lake. Visitors can choose just how many - or how few - creature comforts they want to have at hand during their stay.
In the Rough
Ozark Trails Family Campgrounds offers picturesque cabins that allow visitors to get in touch with their rustic side. Rustic cabins offer accommodations for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without pitching a tent. These cabins offer items like dining tables and chairs, wood-burning stoves, electricity, ceiling fans and lighting, air conditioning and supplemental heating, plus sleeping accommodations in beds and futons. Outside, cabins offer tables and benches and fire grills for barbequing or campfires. Restrooms, shower houses and drinking water are offsite, but within walking distance.
Cross Creek RV Park offers five tree house cabins for a new perspective on camping.
Among the Birds
The Lake area abounds with cabins to rent, but only a few qualify as tree houses. Set high among the trees, these rustic cabins offer a bird's-eye view of the Lake's beauty. They sleep 4-6 people in beds and lofts and include sinks, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, barbeques and fire pits.
With All the Trimmings
Family owned and operated Alhonna Resort features 60 lakefront and lake view units, a marina, restaurant and heated fishing dock.
Family resorts and fishing lodges offer a variety of accommodations from motel rooms to cabins to condominiums. Most of these resorts have grown up with the Lake, offering affordable accommodations for fishermen and families. They're great for family reunions and other large groups that want options for all types of travelers and offer all the amenities families need to have fun. Kids will enjoy pools and playgrounds and adults will be happy to find the resorts offer docks (some with boat rentals), fishing guides and cleaning stations. At the end of the day everyone can come together at onsite restaurants, game rooms or other gathering places. Many are open year round for those who want to take advantage of the crappie biting in the early spring, either from boats or from the heated docks at some resorts.
ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME
Whether visitors are looking for accommodations in a condominium or a bed and breakfast, the Lake of the Ozarks makes them feel right at home.
On the Fairway
Visitors who come to the Lake for Osage National Golf Resort offers well appointed course-side condos, swimming pool and more set along beautiful views of the Osage River Valley. Championship golfers can choose to stay where they play, making early tee times easy. Savvy golfers look for stay-and-play packages offered by a number of the courses at the Lake or the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail offers affordable packages offered by its 13 member courses and local lodging establishments. Visitors can call an individual course or learn more about the Golf Trail at: www.GolfAtTheLake.com.
On the Water
Parkview Bay Condominiums is just one of the many waterfront rental options offered by Keys to the Lake Lodging Company.
Lakeside homes offer beautiful views and more, including docks for travelers who bring their own boats or personal watercraft. Choosing a vacation rental - whether a stand-alone home or a condominium - allows travelers all the comforts of home and is a great way for families or groups of friends to stay together but have separate spaces, as well.
With Breakfast on the Side
Inn at Harbour Ridge Bed and Breakfast was named in The Huffington Post as one of the top five B & Bs for girlfriend getaways.
Lake area bed and breakfast homes and inns are a cozy option for all types of traveling groups. Relax in front of the fireplace with a group of best friends; bring the bridal party to enjoy spa treatments before the big day; make it a his-and-hers getaway with fishing for the guys and shopping for the ladies; or enjoy gorgeous lake views with that special someone. Visitors who choose this option can have it all, plus breakfast in the morning.
CAMPING OR GLAMPING?
People who love to "rough it" can find a place at the Lake, but so can people who choose to "not-so" rough it. If tents and sleeping bags are not what visitors have in mind, there are opportunities at the Lake of the Ozarks for "glamping," a recent addition to urban dictionaries short for glamorous camping.
In a Tent or Travel Home
Osage Beach RV Park offers 74 RV sites and five rustic cabins for travelers to enjoy.
Campsites galore are offered at the Lake of the Ozarks in privately owned campgrounds and RV parks, as well as state parks. These great locations offer campers all the amenities they are looking for, from primitive campsites to pull-through sites and pools to playgrounds. Many of the sites offer Lake views and shady comfort from the area's forests. Camping at the Lake of the Ozarks is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of Central Missouri.
ROOM(S) FOR ALL
Hotel or motel? Room or suite? Resort or cabin? The Lake of the Ozarks has plenty of room for guests in its many lodging facilities. Guests can make their choices by location, price range, offered amenities or a number of other criteria. Any choice offers all the fun of the Lake of the Ozarks.
In the Lap of Luxury
The Lodge of Four Seasons features three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, highly acclaimed dining and more.
Beautiful full-service resorts at the Lake of the Ozarks offer guests a complete array of amenities and activities, all in one location. Larger resorts offer top-of-the-line amenities like championship golf courses, nationally recognized spas and hair salons and marinas, along with luxury accommodations right on the Lake. Tan-Tar-A Resort features five swimming pools, an indoor water park, full-service marina, horseback riding trails and two challenging golf courses and more.
From casual to elegant, bowling, tennis, miniature golf, an indoor waterpark, playgrounds, horseback riding, parasailing, Lake cruises and organized children's programs, visitors staying at one of these beautiful resorts can stay in the lap of luxury and may choose never to leave the resort.
On the Go
Travelers who are taking advantage of all the activities at the Lake and only using their rooms to catch a few winks between one fun day and the next can choose one of many motels located conveniently near the action. Visitors will find a variety of national lodging chains, offering convenient and economical family accommodations, many of which include complimentary breakfast.
The Lake's wealth of attractions for fun-seeking families makes choosing the perfect accommodations a key part of planning a Lake getaway. You'll want to stay as long as possible, so pick the area resort, hotel, motel, condominium, private home rental, bed and breakfast, RV park or campground that's an ideal match for your needs.
For a full list of these properties or for more entertainment ideas, visit FunLake.com or call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) P.O. Box 1498 Osage Beach, MO 65065,
What to See & Do
One of the best ways to enjoy the scenic and natural beauty of the Ozarks is by hiking or taking a leisurely walk through the mixed terrain enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the forests, glades, meadows and prairie. There are ample opportunities for visitors to the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation to head off the beaten path and discover the wonders of nature.
There is perhaps no better place to hike at the Lake of the Ozarks than at its two state parks. In total, the parks have a combined 26 different trails covering over 57 miles. Each park showcases the area's natural history and beauty and each has its own claim to fame. Ha Ha Tonka State Park was voted the fourth-best state park in the country by readers of USA Today and has one of the most photographed features in the state: The ruins of a 19th century "castle" that was constructed on a high limestone bluff overlooking Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. The 3,751-acre park is Missouri's premier showcase of karst geology and is unique in the quantity and quality of its remarkable geological features.
The rugged 1.25-mile Devil's Kitchen Trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park leads to a unique geological sinkhole, past a cave shelter and along a steep concave bluff wall. Ha Ha Tonka's fourteen walking trails, covering more than 15 scenic miles throughout the park, make it easy for visitors to experience the honeycomb of tunnels, rock bridges, caverns, springs, sinkholes and other natural areas. Visitors can peer into caves, climb 316 steps from the spring to the "castle" on a wooden boardwalk that circles the spring chasm, or navigate well-worn paths through the woodland area and the park's glades.
Jim Divincen, administrator for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, enjoys spending some of his free time hiking the trails at Ha Ha Tonka. One of Divincen's favorite trails is the park's longest, Turkey Pen Hollow. This 6.5-mile hike winds through the scenic and rugged Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland Natural "With some near 200-foot climbs in elevation, this trail provides many spectacular views," says Divincen. "The first time I finished the trail, I remember thinking, 'wow, that was really special.' Since then, I've hiked this trail on several occasions at different times of the year and it's an absolutely beautiful experience no matter the season or the weather." Divincen recommends that those planning to hike Turkey Pen Hollow should allow at least three hours to complete the trail. In addition, Divincen encourages hikers of any of the trails at the Lake to be sure to bring plenty of drinking water. More details on Ha Ha Tonka's trails can be found at mostateparks.com/park/ha-ha-tonka-state-park.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri's largest park consisting of 17,626 acres and also is the most visited. It is a favorite among backpackers and anglers and also features a 10-mile aquatic trail, accessible only by boat. On land, 12 trails, ranging from 0.8 of a mile to 13.5 miles, wind through the park. Lake of the Ozarks State Park also features trails that accommodate mountain bikers and equestrians for those who would like to explore the park by bicycle or on horseback. Coakley Hollow Trail in Lake of the Ozarks State Park is one of the park's more popular trails, a self-guided interpretive trail that measures a fairly easy distance of one mile. Coakley Hollow meanders through one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the park, featuring six different types of ecosystems, including dolomite glades, fens, spring-fed streams and several types of woodlands. Interpretive stations are located along the trail, making it easy to learn about the terrain and rare species encountered along the hike.
"A great family-friendly trail at Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the Lakeview Bend Trail," says Divincen. This 1.5-mile trail begins at the campground check-in station along State Highway 134 in Kaiser and runs along the banks of Lake of the Ozarks. "There are some splendid views of the Lake from this trail, especially in-season, from June through October, when the water level is up," Divincen concludes.
Hidden below the surface of Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Ozark Caverns, one of four show caves in the Lake area. Informative park interpreters lead hour-long, narrated hand-held lantern tours of Ozark Caverns' underground beauty from mid-May until mid-September. For more information on the trails and features of Lake of the Ozarks State Park, visit mostateparks.com/park/lake-ozarks-state-park.
Hikers of all ages enjoy the variety of trails at the Lake of the Ozarks. Both state parks are free and open to the public year around. Each offers spectacular shows of color during the spring and fall and native plant species and wildlife thrive in all seasons.
Five unique Missouri conservation areas at Lake of the Ozarks welcome hikers and feature designated walking trails, birding areas and natural areas to explore as well. The conservation areas also are free and open year around. For more details on all the Lake-area conservation areas, their trailheads, and other activities and amenities available, call the Camdenton Conservation Service Center at 573-346-2210, or head to the Missouri Department of Conservation website at www.mdc.mo.gov to access an interactive atlas for detailed maps of the different areas.
There are many lodging options available in close proximity to the state parks and conservation areas, making it easy to relax and unwind after a day on the trails. Accommodations range from full-service resorts to smaller, family-owned resorts; quaint bed and breakfasts to fully-equipped vacation rental homes and condominiums; rustic cabins and comfortable campgrounds and RV parks and familiar hotels and motels. For a complete listing of lodging options available around the Lake area, visit the accommodations page at www.FunLake.com.
To find out more about all the attractions, fun events as well as dining options available at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the nation, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website at www.FunLake.com.
Those who prefer to explore the area will find activities for every age and interest.
For those who like to hit the links, the Lake has 15 championship courses, 13 of which make up the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail. Shopping at the state's largest outlet mall or in quaint, small specialty shops appeals to others. For the younger members of the group, the arcades, go-karts, indoor or outdoor waterparks and mini golf fill the bill.
The Lake of the Ozarks' area state parks feature many beautiful trails and great opportunities to get outside to enjoy nature's splendor. Outdoor-lovers will find miles and miles of trails for hiking and biking in Lake of the Ozarks State Park, the state's largest, and in Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which features the ruins of a 1900s castle. Fishing and boating are also popular activities. Many of the resorts, as well as Lake of the Ozarks State Park, offer rentals of boats and personal watercraft and there are launches at the resorts and other locations around the Lake for those who bring their own boats. Fishing guides provide all the necessary equipment for an outing and also know the spots in the Lake where the fish are biting.
Working with a representative, like McGinnis, from the Convention and Visitor Bureau makes planning a reunion easy. A form on the FunLake.com website asks questions about the group and its needs. The questionnaire is then sent to lodging facilities that meet the group's requirements. Bids from lodging facilities interested in hosting the group are sent directly to reunion planners.
McGinnis advises planners to allow plenty of lead time, as there are multiple reunions each weekend during the summer season when children are out of school and favorite venues fill up quickly. Military and school groups with older members may find the spring and fall seasons offer more choices in location.
Whether the group wants to enjoy quiet nature or be in the heart of the action, the Lake of the Ozarks offers the perfect venue for gathering together and reconnecting with friends and family.
For more information about reunion services, as well as all the activities, events, accommodations and restaurants at the Lake, visit FunLake.com or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE.
There are many ways to enjoy the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation, but one of the most memorable is sleeping under the stars and enjoying the splendor of an Ozark moon while sitting around the warm glow of a campfire. Camping and RVing are fantastic ways to experience the natural beauty of Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.
Tent camping is a popular way to experience the Lake's natural beauty. Over 20 campgrounds and RV parks dot the Lake area and offer all the amenities campers and RVers appreciate, especially Lake views and cool, shady comfort from the area's forests.
Whether a visitor's ideal camping trip consists of pitching a tent and unrolling a sleeping bag, pulling a pop-up camper or fully-equipped fifth wheel, or even "glamping" in a comfortable cabin complete with air conditioning and pre-made beds, there are options at the Lake to suit everyone's style. And, regardless of where visitors set up camp, they will be close to a wide variety of family-friendly attractions and activities. Highlighted below are just a few of the campgrounds that can be enjoyed around the Lake area, all offering a unique experience:
Bear Bottom Resort's water slides, two of the largest in Missouri, are a big hit with guests of all ages.
Bear Bottom Resort, RV Park and Campgrounds, located in Sunrise Beach, recently expanded their lodging options to include 24 spacious RV sites to complement its primitive camping options. There are mature shade trees, campfire pits and a picnic table at every site and visitors with an RV can choose from full hook-up sites to electric-only sites. The entire park is within easy walking distance of the cool waters of the Lake and available boat slips. All Bear Bottom guests can enjoy the resort pool and boat ramp as well as the endless hiking possibilities of the walking trails spread across 58 acres of woodlands. Bear Bottom also features comfortable cottages, a full-service restaurant and bar overlooking the Lake. And, during the warmer months, guests can enjoy live music on the weekends, boat rentals and two of the largest open flume body water slides in the state. For more information, visit www.BearBottomResort.com.
The Sycamore Tree House is one of five tree house cabins available at Cross Creek RV Park.
Cross Creek Campground and RV Park, located between Eldon and Lake Ozark, has twice been recognized as the mid-size park of the year by the Missouri Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. It's also one of the most unique campgrounds in Missouri featuring several tree house cabins for rent, secluded island for primitive camping, private eight-acre fishing lake, nine-hole miniature golf course, swimming pool, camp store and playground for the kids. In addition, other on-site activities include nature trails, hay rides, karaoke, sand volleyball and a Sunday morning worship service. For RVers, there are lakefront sites available and all sites offer full hook-ups and most feature 30- and 50-amp options. Cross Creek is situated on 70 pristine acres surrounded by hundreds of wooded acres, so it's a quiet and secluded escape offering a true back-to-nature camping experience. For more details, visit www.CrossCreekRVPark.com.
Younger guests at Majestic Oaks can enjoy a "train" ride around the property.
Majestic Oaks RV Park and Campground is set on 47 wooded acres just outside Lake Ozark. This park boasts some of the largest RV sites at the Lake, with large deluxe "Buddy Sites" that are popular with those traveling together in two RVs. For those who do not have an RV but have always wanted to stay in one, Majestic Oaks has a large, luxurious Jay Flight camper that guests can rent. The Jay Flight is a popular option, so guests are encouraged to call ahead to check on availability. Aside from the the RV spots, there also are cozy cabins and multiple primitive sites situated in a secluded hardwood forest complete with picnic tables and fire rings. The onsite amenities include a swimming pool, camp store, bath houses, playground, game room, volleyball and basketball courts, hiking trails and a pavilion perfect for groups and reunions. Majestic Oaks also hosts special events throughout the year. For rates, services and more information, visit www.MajesticOaksCampground.com.
Osage Beach RV Park was named one of the top Good Sam RV parks in the US by Trailer Life magazine.
Osage Beach RV Park, located in the heart of the Lake area, has been named one of the top Good Sam RV parks in the US by Trailer Life magazine. This clean and quiet park offers a variety of RV camping sites: long pull-through sites with 50-amp service as well as shaded back-in sites with 50- or 30-amp service. All sites are full service with water, electric, sewer, cable TV and free WiFi. In addition to RV sites, Osage Beach RV Park also features five cabins for rent, a swimming pool, playground, pavilion with tables and games, and horseshoe and shuffleboard courts. Throughout the summer season, the park also offers a non-denominational church service on Sundays for their guests. The park is walking distance from a golf course, shopping centers and restaurants. For complete details, visit www.OsageBeachRVPark.net.
Campers at Ozark Trails have their choice between RV sites, tent camping sites, log cabins or fully-furnished apartments. Ozark Trails RV Park and Campground is conveniently located in Linn Creek. Ozark Trails boasts a selection of spacious and shaded RV sites, primitive camping sites and a group tent camping area that is ideal for reunions and other large groups. For guests that don't own an RV or don't want to set up a tent, but still want an enjoyable campground experience, there are two new log cabins and three fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments available for rent. All guests can enjoy the use of the picnic tables, fire rings, public swimming pool, game room, playground, horseshoes and hiking trails. For more information on Ozark Trails, visit www.OzarkTrailsRVPark.com.
Riviera Villas and RV Resort features many top-of-the-line amenities, including a zero-entry saltwater swimming pool.Riviera Villas and RV Resort is the Lake's newest and most luxurious option for RVers. The Riviera grounds are situated just off the main channel of the Lake in a quiet, no-wake cove in Sunrise Beach. The park welcomes big rigs with sites up to 55 feet long by 30 feet wide. The spacious sites have concrete pads, fire pits, picnic tables and all have full hook-ups with water, sewer and 20-,
30-, 50-amp service. Amenities onsite include a zero-entry saltwater swimming pool, hot tub, fireplace, free WiFi, laundry, showers, sand volleyball, fishing docks, walking trails and more. For complete details on Riviera Villas and RV Resort, including villa rentals and RV rates, visit www.RivieraVillasRVResort.com.
Although all of the campgrounds and RV parks feature many amenities and activities, visitors would be doing themselves a great disservice if they didn't get out and explore all the Lake area has to offer. The Lake is home to some of the best fishing in the nation, two very popular and distinct state parks, four impressive show caves, 14 championship golf courses, a wine trail, over 200 restaurants, two waterparks, some of the best shopping in the state, lots of live music and plenty of special events throughout the year.
For a full list of campgrounds and RV parks, other lodging choices, as well as all the attractions and events available at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the nation, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the CVB's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS TRI-COUNTY LODGING ASSOCIATION & CONVENTION AND VISITOR BUREAU
Phone: 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) Fax: 573-348-2293
P.O. Box 1498 Osage Beach, MO 65065
Website:>www.FunLake.com Email: Info@FunLake.com
Enjoy Blue Skies, Blue Water at the Lake of the Ozarks
The Lake of the Ozarks is all about the color blue - blue water and blue skies. Whether seen from a boat or an aircraft, the Lake present's a mosaic of natural beauty for visitors. Lake area businesses provide easy access to this breathtaking panorama, offering plenty of options for cruising on and above the Lake.
Everything boaters need is available at the Lake of the Ozarks, from launch ramps to dockside dining. There are nine public access ramps at Bagnell Dam, Gravois Mills, Sunrise Beach, Lake of the Ozarks State Park and other locations. There are also launching ramps at the Lake's full-service commercial marinas. Many of these public and private sites offer gas and convenience items, and some charge a small fee. It's convenient for overnight visitors to the Lake to bring their boats, too. Many of the area's lodging facilities offer boat slips and boat ramps for guests' use.
WFO Watercraft Rentals is one of many marinas around the Lake of the Ozarks where visitors can rent their own boat. Travelers who don't have their own boats can enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks from the water by renting a speedboat, pontoon, fishing boat or personal watercraft at some of the area marinas, resorts and campgrounds. Rent by the hour, the day or longer and cruise along the main channel or explore the Lake's quiet coves.
For those who don't want to be "captains," it's still easy to cruise on the Lake. Several Lake of the Ozarks marinas offer charters. Visitors can choose when and how long they want to cruise, whether for a day-long Lake adventure or a romantic sunset trip.
The Tropic Island luxury yacht docks at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.
Daily scenic cruises on motor yachts such as the Celebration, as well as the paddlewheeler Tom Sawyer, offer a look at the Lake in the fresh air on deck or from climate-controlled comfort indoors. The Celebration offers lunch and dinner cruises each day, and all three vessels offer charter cruises for lunch or dinner, parties or special occassions. These trips include all the beauty of the Lake of the Ozarks, from million-dollar views to lavish million-dollar homes and other points of interest.
The Lake was recently named one of the top five destinations in the nation to dock and dine by Boating Magazine.
Whether they spend the day on the water or on the shore, Lake of the Ozarks visitors also can enjoy Lake views while they enjoy the area's great food. There's no need to leave the water to eat, since 60 of the Lake area's 200 restaurants feature waterfront dining. There are even water taxis to deliver diners to their favorite eateries and back.
Enjoying the sights of the Lake of the Ozarks from the water is just one way to see it, however. Many travelers say you haven't really seen the Lake until you see it from the sky.
Air Lake Aviation
The crew at Air Lake Aviation offers a birds-eye view of the blue waters of the Lake of the Ozarks and offers scenic flights over the Lake, taking off from the Camdenton Memorial Airport. A 30-minute plane ride takes you from Bagnell Dam to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, soaring above the quiet natural scenery of the Lake with boats skimming across the main channel or drifting quietly in one of the coves. The pilot narrates these tours, describing all the sights of the Lake, which passengers hear through headsets. The high wing design of the plane makes for great picture-taking, so cameras are a must. Flights are booked by appointment only at 888-759-2311 or www.AirLakeAviation.com/Scenic_Flights.
Lake Ozark Helicopters, Inc. offers a unique way to take in the scenery at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Lake Ozark Helicopters, Inc. will take you up for an aerial look at the Lake, a romantic sunset flight, a view high above one of the area's many events, or just a "Shorty Hop" along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip. Daytime flights are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day without reservations, departing from their convenient location at the intersection of Bagnell Dam Boulevard and Horseshoe Bend Parkway. Headsets keep passengers in contact with one another and the pilot. The copters provide unobstructed views for aerial photos. Passengers can request photos be taken with their pilot after the flight. Learn more about this fun way to see the Lake by calling 573-302-0022 or visiting www.LakeOzarkHelicopters.com.
Whether they choose an on-the-water view, a bird's-eye view or a view from in-between at one of the many scenic overlooks in the surrounding bluffs, visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks are certain to be captivated by its beauty and enthralled by its many wonderful activities. To learn more about the Lake and all it has to offer, visit www.FunLake.com.
For more information about the Lake of the Ozark's many activities and attractions, as well as lodging and dining options, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit www.FunLake.com.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS TRI-COUNTY LODGING ASSOCIATION & CONVENTION AND VISITOR BUREAU
Phone: 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) Fax: 573-348-4292 P.O. Box 1498 Osage Beach, MO 65065
Website: www.FunLake.com Email: <mailto:Info@FunLake.com>Info@FunLake.com
Put Spring Into Your Step
Exploring Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of the many ways to enjoy the natural beauty of spring at the Lake of the Ozarks. Spring is the gentlest season at the Lake of the Ozarks. The trees on the limestone bluffs are colored by the quiet green of their new buds, splashed with the pastel colors of spring - pink and white dogwoods, lavender and fuchsia redbuds and the occasional yellow spark of a forsythia. While the Lake is beautiful in all seasons, she is dressed in her finest in the spring. Hiking the trails in Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka state parks is the perfect way to enjoy the season. Whether the itinerary includes a leisurely stroll to the ruins of the Ha Ha Tonka castle or a multi-mile hike through shoreline hills and bluffs, hikers will enjoy the Lake's natural (and man-made) wonders. For more information, visit www.mostateparks.com.
Hit the Links ...
Osage National Golf Resort in Lake Ozark is one of the 13 courses along the award-winning Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail. The Golf Trail is a springtime favorite for golfers from around the country. Spring makes the greens and fairways at the Lake's golf courses greener than ever. The Lake of the Ozarks has 15 beautiful courses carved into its rugged bluffs and forested hills, crafted by some of the sport's best designers, including Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Tom Weiskopf, Floyd Farley, Ken Kavanaugh, Jack Nicklaus, Bruce Devlin and Robert Van Hagge. Thirteen of those courses make up the Lake of the Ozarks
Golf Trail, teaming with 11 lodging partners to offer unbeatable stay-and-play packages. For more information about these championship courses, as well as money-saving packages, call 800-490-8474 or visit www.GolfattheLake.net.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry ...
Shorty Pants Lounge is just one of many Lake-area restaurants that offer dockside dining. Outdoor dining is a specialty at the Lake of the Ozarks, too. The Lake was named by Boating Magazine as one of the top-five destinations in the country to "dock and dine" because, out of the 200-plus restaurants in the area, sixty offer dockside dining. Many more offer outdoor patios to enjoy the warm spring sunshine. Whatever type of cuisine you are looking for - American, Mexican, barbecue, seafood and more - can be found around the Lake. In addition, the area's six wineries offer delicious food and vineyard views, along with wine tastings. For more information about dining at the Lake, get a dining guide at www.FunLake.com.
Let Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks serve as your vacation headquarters this year and you'll discover an exciting, family-oriented destination where children and parents can enjoy making lifelong memories together.
The Lake area has your family amusement plans covered with arcades, mini golf, go-karts, water parks, laser tag, parasailing and the best fishing spots, all within minutes of one another. Here are just a few of the fun spots and attractions for fun-seeking families who travel at the Lake:
Miner Mike's and Buster's Adventure Town is a 35,000 square foot arcade wonderland of rides, games
and food. Miner Mike's features bumper cars, a two-story high Ferris wheel, an indoor roller coaster, and a large indoor playground area with a maze, a ball pit and slides. Buster's has over a million dollars worth of the latest video games, ticket games and high-tech simulators, as well as an Old West-themed restaurant featuring a variety of appetizers, Angus burgers and pizza. For more information about Miner Mike's and Buster's Adventure Town, call 1-800-317-2126.
The Lake of the Ozarks boasts two water parks for families that love the thrill of splashing around, indoors or out. Big Surf Waterpark (954 State Road Y) in Linn Creek is an outdoor park that features Zambezi Falls (a four-story waterslide), The Rapids (a white-water slide), the Space Bowl (a slide into a 30-foot bowl), Challenge Flumes, a lazy river, Wave Pool, sand pits and Splash Island - a special play area designed for kids age 6 and younger. Big Surf is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. For more information about Big Surf, call 573-346-6111.
For aquatic fun indoors, try Timber Falls Waterpark at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. This water park is famous for the Ozark Wilderness Treehouse, a woodland themed play area complete with water blasters and a six-foot-wide bucket that spills out over 600 gallons of water each minute. Timber Falls also has over 600 feet of slides, a lazy river, a 21-seat whirlpool and an activity pool with basketball and other games. For ticket information, call 573-302-5024.
Lazer Force Lazer Tag Zone (5473 Osage Beach Pkwy. in Osage Beach) lets the whole family step into a live sci-fi role-playing game complete with laser pistols, fog, flashing lights, cover spots and heart-pounding action music. As many as 24 players can join in this game of tag played with laser lights. Everyone plays the whole game and a detailed scoreboard and scorecard tells you who you tagged, who tagged you and how well you and your team did. It's just like paintball but without the paint. To find out more about Lazer Force, call 573-348-2222.
With over 1,150 miles of shoreline, the Lake of the Ozarks is a family fishing paradise. Whether you fish from the dock, cast a line from a boat or just want to try your luck from the shore, you'll find an ideal fishing spot at the Lake. And when you find that perfect place to cast, you'll reel in a variety of fish, too. Depending on the time of year and the weather, you'll find species of bass, crappie, striper, paddlefish, catfish, drum, muskie and walleye at the Lake. Another fun and family-friendly option is to hire a local Coast Guard certified fishing guide - they know the best fishing spots and they can teach the kids how to bait a hook, how to fish and teach them about boating safety. Learn more about fishing at the Lake by calling 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau online at FunLake.com.
Family fun is free at the Lake area's two state parks - Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Lake of the Ozarks State Park has over 17,441 acres and is the largest state park in Missouri. The park has 13 diverse trails, including two horseback riding trails. Families can bring their own horses or can rent them from the Ozark Homestead Riding Stables inside the park. Lake of the Ozarks State Park also has two sandy beach swimming areas, fishing, opportunities for various water sports, two marinas and tours of Ozark Caverns. Ha Ha Tonka State Park's 3,709 acres houses the ruins of an early 20th century "castle," 14 trails, eight caves, a 500-foot wide sinkhole, a 60-foot long natural bridge and a glade and woodland area with over 400 species of plants and animals. Both parks also have much more to offer, including interpretive programs during the summer months featuring a wide variety of nature topics. For more on these state parks, visit MoStateParks.com.
Mini golf is a sure-fire hole-in-one at the Lake of the Ozarks with the Putt 'n Stuff Family Fun Center in Osage Beach and Sugar Creek Mini Golf in Lake Ozark. Putt 'n Stuff has 36 holes of mini golf with caves, waterfalls and rapid rivers. Putt 'n Stuff also has bumper cars and go-karts. To find out more about pricing and season schedules, call 573-348-2127. Sugar Creek has two 18-hole mini golf courses set in a woodland park, complete with natural creeks, waterwheels, mills and waterfalls. Call Sugar Creek Mini Golf at 573-365-2226 for more details about pricing and seasonal schedules.
There's much more for a fun-seeking family to do at the Lake, so you'll definitely want to reserve lodging at an area resort, hotel, motel, condominium, bed and breakfast, RV park or campground. For a full list of these properties or for more entertainment ideas, visit FunLake.com or call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
For more information contact Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association & Convention and Visitor Bureau, 1-800-Fun-Lake (386-5253); Fax 573-348-4292, or write - P.O. Box 1498, Osage Beach, MO 65065. Website: www.FunLake.com or e-mail: Info@FunLake.com.
Festivals, Fairs And Special Events Assure Year-Round Fun At Central Missouri's Lake Of The Ozarks
The Lake of the Ozarks Boredom Beaters
There's a reason the Lake of the Ozarks is Missouri's "fun lake" and favorite vacation destination: there is never a dull moment. "We're very fortunate to offer our visitors such a wide variety of family-oriented, fun-filled festivals and events throughout the year," says Jim Divincen, executive director of the Tri-County Lodging Association. "Our events, combined with our convenient central location and so many fun recreational options, continue to be primary reasons that visitors choose the Lake of the Ozarks as their family vacation destination." With a calendar packed with an impressive number of interesting, entertaining and unique fairs and festivals, there is always something for you and the whole family to enjoy.
TAKE A HIKE...
How about mixing your love of nature and autumn leaves with a light exercise routine? Take advantage of one of the many hiking trails at one or both of the Lake of the Ozarks' two state parks - Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Lake of the Ozarks State Park, the largest state park in Missouri, sports over 17,000 stunning scenic acres and twelve hiking trails. Scenic Ha Ha Tonka State Park is known for its 14 different hiking trails and its magnificent castle ruins. These State Park trails guide hikers through a variety of sights - including vast Missouri woodlands, bluff tops, flowing streams, glades, various wildlife and gorgeous views of the sparkling Lake of the Ozarks.
A list of these state park trails, along with trail descriptions and trail distance, can be found at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park website and at the Ha Ha Tonka State Park website. Guidebooks and maps for these trails can usually be found at the park office or are located at the trailheads. For more information about these trails and the state parks, please call the Lake of the Ozarks State Park office at 573-348-2694 or the Ha Ha Tonka State Park office at 573-346-2986.
A LURE TO THE LAKE...
Fishing on a boat in the middle of the pristine waters of the Lake of the Ozarks, surrounded by all of nature's handy work, can provide a type of tranquility that money can't buy. Of course, actually landing a few trophy bass with your trusty rod and reel makes the trip that much more enjoyable and peaceful. And according to John Neporadny, accomplished fisherman and author of THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide, the fall is an outstanding time to hook a haul of fish at the Lake. "The fall colors and cooler weather makes autumn one of the most enjoyable seasons to fish Lake of the Ozarks," said Neporadny. "The fish are in a fall feeding frenzy in preparation for winter. Bass, crappie and white bass are all ganging up on schools of shad then and will readily bite on a variety of baits."
For Missouri fishing regulations and fishing reports please visit TakeMeFishing.org or the Missouri Department of Conservation website. You can find out more about author and outdoorsman John Neporadny on the web at www.jnoutdoors.com.
HIT THE BACK NINE ONE MORE TIME...
Call up your golfing buddies and make an autumn trip to the Lake of the Ozarks for a round or two of golf. Enjoy fewer crowds and lower rates on the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail at 13 challenging courses and 10 fabulous lodging properties. It's as simple as visiting GolfingMissouri.com and booking a Golf Trail Getaway Package. With a Golf Trail Getaway Package you can book your guaranteed tee times and lodging at a price that's much less than booking lodging and golf separately. You can also call 800-490-8474 for more information about the Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail and Getaway Packages.
Castle Ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
Start with the natural splendor of the area's two state parks - Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Both parks offer miles of picturesque trails for hiking or bicycling. And for those looking for an adventure on the water, both parks have plenty of lake access for swimming, boating or jet skiing. Boaters can even follow an aquatic trail marked by buoys at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, then come ashore for a guided, lantern-light tour of Ozark Caverns. Meanwhile, Ha Ha Tonka offers guests a chance to view castle ruins, sinkholes and a natural bridge. After exploring the state parks, visitors can check out the 80-foot fire tower, nature displays and various demonstrations at the Thunder Mountain Conservation Area. History is spotlighted at the area's three museums - the Camden County Museum, and the Willmore Lodge Museum and Dam Overlook. For more information on these and other entertaining, free activities, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau's "10 Free Things to Do" web page or call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
Camping at the Lake? It's a "Natural"
Cross Creek RV Park in Osage Beach.
Camping can be a challenge for those who might not have earned a chest full of Boy Scouts merit badges. So here are a couple of tips to help enjoy your visit with Mother Nature:
To avoid unwanted wild animal visits to your campsite, store food away from your living area - in your car, your RV or in tightly sealed coolers or canisters. Never store food in your tent. Most animals have a keen sense of smell and can do serious damage to camping gear. No one expects to get hurt, but it's always good to emulate the Boy Scouts and "be prepared." Bring a first aid kit complete with bandages, gauze pads, tape, tweezers, antiseptic cream, insect-repellant spray, burn cream, sun block, hydrogen peroxide and a first aid manual.
Camping Paradise in Roach
With good camping advice in hand, it's time to hit the campgrounds. Whether you're a hardy nature-lover with only a tent and sleeping bag or an RV traveler with every technological comfort close by, the Lake of the Ozarks area can accommodate you and your camping family. There are over 20 varied campground and RV park options to choose from around the Lake. For more information or for an RV and campground directory, visit FunLake.com or call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
Horsing Around the Area
Ozark Homestead Riding Stables.
If you've had enough of hectic city life, serenity can be found at the Lake of the Ozarks on horseback. The rhythmic sounds of hooves on a peaceful, meandering wooded trail is a fun way to unwind and riding is a great way to take in the sights around the Lake. There are plenty of horseback riding options for veteran riders and rookies alike in the Lake of the Ozarks area, whether visitors want to saddle up a "rental" mount or bring their own horses. Among the local businesses offering horseback rides are Camping Paradise (Roach),
Hayburner Ranch (Camdenton) and Ozark Homestead Riding Stables (Lake of the Ozarks State Park). Most horseback trail rides are very affordable and charge as little as $20 for a 20-minute ride and $30 for an hour ride. To schedule a ride, call Camping Paradise at 573-346-8440, Hayburner Ranch at 573-346-8440 or Ozark Homestead Riding Stables at 573-348-6670. For more information on horseback riding in the Lake of the Ozarks area, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit FunLake.com.
Mothers' Shrine in Laurie.
Take the time to visit to Mothers' Shrine in Laurie. The world's only religious shrine dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other mothers worldwide. The Mothers' Shrine is the world's only religious shrine dedicated to Mary and centers on a revolving, 14-foot stainless steel statue of Mary in a huge outdoor amphitheater. She watches over the Mothers' Wall of Life, featuring the names of more than 2,000 mothers from all around the world, engraved in gleaming black granite. More than 25,000 colorful flowers are usually in full bloom by April and create a display that is a feast for the eyes. Admission is absolutely free. For more information, please call Rose at 573-374-MARY (6279).
What to See & Do
Route 66 Museum & Research Center
While you're in Lebanon , be sure to schedule a visit to the Route 66 Museum & Research Center at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, located at 915 S. Jefferson. Visitors to the museum will get pulled back into time with tons of relics from the highway's legendary history. A classic 1957 Chevy and replicas of a 1950s motel room and café are all included in the exhibit. For true history buffs, there's also a Route 66 research area with books and reference materials about "The Mother Road." The museum is designed for self-guided tours and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Friday and Saturday of Summer Blast. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
For more information , please call the Lebanon Convention and Visitors Bureau (located in the Kenneth E. Cowan Civic Center) at 866-532-2666 or visit LebanonMo.org.
Lebanon offers a busy lineup of festivals and activities in and around Lebanon. Following are just a few events you won't want to miss:
Lebanon Art Guild
will have its second annual Art in Bloom festival at Marilyn's Nursery and Garden Center, 27081 Highway 5. Art in Bloom hours will be 12-6 p.m. on both days. The event features an art show, hands-on art instruction from talented local artists, music, poetry, an art auction and children's projects. Admission to this festival is free. Donations are accepted and are tax deductible. All proceeds benefit the Lebanon Art Guild. Please contact the Lebanon Art Guild for more information at 417-532-1895.
From the great outdoors to the great indoors, Lebanon offers the experienced traveler a wide variety of choices. Fishing, hiking, hunting, concerts, shows, pieces of America's storied history and much more all can be found in the Lebanon area.
Get More Than "Kicks" on Historic Route 66
From the historic Munger Moss Motel to Mr. C's Route Post to the Route 66 Museum and Research Center, if you are a fan of nostalgia, you'll love Lebanon - home to a section of America's Main Street, Route 66.
Thousands of visitors come from all over the world to drive on the famous highway and soak up the history of "The Mother Road." Nat King Cole immortalized the highway in song, telling travelers to "get your kicks on Route 66," and the highway was featured in the popular 1960s TV series, Route 66.
The Munger Moss Motel is celebrating its 66th birthday this year and is a living snapshot for guests wanting to take a trip back in time. Celebrate this anniversary of the motel and stay in its Route 66 themed rooms or come by after dark to check out the motel's classic neon sign in full glow. For more about the Munger Moss, contact owner/operator Ramona Lehman at 417-532-3111.
The Route 66 Museum and Research Center is a fascinating 3,500-square foot facility inside the Laclede County Library at 915 S. Jefferson. The museum features Route 66 memorabilia, a rotating exhibit of antique cars, and replicas of a Depression-era gas station, a 1950s motel room and diner. The free attraction is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information about the Route 66 Museum, call curator Mark Spangler at 417-533-7667.
Don't leave Lebanon without a stop at Mr. C's Route Post (24200 E. Route 66) for a Route 66 souvenir and one of the store's refreshing hometown-bottled Route 66 sodas. The store has an eclectic selection of Route 66 items, from T-shirts to money clips, and a variety of other merchandise. For more information, contact owner/operator Scott Cameron at 417-588-4466 or visit 66RoutePost.com.
Cast Yourself in a Fishing Story
Trout, bass, crappie, catfish and perch all can be found in the waters in and around Lebanon. Fishermen enjoy reeling in the big ones from the Niangua River, the Gasconade River, Osage Fork, and many privately-owned fishing lakes in the area.
Bennett Spring State Park, one of Missouri's favorite and oldest state parks, is a trout fisherman's haven, with campgrounds and cabins, as well as a rustic dining lodge with delicious dishes and a friendly staff. Bennett Spring's park store has everything you need on your fishing trip, including souvenirs, rods and reels, waders and flies. The celebrated Jim Rogers Fly Fishing School is here, with instructors who can offer fly fishing
tips to anglers of all skill levels. For park lodging and information on the fly-fishing school, contact Bennett Spring State Park at 417-532-4307.
For more information about Lebanon-area fishing and area waters, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation online at mdc.mo.gov/fishing.
Looking to book a getaway for you or your family? Want to know about a festival or event in or around Lebanon? For more information about lodging, dining, shopping, events and attractions throughout the Lebanon area, contact the City of Lebanon's Department of Tourism at 866-LEBANON (532-2666) or visit LebanonMo.org.
City of Lebanon's Department of Tourism
Kenneth E. Cowan Civic Center, 500 E. Elm St.
Lebanon, Missouri 65536
Phone: 1-866-LEBANON (532-2666)
What to See & Do
Free museums and historical sites in Springfield, Missouri, will provide entertainment for hours without busting your budget. Some are well known while others are quirky and off the beaten path, and they all are worth exploring.
Archery Hall of Fame
This 3,500-square-foot facility has a collection of some of the most unique memorabilia depicting archery history available anywhere in the world. The collection includes a bow made by Geronimo, an Apache leader and medicine man.
Inside Bass Pro Shops® Outdoor World®, 1935 S. Campbell Ave. Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Battle of Springfield Tour
A self-guided tour in downtown Springfield explores the January 1863 Battle of Springfield. Twelve markers placed throughout the battleground commemorate where defenses were organized, troops gathered supplies, injured soldiers were hospitalized and homes burned.
The Calaboose is a fascinating glimpse into Springfield’s history. Built in 1891 as a jail, this federally recognized historical restoration returns the structure to use as a police substation with a police museum on the first floor. 409 W. McDaniel St. www.springfieldmo.gov/591/The-Calaboose
Tours are available by appointment most weekdays. Call 417-864-1810 to schedule.
Typically open 6-9 p.m. during First Friday Art Walk the first Friday of each month through the summer and fall. The public is welcome to visit then with no appointment.
Creamery Arts Center
A variety of rotating exhibits of fine art are on display throughout the year. You’ll also want to check out the adjacent Jordan Valley Park where permanent sculptures are on display. 411 N. Sherman Parkway
9 a.m.-5 p.m. www.springfieldarts.org/exhibitions
Dr. Michael J. Clarke History Museum of Ozarks Scouting
Check out uniforms and other scouting memorabilia in displays that are rotated quarterly at the only Boy Scout Museum in Missouri. There is also a nice walking trail to enjoy.
Inside the Clarence and Edna Wheeler Scout Service Center, 1616 S. Eastgate Ave.
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday ozarktrailsbsa.org/about/museum-of-scouting
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Museum
Exhibits display the challenges, blessings and development of the Assemblies of God church.
Inside Assemblies of God National Headquarters, 1445 N. Boonville Ave.
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Explore Springfield’s first 100 years of history in photos on display at Founders Park, located downtown near where the city got its start. 330 E. Water St. 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
History of Hearing Museum
Marvel at the hearing assistance devices from yesteryear and enjoy full displays with an expert curator on staff for an informative experience.
Inside Midwest Hearing Aid, 628 E. Commercial St. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday
Lew's Ozark Fishing Museum
See the historic beginnings of rod and reel entrepreneur Lew Childre and legendary Ozarks White River fishing guide J. D. Fletcher who established the Devil’s Dive Resort on Table Rock Lake.
Inside Sportsmans Factory Outlet, 3031 N. Martin Ave. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Missouri Institute of Natural Science - Riverbluff Cave
The museum has a plethora of fossils and minerals from around the world along with fossils from Riverbluff Cave. It’s a fascinating look into the history of the Ozarks and prehistoric life.
2327 W. Farm Road 190
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday www.monatsci.org
NRA® National Sporting Arms Museum
Nearly 1,000 firearms that trace the history of hunting, conservation and freedom are on display. The collection includes firearms owned by Theodore Roosevelt, Presidents Grover Cleveland and Dwight D. Eisenhower, King James, Napoleon Bonaparte, Annie Oakley and others. Upper floor exhibits include guns used in movies and TV shows by actors such as Tom Selleck, John Wayne and Charlton Heston.
Inside Bass Pro Shops® Outdoor World®, 1935 S. Campbell Ave. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Railroad Historical Museum, Inc.
Kids can ring the bell and explore the cab of the Frisco 4524 locomotive, the Burlington Baggage Car, the Chicago Northwestern Commuter Car and the Burlington Northern Caboose.
In Grant Beach Park, 1300 N. Grant St. 2-4 p.m. Saturday May-October
Sculpture Walk Springfield
An art museum without walls with access to all is what you’ll find in this display of quality sculptures in public places in Springfield on an annually rotating schedule. Explore on your own or schedule a guided tour, including groups on The Trolley Bike.
Downtown Springfield Each collection is in place from April-February
Springfield Art Museum
The permanent home for nearly 11,000 art objects representing thousands of years of culture, the museum features changing exhibits and special collections such as19th-, 20th- and 21st-century American paintings, watercolor, sculpture and prints. 1111 E. Brookside Dr.
1-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Enjoy nature exhibits, attend programs, browse through a nature-related gift shop and pick up free conservation brochures. Outdoors, enjoy three miles of hiking trails through a variety of natural communities where you’ll see a variety of wildlife native to Missouri. 4601 S. Nature Center Way
Building: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday March-October; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday November-February
Trails: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. March-October, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. November-February
Springfield Fire Department Museum
Check out the history and heritage of the Springfield Fire Department from 1867 to present. Explore art, tools and equipment, uniforms, badges and fire alarm boxes used by the department and learn about fire safety and prevention. An extensive photographic and document archive is available.
Inside Historic City Hall, 830 Boonville Ave.
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Springfield Softball Hall of Fame Museum
Operated by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, this museum features the Springfield and Missouri Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame with displays dating from the 1920s, including state, regional and national tournaments; Sister City Isesaki, Japan, uniforms; trophies; photos and much more.
Inside the Roger G. Killian Sports Complex, 2141 E. Pythian St.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Visitor Center and Civil War Library
With about 6,000 volumes, the library at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield has one of the largest collections of bound volumes on the Civil War in the National Parks Service. The Visitor Center features a film and educational displays about the Civil War. 6424 W. Farm Road 182 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
These are just a sample of free things to see and do in Springfield. For more, call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-678-8767 and visit www.SpringfieldMo.org.
The “2018 Official Springfield Area Visitors Guide” is now available from the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The 165-page, four-color book is filled with information about things to see and do, places to eat and shop, lodging, events, history and more. The free guide is mailed to people who request information about the city, at conventions and events taking place in Springfield, at the CVB’s two tourist information centers and state information centers and through other outlets.
The bureau also published the “Passport to Family Fun,” a coupon book that will be available for free distribution in February.
Information contained within both books also is available online at www.SpringfieldMo.org.
To learn more about Springfield or to order a free Visitors Guide, call 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit www.SpringfieldMo.org.
NRA National Sporting Arms Museum open at Bass Pro Shops' national headquarters store in Springfield
The museum, home to more than a thousand firearms, focuses on the history of hunting, conservation and freedom. The National Sporting Arms Museum is the result of a partnership between Bass Pro Shops and the NRA. Bass Pro Shops helped create the museum by donating the space and designing and building the 7,500-square-foot museum while NRA provided the firearms, text and storylines for the exhibits. The result of these partnership contributions means that admission is free for museum visitors.
“This museum was born of the generosity and vision of Johnny Morris working with Wayne LaPierre and with the help of Richard Childress, beginning years ago,” said NRA museum director Jim Supica. “I am extremely proud to be associated with this museum and with the team who put it together, from the construction crew, store managers and amazingly talented graphics, layout and visualization team to the NRA staff who worked on the design and installation.”
Visitors can see this one-of-a-kind collection by visiting the NRA National Sporting Arms museum, which is located at 1935 S. Campbell in Springfield, Mo. The museum will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information about the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, visit www.basspro.com/nramuseum.
About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 77 retail stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 116 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops’ stores, many of which feature restaurants, offer hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group®, which has produced the number one selling brand of fishing boats for more than 35 years, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops’ resort Big Cedar Lodge®, voted number six by Travel + Leisure Magazine as World's Best Hotels for Families. For more information, visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO.
About the National Rifle Association
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Five million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and is the leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. For more on the NRA, visit their website atprograms.nra.org
Visitor numbers at the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum in Springfield, Mo., top a quarter million
NRA National Sporting Arms Museum features 16 original works of sporting and wildlife art on loan from Remington Outdoor Company
Famous works of sporting and wildlife art and historical firearms on loan from Remington Outdoor Company are now on display at the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum. The 7,500-square-foot museum, which traces the evolution of hunting, conservation and freedom, is located at Bass Pro Shops flagship superstore in Springfield, Missouri.
Museum visitors can see 16 original oil paintings by America's foremost outdoor artists from the last hundred years. Many of these paintings were used in Remington advertisements and their popular calendars and later displayed throughout the company’s facilities. In those early days, few would have guessed that many of those artists would become icons to later generations and thus some works of art were lost or destroyed. However, in the 1960s, a rescue mission recovered and restored many of these masterpieces. Today, the Remington Art Collection includes over 400 original works of art and is believed to be the largest collection of sporting and wildlife art in the world.
Remington has generously loaned the following restored original oil paintings to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum:
In addition to the works of art, Remington has also loaned the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum one-of-a-kind prototypes, historic arms, masterpieces of engraving, factory cutaways, and milestone guns.
The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum traces the development of hunting arms in America from pre-colonial times to the present. Visitors can expect to see over a thousand historically significant firearms including firearms owned by U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the flintlock fowlers of English kings, and the guns of Annie Oakley. In addition, a series of meticulously constructed dioramas provide a window into the evolution of America’s outdoor heritage.
The museum, which is a product of a NRA and Bass Pro Shops partnership, is popular with those visiting the “Grandaddy of all Outdoor Stores” in Springfield, Missouri. Since it opened Aug. 2, 2013, more than 550,000 people have taken this fascinating walk through history.
Visitors can see this one-of-a-kind collection by visiting the NRA National Sporting Arms museum, which is located at 1935 S. Campbell in Springfield, Missouri. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information about the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, visit nramuseum.com/.
About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 90 retail stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 120 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops stores, many of which feature restaurants, offer hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® (www.trackermarine.com/), a leading brand of fishing boats for more than 36 years, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops resort Big Cedar Lodge® (www.bigcedar.com/) voted number six by Travel + Leisure Magazine as World's Best Hotels for Families. For more information, visit www.basspro.com/. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO. Followon Facebook at www.facebook.com/bassproshops.
About the National Rifle Association
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Five million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and is the leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. For more on the NRA, visit their website at NRA.org.
About Remington Outdoor Company
ROC, headquartered in Madison, N.C., designs products for the hunting, shooting, self-defense, military, and law enforcement markets. Founded in 1816, ROC is the nation’s oldest gun maker and one of the largest domestic producers of firearms and ammunition. ROC employs over 3,500 people and distributes its products throughout the U.S. and over 55 countries. ROC includes globally recognized brands such as Remington®, Remington 1816®, Bushmaster®, DPMS®, Marlin®, H&R®, Mountain Khakis®, Advanced Armament Corp. ®, Dakota® Nesika®, Storm Lake® and Barnes® Bullets. More information about the Company can be found at www.remington.com. Follow Remington also at remingtonarmscompany>Facebook • RemingtonArms>Twitter • remington/posts>Google+
Museum goers flock to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, located at Bass Pro Shops, to see sporting arms that trace the history of hunting, conservation and freedom.
Since it first opened its doors last summer, the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at the Bass Pro Shops flagship superstore in Springfield, Mo. has attracted more than 263,200 guests with its impressive collection of sporting arms. Not only do individuals visit the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, but it’s become a popular destination for groups as well. Recently, approximately 50 members of the National Congress of Old West Shootists visited the museum as part of their national convention. Post conference surveys showed the tour of the museum was a conference highlight for the attendees, who hailed from 10 states.
The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum houses an important collection including the firearms owned by U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the flintlock fowlers of English kings, guns of Annie Oakley as well as dioramas that trace the evolution of hunting, conservation and
freedom. In total, the museum features more than a thousand sporting arms from the 1600s to modern day.
While all artifacts at the museum are incredible, the docents have noticed some displays are extremely popular with visitors. The following lists highlight museum guests’ favorite exhibits.
Top Large-Exhibit Cases
1. U.S. Martial Pistols
2. Timeline of American Sporting Arms
3. 21 Gun Salute to the American Armed Forces (2nd Amendment Gallery flag case)
4. Pachmayr Foundation Collection of Exceptional Custom Arms
5. Remington Factory Collection
Top Individual Artifacts
1. Girardoni Air Rifle, as used by Lewis & Clark
2. Holland & Holland .700 Nitro Express
3. Napoleon’s Flintlock Fowler
4. Tom Selleck’s Quigley Sharps
5. John Wayne’s Colt
Top Jewel Case Exhibits (smaller cases that highlight significant artifacts)
1. Napoleon’s Flintlock Fowler
2. .700 Holland & Holland Nitro Express
3. & 4. (Tie) Lawmen & Outlaws of the Old West; .600 Holland & Holland Nitro Express
5. Annie Oakley firearms
The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum had its beginnings when Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, visited the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va. Awed by the collection, Morris wanted to bring this artistry and history of sporting arms to the heartland of America where millions more people could see it. Sharing the museum’s artifacts with a wider audience was a goal NRA was happy to embrace. With a commitment to sharing sporting arms history, Bass Pro Shops offered its resources to help create the National Sporting Arms Museum. Bass Pro Shops donated the space and designed and built the 7,500-square-foot museum while NRA provided the firearms, text and storylines for the exhibits.
Visitors can see this one-of-a-kind collection by visiting the NRA National Sporting Arms museum, which is located at 1935 S. Campbell in Springfield, Mo. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information about the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, visit www.basspro.com/nramuseum or nramuseum.com/.
Location: Staircase entrance to the Museum The NRA National Sporting Arms museum is located at Bass Pro Shops flagship superstore in Springfield, Mo. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free.
Wonders of Wildlife Begins Major Renovation & Expansion
Wonders of Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Museum, is moving forward with major expansion and renovation to the museum and aquarium, now in its sixth year.
The expansion will enhance the visitor experience with more water features and live animals, a new atrium/ticket space connecting the museum to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and an all-new Wildlife Galleries. The renovations will allow visitors to see the Wildlife Galleries at Bass Pro and the WOW Museum & Aquarium in one experience. Wonders of Wildlife has been operating the Wildlife Galleries for several years and the expansion brings both parts of the museum together.
Flanking the Aquarium will be a large reflecting pool that will set the stage for the visitor experience. The new entrance will allow the Wonders of Wildlife attraction to expand the useable exhibit space and animal collection, bringing the overall facility to more than 150,000 square feet. The current facility is 92,000 square feet.
The renovation and construction is moving forward with an aggressive schedule. WOW could be closed for up to six months during construction.
For more information about Springfield, visit www.SpringfieldAdventures.com or call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-678-8767.
Where to Stay
Hotel Vandivort was named the 2016 Boutique Hotel of the Year by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Assoc. The owners of the upscale boutique hotel and restaurant were honored to receive the national award signifying the highest quality of amenities and guest dining and lodging experience within the hotel industry.
“We are thrilled to have Springfield and Hotel Vandivort recognized on this prestigious national stage,” said co-owner Billy McQueary. “It’s an honor that our passion project can be a point of pride for our city, and hopefully, an inspiration for the continued revitalization and development of downtown’s cultural renaissance.
JP Roberts, general manager at Hotel Vandivort, said the award wouldn’t have been received if not for dedicated staff and visionary owners.
“On behalf of Hotel Vandivort, we are truly grateful for being recognized at the BLLA conference with the 2016 Boutique Hotel of the Year designation," Roberts said. "Given the distinguished competition that was up for this award, we are beyond humbled that we are able to bring this back to Springfield, Missouri.
“We would be remiss if we didn’t thank all of our extremely talented, dedicated associates that share our passion and vision when they come into work day in and day out and give it everything they have. This award is truly a result of what can be achieved, regardless of location, when you have passionate visionaries for owners, and an incredibly talented, dedicate group of associates.”
Susan Wade, public relations manager for the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau said Hotel Vandivort is deserving of the award, noting the hotel achieved a Four-Diamond distinction three months after it opened in July 2015. “Hotel Vandivort is an innovator in the hospitality industry,” Wade said. “Our community is honored the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Assoc. is giving it the recognition it deserves.”
The BLLA awards recognize innovators in the hospitality industry who are moving the boutique lodging niche forward. The organization is the world's leader in independent boutique and lifestyle hotels and has over 750 members from around the world.
The award was presented to Hotel Vandivort at BLLA’s Leadership Symposium in October in West Hollywood, California. Previous award recipients include the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, A Destination Luxury Hotel, in Kirkland, Washington.
A complete restoration of the 1906 Masonic Temple at 305 E. Walnut St. in downtown Springfield, the Hotel Vandivort and its restaurant, The Order, are a cultural hub and gathering place for area residents as well as an upscale lodging option for visitors. The property offers 50 well-appointed guest rooms, including three suites, two high-tech meeting rooms and the spacious Vandivort Ballroom.
The building is on track to receive a LEED Gold certification in recognition of its environmentally conscious design. Its décor is a contemporary take on a vintage, industrial space with comfortable gathering places in the open-concept lobby and restaurant.
The hotel is conveniently located near many of downtown Springfield’s businesses, universities and visitor attractions.
Learn more about Hotel Vandivort at www.hotelvandivort.com. Hotel Vandivort is managed by IDM Hospitality Management. IDM was founded in 1999 and specializes in hotel management and development for planned and existing properties with an emphasis on independent and boutique hotels. For more on IDM, visit www.idmhospitality.com.
For more information about Springfield, visit www.SpringfieldMO.org or call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-678-8767.
To find out more about the numerous shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions in St. Louis, visit www.explorestlouis.com.
What to See & Do
St. Louis…chock full o’ family-friendly things to see and do! Here’s a list of extra special events and activities geared to families who are looking for some new and different ways to have fun at some of St. Louis’ most kid-friendly attractions this spring and summer.
Six Flags St.Louis
(www.sixflags.com) may be turning 40 this year, but they still know how to entertain their inner child. They’re turning up their scream-o-meter this spring with the addition of SkyScreamer, a tower ride that’s guaranteed to take your breath away. The ride, which holds 32 guests at a time, features two open air swings that climb to the top of the SkyScreamer tower while spinning around and around. Brave souls who ride the new thrill ride will end up more than 230-feet into the air as they are swung around in a 98-foot circle at speeds more than 40 miles per hour.
The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum
(<www.magichouse.org) can experience a whole new brand of wonder. “Alice's Wonderland” is an interactive exhibit based on Lewis Carroll's classic book “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.” The exhibit helps pique kids’ curiosity about subjects like math and science as they work through more than 2,500 square feet of hands-on experiences and meet characters from the book, and re-live some of Alice's extraordinary adventures. Kids take a trip down the rabbit hole and “fall” into a world filled with wonder and curiosities that includes exploring shadows in the Pool of Tears, experiencing optical illusions in the Hall of Doors, and learning about animation at a Caucus Race. They’ll serve up fractions at a Mad Tea Party, manipulate time with a Crazy Clock, discover the art of camouflage in the Mushroom Forest and can play a game of Crazy Croquet with the Queen of Hearts.
Take a tour of the Redbirds’ roost and get a behind the scenes look at the St. Louis Cardinals’ home turf. Busch Stadium tours (www.cardinals.com/tours) are offered daily year-round (except on days where there’s an afternoon home game, special events and certain holidays) and includes visits to such unique locales as the Redbird Club, Cardinals Club, KMOX radio broadcast booth, the home team’s dugout and other unique areas throughout the ballpark.
For up-to-date information about St. Louis, readers can call the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission at 1-800-916-0040 or check out Web site www.explorestlouis.com.
Follow St. Louis on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest information on what's happening in the Gateway City. <www.facebook.com/ExploreStLouis; <twitter.com/explorestlouis
Where to Stay
RLHC (Red Lion Hotels Corporation) (NYSE: RLH) has announced the company has signed its fifth location and first franchise license agreement for Hotel RL, its upscale lifestyle brand. Following a multi-million dollar renovation incorporating signature design elements,
Adjacent to the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and located at 9600 Natural Bridge Road, the future Hotel RL St. Louis Airport has 197 guest room and nearly 4,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel has a lounge, indoor heated pool, fitness center, business center, and complimentary Wi-Fi and airport shuttle service.
“This particular property is located in one of the top 20 MSAs and serves as a nice extension to our recent Hotel RL opening in Baltimore,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Franchise Officer Brian Quinn. “The Hotel RL brand has generated quite a bit of industry interest among hotel owners in the months since we launched in Baltimore, creating a healthy pipeline.”
Hotel RL debuted in August with the opening of Hotel RL Baltimore Inner Harbor. Also in August, the company announced it will enter into a joint venture to acquire a future Hotel RL Washington D.C., which is expected to execute within the next few weeks. Three more hotel conversions are planned for the first half of 2016 following substantial capital improvements in company operated properties in Olympia, Salt Lake City and Spokane.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation is a hospitality company primarily engaged in the franchising, management and ownership of upscale, midscale and economy hotels under the Hotel RL, Red Lion Hotel, Red Lion Inn & Suites, GuestHouse International and Settle Inn brands. Established in 1959, the company has 130 hotels system wide and also owns and operates an entertainment and event ticket distribution business. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.redlion.com.
For more information check: www.Facebook.com/RedLionHotesl; www.Twitter.com/RedLionHotels; www.Twitter.com/HotelRL; www.Instagram.com/RedLionHotels; www.LinkedIn.com/company/red-lion-hotels